Day At The Track

Butenschoen looks for big day

04:08 AM 05 Aug 2017 NZST
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John Butenschoen and Giveitgasandgo John Butenschoen and Bill's Man Dover Dan
John Butenschoen and Giveitgasandgo
USTA Photo
John Butenschoen and Bill's Man
USTA Photo
Dover Dan
Curtis Salonick Photo

Coming off a career year, harness racing trainer John Butenschoen might be on his way to a career day.

Butenschoen's stable will start three horses in Saturday's $1.2 million Hambletonian Stakes at the Meadowlands Racetrack, plus one horse in the $500,000 Hambletonian Oaks. Prior to this year, Butenschoen made one start in the Hambletonian, which came in 2013 with Punxsutawney, who failed to advance from his elimination to the final.

This year, Butenschoen has contenders Bill's Man (5-1 on the morning line) and Giveitgasandgo (8-1) in the first of two $100,000 Hambletonian eliminations. Dover Dan (8-1) is his stable's hopeful in the second division. The top five finishers from each elimination advance to the $1 million final later in the day.

Soon after the eliminations, which are races eight and nine on the card, Butenschoen will send Fine Tuned Lady into the Hambletonian Oaks. She is 10-1 on the morning line.

The 54-year-old Butenschoen was born in Illinois and out of high school went to work for Delvin Miller, who won two Hambletonians as a trainer and one as a driver. He met his wife, Jackie Kiger Butenschoen, while working for Miller. Her father was also a trainer and for a time was the farrier at Miller's Meadow Lands Farm. The Butenschoens work together in their stable, where they are joined by son Tyler.

Butenschoen enjoyed his first million-dollar season as a trainer in 2001, when the trotter Plesac (named in honor of then-major league pitcher Dan Plesac) was the star of his barn. Plesac raced from 1999 to 2003, earning $2.5 million in his career.

Last year Butenschoen set career highs with 85 wins and $2.34 million in purses. Butenschoen's successes included Pennsylvania Sire Stakes championships with Fine Tuned Lady (2-year-old female trotter division) and Giveitgasandgo (2-year-old male trotter division). He also trained New York Sire Stakes champion pacer Funknwaffles.

Fine Tuned Lady was fourth in her Hambletonian Oaks elimination after racing as the first horse in the outer flow while tracking leader Ice Attraction. Ariana G followed Fine Tuned Lady's cover to the top of the stretch and trotted home a winner from there in 1:51.3. Ariana G, last year's divisional Dan Patch Award winner, is the 6-5 favorite in the final.

"We didn't really want to be first up," Butenschoen said. "She got a little lost up there and a couple fresher horses went by her, but then she dug right back in and she fought hard to the wire. Hopefully we can get a trip off someone else (in the final) instead of supplying someone else with the right trip.

"But she shows up all the time. She's consistent. She's handy."

Fine Tuned Lady, a daughter of Cantab Hall-Poster Princess driven by Corey Callahan, has won nine of 20 career races, finished worse than third only twice, and earned $518,029 for owners Bill Wiswell and M And L of Delaware.

The same connections will send out Bill's Man in the Hambletonian eliminations. Bill's Man, a son of Credit Winner-Silver Springs, has won four of 21 lifetime starts and earned $186,427. He heads to his assignment off a third-place finish in the Reynolds last weekend at the Meadowlands.

"We were a little disappointed he finished third, but he was parked the whole mile and seems to have come out of the race fine," Butenschoen said. "He's shown he's good enough to go with them.

"He's had a good year. Maybe we've been a little too cautious with him. Last year he made some very untimely miscues and it didn't seem to matter if we had hobbles on him or not. The main thing was trying to teach him to race and have his confidence and have him trotting. He has the ability. I think if we can work out a trip we should be OK."

Giveitgasandgo, a son of Yankee Glide-Mazda Hanover, competes in the same elimination and enters the race off a 1:52.1 win in a 3-year-old open at the Meadowlands last weekend. He raced with Lasix for the first time in that start, but Lasix is not permitted in the Hambletonian.

"I thought he might have had a little more trot finishing Saturday, but it was his first start back in 20 days off of a scratch (because of sickness)," Butenschoen said. "We won't be able to use Lasix, but hopefully we've got everything in shape and under control."

Giveitgasandgo has won 11 of 19 career races and earned $352,349 for owners Harmony Oaks Racing (which is Butenschoen and his wife), David J. Miller, Lawrence Means, and VIP Internet Stable.

In the second elimination, Dover Dan is a son of Andover Hall out of the mare CR Kay Suzie. His dam was a three-time Dan Patch Award winner, including 1995 Horse of the Year. She took on the boys in the 1995 Hambletonian, but went off stride in her elimination and failed to advance to the final.

Dover Dan has finished off the board four times this year, with three of those instances coming when starting from a post No. 9. He started from the nine post in the Reynolds in his most recent race and also had the outside in the final of the Beal Memorial and a division of the Pennsylvania Sire Stakes.

"I've been disappointed with the draws we've had," Butenschoen said. "He's just been a little bit of a victim of circumstances with post positions.

"The other night (driver Brian Sears) said he had a ton of trot. Usually for a horse to trot as hard as he did to get back into the race they're kind of tired. He said he wasn't tired. He trotted his back half in :54.2 or :54.3 and came from way, way, way out of it. I've been pleased with him performance-wise. You can't do anything about the post positions."

Dover Dan has won six of 19 lifetime races and earned $181,823 for owners Wiswell, Jean Goehlen and Gene Schick.

Goehlen's father, George Alexander, bred 1992 Hambletonian winner Alf Palema. It was the last horse he ever bred. Alexander, whose Chestnut Farm raised and bred only trotters, was a director of the Hambletonian Society. He was elected as an Immortal to the Harness Racing Hall of Fame in 1990.

CBS Sports Network will air live coverage of the Hambletonian from 4:00-5:30 p.m. (EDT) Saturday. The Sam McKee Memorial (formerly U.S. Pacing Championship) and Hambletonian Oaks also will be featured during the 90-minute broadcast. First race post time on Hambletonian Day is noon. The Hambletonian final is 5:11 p.m.

Following are the Hambletonian elimination fields.

Hambletonian Elimination (race eight)

PP-Horse-Sire-Dam Sire-Driver-Trainer-Line

1 - Southwind Woody by Muscle Hill from a Pine Chip mare - Matt Kakaley - Ron Burke - 12/1

2 - Bill’s Man by Credit Winner from a Yankee Glide mare - Corey Callahan - John Butenschoen - 5/1

3 - Guardian Angel AS by Archangel from an Allstar Hall mare - Jason Bartlett - Anette Lorentzon - 10/1

4 - Giveitgasandgo by Yankee Glide from an Andover Hall mare - Corey Callahan - John Butenschoen - 8/1

5 - International Moni by Love You from a Speedy Crown mare - Scott Zeron - Frank Antonacci - 5/2

6 -Stealth Hanover by Andover Hall from a Credit Winner mare - Francisco Del Cid - Francisco Del Cid - 30/1

7 - Victor Gio It by Ready Cash from a Pine Chip mare - Yannick Gingras - Jimmy Takter - 6/1

8 - Long Tom by Muscle Hill from a Windsong’s Legacy mare - Tim Tetrick - Marcus Melander - 3/1

9 - Jake by Muscle Hill from an Andover Hall mare - Dan Dube - Luc Blais - 8/1

 

Hambletonian Elimination (race nine)

PP-Horse-Sire-Dam Sire-Driver-Trainer-Line

1 - What The Hill by Muscle Hill from an Angus Hall mare - David Miller - Ron Burke - 3/1

2 - Seven And Seven by Chapter Seven from a Kadabra mare - David Miller - Tom Durand - 8/1

3 - Sortie by Explosive Matter from a Tagliabue mare - Andy McCarthy - Noel Daley - 10/1

4 -Shake it Off Lindy by Crazed from a Love You mare - Brett Miller - Frank Antonacci - 20/1

5 - Dover Dan by Andover Hall from a Royal Troubador mare - Brian Sears - John Butenschoen - 8/1

6 - Enterprise by Chapter Seven from a SJ’s Caviar mare - Tim Tetrick - Marcus Melander - 9/2

7 - Southwind Cobra by Muscle Hill from a Broadway Hall mare - Yannick Gingras - Ron Burke - 15/1

8 - Achille Duharas by Andover Hall from a Pine Chip mare - Yannick Gingras - Jimmy Takter - 20/1

9 - Devious Man by Credit Winner from a Garland Lobell mare - Andy Miller - Julie Miller-5/2

10 - Perfect Spirit by Andover Hall from a Kadabra mare - Ake Svanstedt - Ake Svanstedt - 12/1

 

$500,000 Hambletonian Oaks

PP-Horse-Sire-Dam Sire-Driver-Trainer-Line

1 - Southwind Avanti by Muscle Hill from a Windsong's Legacy mare - Jason Bartlett - Anette Lorentzon - 10/1

2 - Dream Together by Muscle Hill from a Andover Hall mare - Daniel Dube - Luc Blais - 8/1

3 - Caviart Wonder by Muscle Massive from a Conway Hall mare - Andy McCarthy - Noel Daley - 20/1

4 - Ariana G by Muscle Hill from a Cantab Hall mare - Yannick Gingras - Jimmy Takter - 6/5

5 - Magic Presto by Kadabra from a Muscles Yankee mare - Brian Sears - R. Nifty Norman - 5/1

6 - Fine Tuned Lady by Cantab Hall from a Pine Chip mare - Corey Callahan - John Butenschoen - 10/1

7 - Feed Your Head by Muscle Hill from a Donerail mare - Tim Tetrick - Jimmy Takter - 6/1

8 - Sunshine Delight by Credit Winner from a Cantab Hall mare - Brett Miller - Staffan Lind - 20/1

9 - Overdraft Volo by Yankee Glide from a Tagliabue mare - Andy Miller - Julie Miller - 10/1

10 - Dream Baby Dream by Muscle Hill from a Andover Hall mare - Rod Allen - Rod Allen - 15/1

Ken Weingartner

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