When he purchased her for an old friend this spring he thought he was buying a $15,000 claimer.
“This has been a big surprise,” Parker said the day after the trotter won a high-level conditioned race at Harrah’s Philadelphia in 1:54.
Parker said he’d noticed the 4-year-old daughter of SJ’s Caviar and Moira Hall (Conway Hall) at Dover Downs this winter and when old high school friend James Moore III said he wanted to buy a horse, he approached the mare’s connections.
|NF Happenstance has hit the board in each of her ten starts since joining the Jack Parker Jr. stable.|
“I liked the looks of her,” Parker said of the mare, whose last start had resulted in a seventh-place finish in a $15,000 claimer at Dover.
He was able to purchase her for Moore and on March 5 brought her to Dover to qualify, having taken off the trotting hopples she’d been racing in.
“She’s matured now,” he said.
Parker, who typically drive his own horses, qualified the mare easily in 1:58.2. Two weeks later she took a new lifetime mark of 1:55.3 in a low-level conditioned race at the First State five-eighths. She was placed third after being interfered with on March 26 but went on to win over a sloppy track in her next start at the Meadowlands.
Parker, who trains a stable of three, says there’s nothing unusual about the bay mare, who follows a basic jogging and training regimen aside from the two days she spends in the field after a race.
“She easy,” he said. “She’s a nice mare to be around.”
On April 11, Parker left with NF Happenstance from post seven in a C2/C1 handicap at the Big M. She got to the front and never looked back, crossing the wire in a new lifetime best 1:53.1.
“She likes the lead,” Parker said. “When you put her on the gate she’s pushing the car away.”
After a second and a third against B-level competition at the Meadowlands, Parker brought the mare back to her home state to face Open trotters at Harrington Raceway. She was nosed out by Traverse Seelster on April 30 but came back strong the next week, winning the Open Trot in 1:54.2, setting a new track record for 4-year-old trotting mares and establishing a national season’s mark for 4-year-old trotters on a half-mile track.
NF Happenstance hasn't been beaten since, winning the Harrington Open once more before this week’s win at Harrah’s Philadephia in a $20,000 conditioned race.
“We’re just taking it week by week,” Parker said, adding that he planned to continue racing the mare in Pennsylvania until a summer series at the Meadowlands. “Right now we’re just having fun.”