Day At The Track

Jim Atkinson hopes to conquer Singer Series

04:57 PM 15 Feb 2012 NZDT
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A shoeing change and clean bill of health have been a winning combination for harness racing trotter Connie Lauxmont. The 3-year-old son of Conway Hall-Lady Law has won three races in a row as he heads into Thursday's (Feb. 16) opening round of the Charles Singer Memorial Series at Meadowlands Racetrack.

Connie Lauxmont, trained by Jim Atkinson, will compete in the second of two $12,500 divisions. He will start from post six with driver Brian Sears and is the 2-1 morning line favorite. The $60,000 Singer Memorial final is March 2.

Last year, Connie Lauxmont won one of nine starts, finished second twice and third twice, and earned $25,218 for Atkinson, who owns the colt with his wife, Carol. The horse battled illness throughout the campaign and went off stride in four of his starts.

This season, Connie Lauxmont has three wins in four starts, all at Dover Downs with Roger Plante, Jr. handling the driving, and $15,464 in purses. His win streak began after the addition of toe weights by Atkinson.

"I put a set of toe weights on him and he took off," said Atkinson, who lives in Georgetown, Del. "He's got a ton of speed. We've never opened him up yet. Every time Roger has won with him he's said that he's had plenty left. We put him in the series at the Meadowlands. I've got my fingers crossed; hopefully he'll do very well."

Connie Lauxmont, bred by Kindergarten Stud, was purchased for $4,100 by Eli Beiler and Elam Esh at the Breeders Select Sale in Pennsylvania. His dam, Lady Law, competed on the New York Sire Stakes circuit for the Doug Ackerman Stable in the late 1990s and is a half-sister to Lei, who is the mother of millionaire Stroke Play.

"My friend bought him and he told me about him," Atkinson said. "As soon as he got back with him I told him I wanted to buy him. I told him to go ahead and train him. He got him trained down to 2:30 and I went up to Pennsylvania and purchased him. I was very impressed with him.

"He got sick a couple times on me last year in the New York Sire Stakes, so I couldn't get the full potential out of him. He just couldn't shake it."

Connie Lauxmont has the New York Sire Stakes series this year, plus some early closers at Mohegan Sun at Pocono Downs.

"If he continues to do good, and if he does good in the sire stakes, maybe I'll get invited into something," Atkinson said.

Atkinson's father, also Jim, was a Thoroughbred jockey who later turned to training harness racing horses. Atkinson, who turned 57 in December, worked as a heavy equipment operator before beginning his own career as a trainer in 2003. Atkinson won 20 of 145 starts last year and earned a career-best $245,790.

In 2010, his trotter Impel Hanover finished second in the Horse & Groom Series final, losing by a nose to Celebrity Playboy.

"I've had some very nice trotters," Atkinson said. "I have more trouble with a pacer than I do with a trotter; it just comes naturally to me. I do my own shoeing and I like to go with as little equipment as I possibly can. I don't like a lot on their head; I like to keep their bridle as simple as possible. I just have good luck with them."

He hopes it continues with Connie Lauxmont.

by Ken Weingartner, Harness Racing Communications

Courtesy of the US Trotting Association's Web Newsroom


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