Day At The Track
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LEBANON, OH. - Can't Fire Me (Trace Tetrick) and Lets Go Bucks (Dan Noble) both completed sweeps of the two preliminary legs of the Ray Paver Sr. Memorial Series on Monday afternoon (March 20) at Miami Valley Raceway. The showdown between the two, plus seven other finalists, will take place next Monday when the $22,500 championship of the series, for non-winners four pari-mutuel races or $35,000 lifetime, will be determined. Can't Fire Me scored his second gate-to-wire romp in the first split, besting Ultimate Shopper (Chris Page) and Energy Bar (Jeremy Smith) in 1:55.3. The 4-year-old Coventry-sired mare is owned by Marjorie Deshetsky and trained by Danny Collins. Lets Go Bucks used the same tactics, topping Trumpets (Ed Greeno Jr.) and Toy Crown (Jeremy Smith) in front-stepping style. Bill Dailey trains the 4-year-old And Away We Go gelding, who trotted the mile in 1:57.1, for Jim Burnett and Tim Homan. Racing resumes Tuesday afternoon (March 21) with a 2:05 post time. A $22,000 Open Trot will be featured, as well as three second-round divisions of the Omar Hiteman Memorial Series for male pacers that are non-winners of two pari-mutuel races or $15,000 lifetime. From the Press Box at Miami Valley  

Freehold, NJ --- There might be some debate about the origin of his name, but there is no arguing that Viewlander enjoys the brisk days of winter. An 8-year-old male trotter --- who didn’t make his harness racing career debut until November of his 4-year-old season --- Viewlander is 3-for-3 this year at Ohio’s Northfield Park and approaching $100,000 in lifetime purses. Bred and owned by Michael Patalan and trained by Patalan’s son, Eric, the gelded Viewlander has won 21 of 90 career races, but enjoyed much of his success during the months of December, January, and February. Going back to December 2014, Viewlander has raced 15 times during those months and produced 10 victories. Viewlander’s most recent win came on Jan. 18 by two lengths in the Open Handicap at Northfield’s half-mile oval. His next start is Monday in the Open Handicap at Northfield, where he will leave from post eight with driver Aaron Merriman and is the 4-1 second choice on the morning line behind S J Better Days, at 7-2. “If you look at his races, almost everybody is on Lasix but him,” Michael Patalan said. “That to me is a real special horse. You would think in the wintertime he wouldn’t be breathing as good, but he seems to thrive in the winter months. Last year he got hot about this time. We gave him the summer months off and he just enjoyed the sun and the grass and then we brought him back and he seems to be getting better with every start. “And I think he kind of likes the fact he can push horses around on the small tracks (like Northfield). I told my son after last week that Viewlander probably thinks he’s the best horse in the world right now.” Viewlander was unraced at ages 2 and 3, but Patalan liked the trotter from the beginning. “Eric doesn’t push them as 2-year-olds,” Patalan said. “If he can get them racing and sell them as 3- and 4-year-olds, we’re sort of happy to do that. But Viewlander was spectacular from birth. He’s just a nice horse. He eats well, loads well, ships well, and doesn’t need a veterinarian. What more could you ask for. “He gets turned out all the time. He’s got a couple of girlfriends in the field that he loves to yell at, even though he’s a gelding. We’re having a good time with him. When he retires, we’ll keep him as a fun horse in the field for the grandkids to play with. When you make this kind of money with a horse, we’re not a big stable or big breeders, that’s a lot of money for a breeder like us to make and it keeps the farm going for a while. So when he’s finished we’ll let the kids enjoy him.” Patalan got his start in harness racing in 1969 while living in the suburbs of Cleveland. He was an engineer for Ford and would go to the races with co-workers, but ventured into ownership after becoming friends with Burton “Bud” Jenne, who had a farm nearby. “I drove by his farm for like five months and all of a sudden one day my car turned in the driveway,” Patalan said with a laugh. “Six months later, we had a yearling.” Patalan now lives in Michigan, where he and his wife Christine have a farm and have bred more than 100 horses over the years. Patalan also has driven and trained horses during his career in harness racing. Viewlander, by the stallion Coventry, is the only offspring of Patalan’s Tagliabue mare Tagliaview --- at least for now. The 73-year-old Patalan has bred fewer horses in recent years as opportunities in Michigan diminished. But Viewlander’s success led Patalan to breed Tagliaview in 2015 to stallion Cash Hall, who is the fastest trotter in harness racing on a half-mile racetrack, with a time-trial mark of 1:51.1. “I thought that was really kind of cool,” Patalan said. “Viewlander has got a great conformation. He’s a big horse who gets around a half-mile track extremely well. With Cash Hall’s record, I just thought this was really something special. “Everybody always asks where Viewlander’s brothers and sisters are, and now I tell them one is coming.” As for the trotter’s name, Patalan recalls it being a combination of Tagliaview and Verlander --- the star pitcher for the Detroit Tigers. Others disagree, saying it was a combination of Tagliaview and the movie Zoolander. The Patalans have often named horses with references to movies or characters from movies. “We probably had a bottle of wine when we named him, one of those things,” Patalan said, laughing. “I don’t think we’re ever going to resolve it.” Patalan said Eric, who is assisted by his wife Cathy in running the training stable, has received calls inquiring whether Viewlander is for sale. Patalan said no. “We couldn’t get enough money for him to replace the fun we’re having with him,” Patalan said. “As good a care that Eric takes of horses, I think he’s got a career that’ll go a long time.” by Ken Weingartner, Harness Racing Communications

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