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'A match made in heaven'
Monday, January 22, 2018 - by Charlene Sharpe, USTA Web Newsroom Senior Correspondent

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Charlene Sharpe
Laurel, DE --- In the fall of 2016, Carol Jamieson-Parker and her husband, Jack Parker Jr., certainly weren’t the only ones hoping to buy a racehorse at the Harrisburg Mixed Sale.

They may well have been the only ones who picked a racehorse out of the sale’s broodmare entries though. The couple purchased NF Happenstance, a trotting mare in foal to Sebastian K, for longtime owner James Moore III for $42,000.

“We bought her with the intention of bringing her back to the races,” Jamieson-Parker said.

That probably doesn't surprise anyone who follows harness racing in the Mid-Atlantic region. It was the Parkers who campaigned the SJ's Caviar mare for much of 2014, the year in which she set multiple track records and earned more than $182,000.

"Nobody gets along with her like my husband does," Jamieson-Parker said.

In early 2014, the Parkers were looking for a horse for Moore. NF Happenstance, who was racing in a $15,000 claimer at Dover Downs, caught Jack Parker's eye. The owners agreed to sell her, and the mare won her first start with Parker in the sulky March 18. In just four months, she went on to win eight races, setting track records at Harrah's Philadelphia and Harrington Raceway in the process. She finished third in the Ima Lula series final at the Meadowlands behind Classic Martine and Bee A Magician.

Photo courtesy of Carol Jamieson-Parker
On Feb. 12, 2017, NF Happenstance gave birth to a small bay filly, who Moore and the Parkers aptly named Pure Happenstance.

In late July 2014, Moore agreed to sell the mare to Harness Racing Hall of Famer William B. Weaver III. NF Happenstance went on to compete in New Jersey and New York, finding moderate success for her new connections as the Parkers watched each week from their home in Delaware. They noticed as the mare began to go off-stride more and more frequently.

"She started making breaks and they decided to breed her," Jamieson-Parker said.

The mare was bred to Sebastian K but ended up in the mixed sale at Harrisburg following Weaver's death in 2016. The Parkers were thrilled to see her in the catalog and advised Moore they'd found him a horse to buy.

"The intention was she'd have the baby and we'd bring her back to the races," Jamieson-Parker said.

And so they sent her to North Carolina to foal. On Feb. 12, 2017, NF Happenstance gave birth to a small bay filly, who Moore and the Parkers aptly named Pure Happenstance.

Shortly after the filly was weaned, the Parkers drove down to North Carolina to pick up the mare. That was Sept. 15. On Oct. 11, Parker qualified NF Happenstance at Harrington, where she trotted a mile in 1:58.4. He qualified her again at Dover, and on Halloween, nearly two years after her last pari-mutuel start, NF Happenstance made her official return to the races. She finished second, following that up with a win the next week. She ended 2017 with two wins, one second and two thirds from eight starts.

 
Fotowon photo
NF Happenstance is currently on a four-race win streak.

Her last start of the year, a 1:54.1 victory on Dec. 19, marked the start of what is now a four-race win streak. She's currently three-for-three in 2018. Last week, the 8-year-old triumphed in the winner's over trot at Dover, crossing the wire in 1:53.4.

The mare's connections are excited about her success.

"You don't know how much pleasure she's given us," Jamieson-Parker said. "Her coming back this second time is a dream."

She's particularly happy to see her husband and NF Happenstance back together. Parker knows the trotter's idiosyncrasies -- her penchant for scoring down fast, her preference for little equipment -- and the two have picked up where they left off in 2014.

"It just clicks between the two of them," Jamieson-Parker said. "NF Happenstance and Jack Parker are a match made in heaven."


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