A pair of new Open class horses recently arrived in the Bruce Ranger Stable at Isle Casino Racing Pompano Park and are doing quite well. That fact, by itself, is not at all surprising as the track's winningest harness racing driver of all time has also been one of the highest percentage training barns in Florida over the last couple decades.
It is how the horses became a part of the Ranger Stable that makes one wonder if something extraordinary may be contributing to their newfound success.
Ranger received a registered letter from the Broward County courthouse in the mail recently. Not knowing what to expect inside, he precariously opened the notice only to find he had unknowingly just inherited the last two racehorses of a dear friend who passed away several months ago.
The last will and testament of Jean Bryar, an elderly lady who Bruce first met in New Hampshire twenty years ago and who remained a close friend after relocating to Florida, instructed that Celebrity Legacy and Monet CC be gifted to Ranger. "Jean had been a loyal patron and great friend of the stable for a lot of years," recalls Ranger, "but I thought she was just teasing me years ago when she said she wanted me to have the horses if anything ever happened to her. She had her horses with other friends (fellow transplanted New Englanders Dave Ingraham and Kelly Case) in recent years, and although I visited Jean regularly in the waning months of her life when her health was deteriorating, she never mentioned anything about giving me anything again. I guess I'm just blessed that she entrusted her last two beloved horses to me.
"Dave and Kelly did a great job with these horses and they came to me in good form. I'll continue to care for them and race them as long as they are competitive and then make sure they get good homes, like Jean would want, when they are retired," Ranger concluded.
The trotter, Celebrity Legacy, has paid immediate dividends with victories in his first two starts for the Ranger Stable. Following a 2:00 triumph over a rain-soaked strip a week ago, the six-year-old gelded son ofreturned Wednesday night to eek out a hard-fought 1:56.3 win by a nose over Classic Viking (Kevin Wallis) and Salome Marvel (Fern Paquet Jr.). Although Celebrity Legacy's lifetime bankroll is rapidly approaching $200,000, the wins were just the 10th and 11th of his life in 119 trips to post. Many of Jean Bryar's longtime friends, like Hall Of Fame publicist John Berry who served on the Florida Standardbred Breeders and Owners Association board with her, believe her determined spirit and steadfast faith in her horses may now be accompanying Ranger right into the winner's circle.
Monet CC, a nine-year-old with career earnings approaching $400,000, finished third in his first start from his new barn last Saturday night. He has drawn post position three in this coming Saturday's $8500 Open Pace at Isle Casino Racing Pompano Park. Post time is 7:05 pm.