Tag Archives: harness racing


                               Kallas Remarks by Steve Kallas


On Saturday, August 2, 2008, Deweycheatumnhowe (with driver Ray Schnittker) reached legendary status by becoming the first trotter in the history of harness racing to win the Hambletonian (the “Kentucky Derby” of harness racing) while remaining undefeated.  Deweycheatumnhowe left to the lead from his post one position and held off the late challenge of Crazed (Tim Tetrick) to win the $750,000 first place check by half-a-length in 1:52 flat over a Meadowlands track rated “good” due to heavy rains earlier in the day.


Despite the bad weather, just over 25,000 fans attended the races at the Meadowlands in East Rutherford, New Jersey.  As the horses went behind the gate for harness racing’s biggest trot race, Dewey actually looked a little rolly in front but it was probably due to the speed of the starting gate.  When the gate pulled away, Dewey clicked into high gear, started trotting up a storm and put everyone in a hole by trotting a 26.4 first quarter over the good-rated track


Others left for the lead, including Pine After Pine (Ron Pierce), Big Apple Deli (John Campbell) and Velocity Hall (Dave Miller), as second-favorite Crazed (Tim Tetrick) protected his post two and then got right behind Dewey.  As they came out of the first turn, Pine After Pine was unable to get down to the pylons and made a break, eliminating him from contention.  Dewey cut the mile, with Crazed in the two-hole and Big Apple Deli third on the inside.


Velocity Hall, who was out the whole mile and through the first half fractions of 26.4 and 55 (a slight 28.1 second-quarter breather for the leader), tried to mount a first-over challenge but could never get to Dewey’s wheel.  Clerk Magistrate (Jody Jamieson – a late driver change for Trevor Ritchie, who was stuck on the tarmac at Syracuse Airport due to the bad weather) was second-over, followed by Celebrity Secret (Brian Sears) third-over.


As they hit the three-quarters in 1:23.2 and headed for the stretch, Velocity Hall started to tire, Clerk Magistrate tipped three-wide and briefly looked like he might make a race of it and Tim Tetrick popped Crazed out of the pocket.  Briefly, Clerk Magistrate and Crazed seemed to be fighting for the same lane to the finish line, but Clerk Magistrate would tire as Crazed would make a real run at Deweycheatumnhowe.  Winning driver Schnittker really got into his horse in the last sixteenth and he was able to hold off the hard-charging Crazed by half-a-length in 1:52, the third-fastest Hambletonian ever.  Ray Schnittker’s other horse (he trains as well), Make It Happen (Dan Dube), had the ten post and swept from eighth at the three-quarter pole to finish third, beaten three-and-a-quarter lengths.  Celebrity Secret was fourth and Clerk Magistrate got fifth money ($75,000 in this race).


After the race, driver-trainer Schnittker was happy and relieved:  He told NBC’s Donna Brothers that it was a great relief and said, “He wants to win.  That’s why he’s won 15 in a row.  He just dug in and refused to let [Crazed] go by.  He’s one hell of a horse.”  Adding a little humor to the affair, when Brothers asked him what this win means to him, Schnittker laughed and said, “It don’t matter if I die now, I got it.”


The win was the 15th in a row (10 for 10 at the Meadowlands) for the three-year-old son of Muscles Yankee for trainer-driver Schnittker and owners Schnittker, Ted Gewertz and Charles Iannazzo, all of New York, and the Deweycheatumnhowe Stable of Kentucky.  Bred by Steve Jones of New York and named for the fictional law firm of many comics, including the Three Stooges (believed to be the first to use it), the 2-5 favorite Deweycheatumnhowe raised his lifetime earnings to $1,953,246.


While it was wonderful exposure for harness racing to show its latest superhorse on national TV, NBC brought in its (mostly) thoroughbred team to cover the event.  While they had harness racing expert Gary Seibel (who, for about 20 years, was the race caller at Pompano Harness Track in Florida) to explain what was going on, they also brought in thoroughbred man Mike Battaglia from Churchill Downs, who struggled with some terminology (like calling superstar John Campbell a Hall of Fame rider before correctly calling him a driver) and didn’t know that Tom Charters (Battaglia called him Tom Campbell in the Winner’s Circle) is the President and CEO of the Hambletonian Society.  You can do both harness and thoroughbred racing (Seibel, for example, works for TVG, the television racing channel, and covers both on an almost nightly basis), but it’s a lot of work.


Despite the weather, it was a wonderful showcase for harness racing’s newest legend, Deweycheatumnhowe, the undefeated Hambletonian champion.  

© Copyright 2008 by Steve Kallas.  All rights reserved.



                                                                            Kallas Remarks By Steve Kallas   

On Saturday, July 19, at the Meadowlands, Art Official and driver Ron Pierce shocked the harness racing world as they left to the lead. gave it up to the undefeated superstar Somebeachsomewhere (Paul MacDonell) past the unbelievable 51.4 half, and then pulled the pocket and wore down the leader to win the $1.1 million Meadowlands Pace in 1:47, the second fastest race-mile in the history of harness racing.


As the gate pulled away, Mucho Sleazy (Dave Miller), Art Official (Pierce) and Bullville Powerful (Yannick Gingras) blasted out for the lead while Somebeachsomewhere (MacDonell) protected his post two position by staying two-wide around the first turn.  Mucho Sleazy made the lead and Art Official took the top past the 26 flat first quarter.  Then the race got interesting as Bullville Powerful ranged up on the outside and Somebeachsomewhere followed him.  But Pierce wouldn’t let Bullville Powerful go (after the race, Pierce would say Bullville was “laboring” to reach him) and that caused MacDonell to go three-wide down the backstretch with Somebeachsomewhere to engage the leader past the staggering 51.4 half-mile.


Somebeachsomewhere then made the top and Art Official sat the pocket during the 27.2 breather (if there is such a thing) as the leader hit the three-quarter mark in a mind-boggling 1:19.1.  Pierce, having braved up his horse in the pocket, actually seemed to pull the pocket around the final turn, then ducked back in briefly, then pulled the pocket again in the stretch.  This began a stirring stretch drive as the two horses left the rest of the field five lengths in their wake.  Both were dead game but Pierce reached up and gave Art Official a couple of whacks with the whip as he surged forward in the deep stretch to beat the unbeatable Somebeachsomewhere by a neck in 1:47, the fastest three-year-old race mile in the history of harness racing.  Only aged-horse Holborn Hanover’s 1:46.4 ranks ahead of Art Official’s 2008 Meadowlands Pace.


Share the Delight (John Campbell) hugged the inside from his post one and finished third, beaten five-and-a-quarter lengths.  Mucho Sleazy got fourth money and Sand Shooter (Tim Tetrick) finished fifth.


After the race, Pierce said he was confident in his horse:  “I felt confident in the stretch.  He swelled up and when I tipped him, the question was then to catch Somebeach.”  Pierce and Art Official did just that before the Meadowlands crowd of 17,000 on a very hot night (89 degrees at first post).


Somebeachsomewhere was awesome in defeat.  After 10 consecutive victories, he was viewed to be the next super horse.  And he still might be, as he raced a fabulous race, despite being beaten by a horse who parked two horses to 51.4.  After the race, his driver, Paul MacDonell, said: “Yannick [Gingras, driver of Bullville Powerful] left me out longer than I wanted to be.  In the stretch, I still had a lot of horse.  I give Somebeachsomewhere all the credit and Art Official all the credit.”


Art Official won his sixth race in 27 lifetime starts for trainer Joe Seekman and owner Sawgrass Farms, LLC of Lockport, Illinois.  The Art Major colt passed the million dollar mark in lifetime earnings, which now stand at $1,000,88



© Copyright 2008 by Steve Kallas.  All rights reserved.