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Team Marshall sends pair into NJSS on Friday
Thursday, May 15, 2014 - by Rich Fisher, USTA Web Newsroom Senior Correspondent

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Rich Fisher
Trenton, NJ --- Donna Marshall knows how to keep a positive spin on things. In this case, it can almost be termed a pre-emptive positive spin.

The trainer has two horses racing in separate divisions of the New Jersey Sire Stakes for 3-year-old filly trotters at the Meadowlands on Friday (May 16). Both will be driven by her husband, Jim Marshall III, and one is owned by her son, Jim Marshall IV.

The residents of Jackson, N.J., which is less than an hour’s ride from the Meadowlands, will have a big rooting section that night.

“All the neighbors are coming up to watch,” Marshall said. “The best thing is -- if we don’t have a good night, at least they didn’t have to make a long trip.”

You’ve got to love that advance silver-lining thinking. But there is no guarantee it won’t be a good night. It’s too early to tell how successful Fastdownthehill and Coin Collector may be as neither raced as 2-year-olds.

Which is why the trainer is concerned about where they fit at this point.

“My big thing is, in their first couple of starts, do they behave themselves and do they have good experiences, and from there everything else comes along,” Marshall said. “It’s hard to educate them because everything just goes so fast. They just have to go.”

Fastdownthehill won her career debut on May 2 at Freehold in a $33,075 division of the Lady Suffolk Stakes.

Fastdownthehill is owned by Rick and Regina Beinhauer and TLP Stable, with Rick having served as the trainer last year. The Beinhauers bred the filly, a daughter of Muscle Hill-TS Fast Forward who is a half-sister to Ruffleshaveridges, a three-time winner on the Pennsylvania Sire Stakes circuit.

When the connections decided to race Fastdownthehill in the New Jersey Sire Stakes, they turned to Marshall. Fastdownthehill won her career debut on May 2 at Freehold Raceway in a $33,075 division of the Lady Suffolk Stakes. She qualified last week in 1:56.1 at the Meadowlands, finishing three-quarters of a length behind Cooler Schooner.

“It sounds to me that last year they just thought she was a big, lanky filly and they trained her down and just turned her out,” Marshall said. “They called us three months ago and asked if we would take her.

“Two weeks before she had a race at Freehold they brought her over. He (Rick Beinhauer) and Jim went over and trained her at Freehold, and they put trotting hobbles on her. She didn’t get around as fast as they thought but they put the trotting hobbles on and it worked out great.

“Jim really likes her. She’s a very nice filly with a great attitude. We have a bar across her stall and she has her head out all the time. She’s not nasty, she’s very enjoyable.”

One of the reasons Beinhauer wanted Marshall as the trainer is because he wanted Jim to be the driver.

“He kind of liked the fact we would train and drive her,” Marshall said. “He kind of likes that small, family operation kind of thing.

“And we’re definitely similar in the way we train. We’re all old school. The game has changed so much that it’s kind of tough for us because it’s hard to break old habits. After races are over, we’re still the only ones walking horses. We still keep coolers on trying to keep them warm. We always laugh about it.”

Fastdownthehill is eligible to the Arden Downs and Currier & Ives stakes at The Meadows and the Hudson Filly Trot at Yonkers.

USTA/Ken Weingartner photos
Jim Marshall IV sends his trotting filly Coin Collector into the NJSS on Friday at Meadowlands Racetrack.

As for Coin Collector, Marshall is training the horse for an owner who was once reluctant to even get in the game.

“Our kids grew up in the barn since they were babies; they had a playpen in the barn,” Marshall said. “We worked them so hard, and they said ‘We really don’t want to do this for a living.’ But our daughter has always had horses.

“Jim never had any interest. He went into the Navy and came out and all of a sudden he showed interest. Him and his buddies got together and decided to buy this horse as a yearling.”

The 29-year-old Jim IV also went in another trotting filly named Stone Cold Cash.

“She didn’t win anything but he told his buddy ‘You don’t understand how lucky we are just to make it into the race. Some people own horses for years and never make the races.’ It’s good he has that background, because he can point out some of the ups and downs that go on to his partners who haven’t been doing it,” Donna said.

Coin Collector has faced some light competition this year, having won one of two races. The Marshalls toyed with racing her last year but eventually thought better of it.

“She made a break in a qualifier at Freehold and I think we pushed her a little too quick into it,” Donna said. “We figured let’s just turn her out.”

Donna said she treats all the horses the same, but admits it’s a bit special training a horse her son owns and her husband drives.

“It’s a lot more fun,” she said. “It’s more of a family operation, like how it used to be. I love having my husband driving. He’ll be the first one to tell you if they’re sore, and if he didn’t get a good trip. I think it works out really good as a team.”

Evidently, the neighbors agree. Especially when they don’t have to spend too much on gas to see how it all works out.

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