Day At The Track

Hambo Oaks preview with Aussie angle

08:34 AM 02 Aug 2013 NZST
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Jonas with Ma Chere Hall and MisteryWoman
Jonas with Ma Chere Hall and MisteryWoman
Mark Hall/USTA Photo

Before the final 10 horses race in the 88th annual Hambletonian on Saturday, 10 of the world's best fillies will take to the Meadowlands Racetrack for the Hambletonian Oaks.

With two horses in the race, Australian owner Michael Taranto teams with Swedish-born trainer Jonas Czernyson, who is looking for his second career win in the Oaks after claiming victory in 2005 with Jalopy.

This year Czernyson brings Mistery Woman and Ma Chere Hall to the $500,000 race.

After Mistery Woman and Ma Chere Hall finished first and second in different eliminations Saturday (July 27), Czernyson and Taranto took the two horses into Tuesday's draw. Mistery Woman (9-2) drew post position four while Ma Chere Hall (10-1) will be on the outside at post 10.

"I really don't think the 10 hole is that bad. But believe me, if I could get the rail instead of the 10 hole, I'd take that any day," Czernyson said. "I think the four hole should work out pretty good for [MISTERY WOMAN]. "They both trained very good. We're rolling and ready to go for Saturday." Ma Chere Hall finished second by two lengths to Oaks favorite Bee A Magician, the 2-5 morning- line favorite. Win or lose, Taranto remains excited to see his horses compete in the big race.

"It doesn't matter if we run one and two or nine and 10, it's all about the experience," Taranto said. "The build-up yesterday to the draw - it was five a.m. our time. I was following Twitter hoping to see."

Taranto first met Czernyson and his wife, Christine, back in 2009 when Taranto and some fellow Australians flew to the United States to purchase yearlings at the Harrisburg Sale, a trip he makes every year.

Always looking for trotters, Taranto waits on a good horse that he can take back to breed in Australia. "I love the sport. I love the people I've met," Taranto said. "They're from all walks of life but you can keep meeting people who have the same interests. All the people I've been able to meet because of the association with horses it's amazing."

When not exploring his passions for harness racing, Taranto is the managing director and CEO of Seelite Windows and Doors, which services mainly the commercial market.

His company employs about 70 people, which requires a certain amount of organization for a man who travels the world.

"The travel with the horses has become much easier, the technology's become much better so people don't even need to know I'm not in the country," said Taranto, who also races a horse in Europe. "I'm sure half the people that talk to me the next four days won't know I'm not in Australia."

"He had a trip last year," Czernyson said. "He flew into JFK and then drove to Vernon and watched Ma Chere race over there and then he jumped in his car the next day and drove to Toronto and watched Mistery Woman race up in Canada."

Taranto purchases horses under the stable name Aldebran Park Inc. He purchased Mistery Woman on Oct. 4, 2011, for $102,000 along with co-owners Misty Miller, William Donovan and Millstream Inc. (Czernyson and wife, Christine). Miller's husband, David, will drive Mistery Woman in the Oaks. Their investment has paid off as Mistery Woman has earned $234,790.

Taranto owns Ma Chere Hall - who has earned over $206,000 going into the Oaks - along with Walnut Hall Limited and Joe Sbrocco.

Bee A Magician, trained by Richard "Nifty" Norman, is the biggest challenge to the Taranto/Czernyson combo.

Norman's filly comes into the Oaks undefeated in 2013 and is currently the No. 2 ranked horse in harness racing's Top 10 Poll, with 18 wins and $1.28 million in earnings.

Czernyson will also have two horses, Dreams of Thunder and Lauderdale, competing in the $1.2 million Hambletonian,.

Dan Levin is a student at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County. He is covering the Hambletonian as part of the Clyde Hirt Journalism Workshop.

Ken Weingartner

Harness Racing Communications

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