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melman
07-20-2005, 02:55 PM
Looking over the internet looks like Batavia grand reopening for harness is set for August 3rd. Tom get the lounge chair ready for some "Dark Side" action. Tom will that same guy you had mentioned before still be working at Batavia?? Think I rememeber you saying he also works Finger Lakes. BTW after the results of the last couple of nights with my harness picks I must say again "I love Harness racing" :)

wilderness
07-20-2005, 04:44 PM
the following from Sept 28, 1955 Harness Horse mag and Batavia:

BATAVIA Downs
TAG ME $15,000 TROT VICTORTag Me, a former Western New York campaigner, returned here Friday night to notch the most important win of his career as the seven‑year‑old Darnley stallion scored a hardfought victory in the $15,000 Rochester Invitational, this area's richest trotting event.
Several hours of rain prior to and during the seventh running of the mile test left the track in muddy condition. But Dr. Charles Fowler, expertly rating the fine trotter, splashed home 21/2 lengths in front of jean Laird, 5‑2 cofavorite with Gene Mac. Tag Me went the route in 2:11. The horse, owned by George E. Quiri, Amsterdam, N. Y., cattle dealer, holds the Downs trot record of 2:031/5, a clocking made early in the 1954 campaign.
Dr. Fowler got Tag M away fifth, behind Lord Steward, Newport Star, Poplar Perry and jean Laird, the latter starting from the rail position. Dick Williams with Lord Steward and Del Cameron with Newport Star struggled for the top spot going into the backstretch with Lord Steward taking command as the field finished the quarter mile. Poplar Perry was second on the outside with Newport Star, jean Laird and Tag Me close behind.
As the field swept by the stands the first time around, Russell Valles Key moved Poplar Perry into the front spot. Seconds later, Tag Me made his move, traveling fast on the outside with Jean Laird close behind. At the five‑eighths pole, Tag Me moved on top and the strong stallion took a two-length lead going down the backside.
Coming into the stretch, Jean Laird continued to forge ahead on the outside but the Yonkers Raceway record‑setter, driven here by his regular trainer‑driver, John Chapman ' could not close up the distance. Third money went to Stenographer another 2 lengths back with Del Miller at the reins. The Bill Gallon mare made up a big gap after a first turn jam. Newport Star and Lord Steward finished fourth and fifth. Poplar Perry, which went offstride at the five‑eighths pole was sixth. Gene Mac made a bad break behind the gate at the start to finish seventh and Lady's First was last.
A crowd of 5,572 braved the rains to watch the Invtitational, companion piece to the $15,000 Queen City Pace raced last month and won by Diamond Hal. Among those in attendance were owners W. H. Robson of Albion, N. Y., (Jean Laird), Pat Tuccio of Riverhead, N. Y., (Gene Mac), Max C. Hempt of Mechanicsburg, Pa., (Stenographer) and Harold Large of Garden City, N. Y., (Poplar Perry). Edwin T. Keller, general manager at Vernon Downs, also journeyed here for the event. Drivers Del Miller and Del Cameron flew here from Delaware, O., with the other teamsters coming up from New York.
The win was Tag Me's fourth of the season and boosted his lifetime earnings to $104,544.97. By finishing second, Jean Laird, voted Western New York Harness Horse of 1954, upped his lifetime bankroll to $52,175.
Friday's co‑featured AA pace went to Singleway, her third victory in six Batavia starts for driver Don Stokes. The King's Counsel mare, with season earnings of $6,617.50, was second all the way, coming on in the stretch to score a one‑length victory over Beowulf, the early leader.
Mr. Galvin flashed to an impressive win in the $2,500 free‑for‑all pace Saturday, his thirteenth win in eighteen starts this season. The four‑year‑old Chief Counsel gelding, driven by Leon Canton, went the 1 1/16 mile distance in 2:12, equalling the track record despite the oval's being classed as "slow" following rain Friday and early Saturday.
Mr. Galvin led all the way to take a head decision over Sammy Herbert with Dark Magic third. His win boosted 1955 earnings for owner J. Russell Miller of Dutton, Ont., to $24,396.75.

The mud‑covered combination of Tag Me 2:003/5 and a still* smiling Dr. Charles Fowler after winning Friday's $15,000 Invitational Trot in 2:11, a long way from the 2:021/5 track record held by the Darnley sta lion. Left to right: Downs president Pat Provenzano, general manager Herman Grannis and owner George Quiri of Amsterdam, N. Y.

Adios Harry‑Adios Boy Re‑Match September 30
A $7,500 match race between Adios Harry and Adios Boy has been lined up for Friday night, September 30, by Batavia Downs officials. Neither of the two fouryear‑old Adios aces were able to race in the $15,000 Queen City invitational last month. Adios Harry has beaten Adios Boy twice in matches, but "The Boy" has won three times from Adios Harry this season. Adios Harry has six decisions over his rival this season. Adios Harry's 1:592/5 clocking in the Adios Boy match is a World Record for four‑year‑olds; Adios Boy recently setting a 1:594/5 track mark for Yonkers.

melman
07-20-2005, 05:03 PM
Not quite as far back in time Don, but do you rememeber the 3 year old crop of Most Happy Fella Columbia George and Truluck?? What great racing they put on. A wonderful show everytime.

wilderness
07-20-2005, 05:24 PM
Of the three you mention Mel,
MHF fared by far the best in the breeding shed.
Columbia George flashed some nice races, however had some injuries which prevented his production. Truluck as I recall had some good years as a aged horse.

As you may recall, my archiving is being done in order or publication. I'm currently working on 1955 (and had just archived the Batavia article when I saw your post.) It's going to be some time before I get to the 60's and MHF and crew.

The following may also viewed at
http://mi-harness.com/publct/gllrychmps.html
Originally published in October 1987 Hoof Beats


Most Happy Fella

As most people know he had a chip in his hock as a yearling and Stoner Creek
Stud didn't put him in its regular Tat-tersalls consignment. The colt was shipped to
Charlotte, North Carolina, and the late David Johnston, one of the farm's co-owners, broke him at his family farm.
Norman Woolworth wanted to send Most Happy Fella to me to train before the colt was to be sold at a mixed sale in Pompano in early January. I tried to talk him out of it. I figured that people would shy away from the colt, when he went in the ring because if the colt showed some promise, I'd buy him, and that if I didn't buy him, he probably wasn't any good. Happy trained good and I even had people come to train him, but I wound up buying him for my wife and me for $12,500.
Stoner Creek never tried to protect the colt in that auction and there was no reserve price on him. I don't think Stoner Creek has ever bid in one of its yearlings.
I know a lot of people thought I bid the colt in for Stoner Creek. In fact, after the colt had won a couple of baby races, John McGregor, who was training for Wilrose Farm at the time, came to me and said, "Would Woolworth sell that colt?"
"Woolworth?" I said. "Would Woolworth sell him? He doesn't own him. My wife and I do."
"Aw c'mon," McGregor replied, "I watched you bid him in at Pompano."
"You might have seen me sign the sales slip, but I bought him for my wife and me," I said.

Happy was a slow-developing colt at two, but he did win the American-National in late August, beating Columbia George and other top colts. The meet at Du Quoin was before Indianapolis in those days, so I shipped Happy to Du Quoin even though he wasn't staked there. When I drove to the barn, my assistant Jean Lamarre met me.
"Boss, bad news," he said. "We can't train Happy."
"What do you mean?" I asked. "Is he sick?" He told me that Doc Steele thought the colt's stifles needed a little work, so Doc in-jected them. I sure wish Jean had called me before that was done because one of Most Happy Fella's stifles blew up the size of a basketball.
Needless to say, I wasn't too happy when Doc Steele came around. I thought Happy had been perfectly sound the last time I'd sat behind him. Of course, Happy did give you that feeling that he could make a break at any time and guys didn't like to work him or drive him, but that was his way of going. The Fox Stake was just a week away and Doc Steele assured me he'd be okay for that race.
We shipped him to Indianapolis and de-clared him in the Fox, but I still wasn't able to train him. Every day I would think that I could train him the next day, but the next day never came. We had to scratch him and ship him back to my farm in New Jersey.
Happy had been back-home for four or five days and we brought him out for Doc Churchill to see and Happy was uncoordinated and walking sideways. Remember, his stifle had never returned to normal, nor had the infection come to a head.
Doc Churchill sure didn't like the looks of it. I felt that swelling had to be lanced, but Churchill wasn't too keen on that idea. He said he didn't want to stick a knife in the colt's stifle because if you didn't hit the right spot, you might ruin him.
I said, "Well, he's going to die if he stays like this, so we've got to try something."
We put Happy down in a paddock and Doc Churchill hit the infection on the first jab of the knife. Out came all the pus and it wasn't long before the colt had healed up nicely.
Happy was not a great-gaited horse. I re-member that Jack Smith and Peewee Welch worked for me the summer Happy was com-ing three and I'd been away for a while and came back and they told me, "Well, we couldn't train Happy. He's lame."
I looked at his legs and he seemed sound and so I asked, "What did he do on the track?" They told me he made breaks.
I told them that I would have to train him to see for myself and I got along fine with him. He would, however, put in those extra steps that would sure make you think he was going to make a break.
He wore a 56-inch hopple. For his size, he probably should have worn a 60-inch hopple, but he'd make a break in loose hopples. When I raced him at Goshen when he was a three--year-old, he won in 1:58.2, which was the track record at Goshen Historic for many years. I decided to let his hopples out for one heat and damned if he didn't make a break right at the wire.
In The Adios that year, Happy won the first heat and Columbia George won the second heat, so we had to race it off. Going to the gate for the race-off, George stumbled and broke his check. Several people were milling around out on the track trying to fix the check, leaving footprints. When we left the gate again, Happy took a big leap over those footprints. But Roland Beaulieu was so sure that he wanted to follow me, that when Happy lit pacing, we were able to go right on to the front I got to the half pretty cheap and was able to win it.
Happy seldom raced in front because his main rivals were Columbia George and Truluck and both of those colts usually raced on top. I'm not sure if it was because the horses wanted to race in front or the driver, but Happy often got good trips.
In the Jug that year, I won the first heat. I had post three and had to let Ferric Hanover go to the front around the first turn, but then came right back out before the quarter. In doing so, I did come out under Curly Smart, who was driving Leander Lobell, an Overtrick pacer. I think that must have made Curly a little angry with me because it seemed like he was in my road all afternoon on Jug Day.
I got to the front with Happy in that first heat as we went to the half, and I was tempted to let Curly go with Leander Lobell, but there were four more horses following him and if I'd let Curly go, I would have been a dead duck. I had to get after Happy pretty much in the stretch, but he was getting tired and, besides, he was so lazy, you had to keep after him with the whip. It made me feel guilty at times. He won in 1:57.3.
In the second heat, I left out pretty good and so did Curly with Leander Lobell. I would have liked to let him go, but I didn't figure he was a horse to beat, so I kept him out for a while, but we were rolling along pretty good and I knew Happy would never get home at the clip we were going, so I let Curly go and Columbia George came right behind him. I had hoped that once Curly got to the front, he'd carry Columbia George a ways, but he let him go quickly.
I was third when George got the front and when I started out, Curly came right out in front of me and I had to stop Happy pretty suddenly. I guess Curly was just getting back at me for the first heat. But Leander Lobell couldn't keep up in the last half and he dropped back to the rail and that left me out without cover. George won that heat.
In the final heat, Columbia George went to the front and I sat on his back with Curly and Leander Lobell right outside me. With about a quarter-mile to go, I'm a dead duck. I've got nowhere to go. Curly had me trapped. If Roland had taken a little hold of his horse, Happy never would have won the Jug. With all due respect to Happy, George probably should have won. But Roland drove on with Colum-bia George, and Leander Lobell dropped back and that let me out of the box. I had a fresh horse then and we got up to win.
I took Happy to Lexington and time-trialed him in 1:55, but he sure got leg weary at the end of that mile. He wasn't meant to be a great time-trial horse. He was a lazy horse. He wasn't like Henry T. Adios in that he had to follow another horse, but he was fortunate in that he raced in a hole much of the time.
A lot of Meadow Skippers would put in steps while they were pacing and I can tell you that Meadow Skipper wasn't the greatest-gaited horse himself. When he was a two-year-old at Delaware, Delvin had let Paul Crilley race him around the fairs. He wasn't staked at Delaware, so Delvin asked me if I'd work Meadow Skipper along with Steady Beau, a top colt that Billy Haughton had. Since both colts had stakes coming up, Billy wanted to go around 2:02.
I didn't know if Meadow Skipper was pac-ing or running around those turns, but he went right with Steady Beau. But, frankly, there wasn't much about Meadow Skipper to like. Delvin sent him to California and I remember telling Jim Dennis that he ought to try to buy that horse because they had those good mile tracks in California at the time, and Lord knows how many races Meadow Skipper would have won if he'd been able to race on a mile track. He was okay in the stretches, but he sure had problems on the turns.

Tom
07-20-2005, 10:04 PM
Melman...that handicapper is currently working Buffalo Raceway - he will be back at Batavia.

I'll post his Saturday picks - he wraps up the Finger Lakes weekly radioi show.
Counting the days. I love Batavia.

trying2win
07-21-2005, 10:54 PM
Tom,

Is John Bothe going to be back as the track announcer at Batavia Downs? I used to enjoy John's race calls at the Meadowlands in the past. I think John Bothe is a better announcer than the current one they have at The Big M.

T2W

melman
07-24-2005, 01:23 PM
I agree try2, I really liked John Bothe and his "zooming on by" however he and the BigM track mangement had problems. John had a serious gambling problem and they insisted that he appear on the show and do handicapping for them. Bothe felt this would just hamper him from overcoming his gambling problem. They parted ways and not sure what the story is with Bothe nowadays. BTW I did a "google" using "Batavia harness racing" and it brings up the Pace Advantage harness section. LOL :D :bang:

Tom
07-24-2005, 04:21 PM
Boothe is back.

trying2win
07-24-2005, 04:28 PM
Tom,

Thanks for the info. I hope some of your winners at Batavia Downs go
Z-O-O-O-O-M-I-N-G on by down the stretch at big prices!

T2W