Day At The Track

Parkin In Heaven vying for win in Oldfords Memory

12:16 AM 26 Mar 2019 NZDT
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Tyler Buter,Harness racing
Tyler Buter
Lisa photo

YONKERS, N.Y. – When driver Tyler Buter guides Parkin In Heaven onto the racetrack for the $58,000 final of the Petticoat Series Monday night (March 25), he will doubtlessly be thinking of Gene Oldford.

A longtime friend and client of Buter and his father, Todd, Oldford owned the 4-year-old pacer before his passing February 25, 2019 and the filly continues to race in his name.

“I’ve trained for him my whole life and dad actually met him on the Michigan Harness Horsemen’s Association Board,” Buter said.

“That was how dad and Gene got to be friends. Gene’s son Stephen is also really active in the business and we train some horses for him, too. That’s been a good relationship.

“We’re hoping Gene is watching her on Monday and hoping he helps us out little bit,” Buter continued.

“We need all the help we can get, right?”

The Buters bought Parkin In Heaven for Oldford at the 2016 Harrisburg Sale for $25,000.

Sired by Rock N Roll Heaven, the filly was out of Park Avenue, a mare owned by Oldford and campaigned by the Buters to earnings of $558,527.

“You buy them as a yearling and you teach them everything they know. It’s definitely rewarding when you buy them as a yearling and they turn out to be a good race horse,” Buter said.

“And we also raced her mom, Park Avenue, so that’s kind of cool in the sense that we raced her mom and now we have an offspring of hers that’s doing well.

“Her mom was a really nice racehorse. They’re build a lot alike and they’re demeanor in the barn and on the racetrack is similar. You can definitely tell,” Buter continued.

“She’s really quiet. You literally don’t even know she’s in the barn. She’s sweet, one of those quiet fillies that doesn’t fuss much.”

Parkin In Heaven only made two starts as a 2-year-old, but broke her maiden early in her 3-year-old campaign.

She’s 3-for-33 in her career with another 16 placings and has earned $57,690. She’s continued to improve as a 4-year-old and has adapted to racing on a half-mile track, which led to her connections taking a shot in the Petticoat Series.

“As a 3-year-old, she had a decent year. She was always a little better on the bigger tracks as a 3-year-old. We raced her a lot at Pocono,” Buter said.

“And then as a 4-year-old, she just seems to get better every start. She’s learned to race on a half a lot better. She gets around it a lot better than a year ago.”

Despite her steady development, Parkin In Heaven’s path to the Petticoat Final wasn’t a sure thing.

After a third-place finish in the series’ first leg March 4 and a runner-up effort to Ella Is Awesome the following week, Parkin In Heaven was on the bubble going into the last preliminary leg March 18. However, after drawing into a field with only five rivals, Buter was confident.

“I was confident that if I had her somewhere close to the front, she was going to be top three,” he said.

“That wasn’t a huge concern. She always finishes really well. As long as you have her close to the front, she’s going to finish well.”

Parkin In Heaven rode the pylons in fourth 5 lengths behind Cabowabocuttie in her last outing. Buter guided her second-over behind longshot Playin The Ponies past the three-quarters and tipped three-wide around the final turn.

Parkin In Heaven cruised past her cover in the lane to finish third, elevating her series earnings to $9,800. The total put her eighth in the Petticoat standings and earned her a place in the final.

Parkin In Heaven drew post two in the final, slated as the eighth race Monday night, and is a 12-1 morning line chance.Odds On Ashely is 3-1 from post four after two wins and a second in the series while racing on the frond end. Catch An Ace will start from post five and is the 5-2 morning line choice off a first-leg win and two runner-up finishes. Robyn Camden and Cabowabocuttie each posted wins in legs two and three of the series, but drew posts six and seven, respectively while Ella Is Awesome, who won in the first two legs of the series, drew the inside. Bye Hanover and Ghosttothepost complete the lineup.

Parkin In Heaven’s start in the Petticoat Final will be especially meaningful for Buter. Not only will it be the biggest race of her career to date, it could also be one of her last races for the Buters as Parkin In Heaven is likely to be included in an online dispersal of Oldford’s stable in the near future.

“Hopefully she races good for us and everything works out. Hopefully she makes a good racehorse for someone else, too,” Buter said.

“Obviously, we drew good in the final, so we’re hoping they shake it up a little bit and we’re right there at the end.

“That’s a good spot. I know some of the better ones drew the outside, so it will be interesting,” Buter continued.

“She has gate speed, so as a driver, you just kind of play it by ear. You have to go by what your horse is telling you behind the gate and what the other horses are doing. It all changes when they say ‘go’ that’s for sure.”

Tuesday night’s card features the $60,200 Sagamore Hill finale while the Matchmaker and Levy Series continue this weekend.

Live harness racing is featured at Yonkers Raceway every Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, Friday, and Saturday night. First post time is 6:50 p.m. For entries to the races, click here.


By Brandon Valvo

for the SOA of NY

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