Day At The Track
Search Results
1 to 6 of 6
1

No one needs to worry about Shartin N resting on her laurels, although she might get to relax a little more this year than her previous two seasons. In 2018, Shartin N made at least one start in every month from January through November on her way to the first million-dollar season for a pacing mare and a Dan Patch Award for best older female pacer. Last year, she made at least one start in every month from March through November. She won 15 of 19, finished second on three occasions, earned $982,177, set the record (1:46.4) for the fastest mile ever by a female pacer, and was named top pacing mare, Pacer of the Year, and Horse of the Year. She became the first pacing mare in history to be named Horse of the Year, as well as the first horse bred outside North America to receive the honor. The 7-year-old New Zealand import is already working toward her return to the races, which is expected to come next week at Dover Downs. Then it's off to Yonkers Raceway's Blue Chip Matchmaker Series, a six-week event that Shartin N has won each of the past two years. Following the Matchmaker, which begins March 13 and ends April 18, trainer Jim King Jr. will look to give Shartin N some time off. "We've decided to try to give her a split year instead of trying to go all the way through the year," King said. "If that works out, when we get done with the Matchmaker hopefully we can give her a pretty good break and then get her back ready to take off from there. It won't be a real long break, but there are some races that we're going to try to miss. "If she can be good early and be good late, she can still accomplish a lot. That's a lot to ask of a horse that you just got done racing for 10 months, twice. But so far, she hasn't minded me doing foolish things." Shartin N, bred in New Zealand by Grant Crabbe, was purchased in the fall of 2017 by Richard Poillucci. She is now owned by Poillucci, Jo Ann Looney-King, and Tim Tetrick LLC. Since arriving in North America, Shartin N has won 34 of 43 races and $2.03 million. "It's just absolutely amazing for us to be in a position to buy a Down Under mare and become Horse of the Year," Poillucci said. "I was just hoping for a nice open mare. This has far exceeded all expectations. What she's done at that level of racing is unbelievable. To keep them on their toes in those kinds of miles is a very difficult task. "I think that's what most impresses me, her ability to carry speed the way she does and standout in races where they're going (fast fractions) and she's still charging. Horses don't do that stuff on a regular basis." Tetrick has driven Shartin N in all her North American starts. "She was pretty tough (to handle) when she started," Tetrick said during this past Sunday's Dan Patch Awards banquet, when the Horse of the Year announcement was made. "But she had big lungs and you couldn't get her tired. When she was on her game she was as good as any horse I've ever sat behind. She has a ton of speed and grit. She had a mind of her own, but she worked with us and we got it done." Shartin N qualified on Feb. 19 at Dover Downs, winning in 1:51.3. Poillucci called the qualifier "absolutely perfect." "Here it comes again," King said, referring to a new season. "Every indication is that she's come back very good." Shartin N will attempt to become the first horse to repeat as Horse of the Year since trotting mare Moni Maker in 1998-99 and the first pacer to repeat since Cam Fella in 1982-83. She finished second to McWicked in balloting for 2018 Horse of the Year and, according to noted harness racing historian Bob "Hollywood" Heyden, is the first since Matt's Scooter in 1989 to be runner-up one year and come back the next season to receive Horse of the Year. "I just want to say thank you to all the voters, and most of all thank you to Shartin," King said Sunday at the banquet, adding later, "She's definitely been life changing for us." by Ken Weingartner, for the USTA

Richard Poillucci is looking forward to watching his New Zealand-bred standout Shartin return to action this season and the 6-year-old Dan Patch Award-winning mare has a new stablemate that Poillucci hopes can keep her company on the stakes trail. Shartin hit the racetrack for the first time this year on Wednesday (Feb. 13) at Dover Downs, winning a qualifier in 1:56 as she prepares to defend her title in the upcoming Blue Chip Matchmaker Series at Yonkers Raceway. Expected to join Shartin in the series is New Zealand-bred Bettor Joy, who was purchased in December from the Down Under stable of Cran Dalgety and is owned by Poillucci and Jo Ann Looney-King. Bettor Joy, who is a dathe difference in breeding seasons, Bettor Joy, who was born in October 2014, is considered a 5-year-old in North America as opposed to a 4-year-old in New Zealand. Shartin, also owned by Poillucci and Looney-King, and Bettor Joy could provide their owners and trainer Jim King Jr. a strong one-two punch in the pacing mare division. "That's what we hope for, but you never know," Poillucci said. "Bettor Joy is a real good mare. She is just getting started. She raced once at Dover and came up sick on us and finished fourth. We'll probably race her again next week. We're looking for big things from her." Of course, Poillucci also is looking for big things from Shartin. Last year, she became the first pacing mare to earn $1 million in a season, finishing with $1.05 million thanks to 19 wins in 24 races. Her victories included the Breeders Crown, Roses Are Red, Lady Liberty, Blue Chip Matchmaker Series championship, TVG Series Mare championship, Artiscape, Betsy Ross Invitational, Chip Noble Memorial, and Allerage Farms Mare Pace. In December, she was named the sport's best older female pacer of 2018 and joined Hall of Famer Cardigan Bay as a "Down Under" import to receive a Dan Patch Award. Cardigan Bay, also from New Zealand, was a two-time honoree (1965 and 1968). Shartin's connections will accept her Dan Patch Award at the U.S. Harness Writers Association's Dan Patch Awards banquet at Rosen Shingle Creek in Orlando on Feb. 24. The mare remains a top contender for Pacer of the Year and Horse of the Year, which both will be announced at the banquet. "It was amazing, absolutely amazing," Poillucci said about Shartin's season. "Looking back at what she did, it's surreal trying to take it all in. You know how many people start out in January with horses and to end up the year with a mare that could stay as good as she stayed all year long is mindboggling. She's just a very special mare. If all goes well, I can't see why she can't come back this year and be a top contender again. There is no reason." Shartin can be a tricky horse to drive, so Poillucci gives credit to Tim Tetrick for playing an integral part in the mare's success. Tetrick has been Shartin's only driver in North America. "Jim King does a tremendous job as a trainer, but the key is Tim Tetrick," Poillucci said. "Timmy took the time to understand her and learned how to drive her. When she goes to the gate, he really has to work with her. She's aggressive. She's not a mean horse by any means, but when you put her behind the gate she just wants to roll. She just wants to go. Those few bobbles she made last year, those were her trying to outpace herself." The 2018 season was Shartin's first in North America. Poillucci hopes the mare can build upon last year's performances now that she has become more mature and acclimated to racing here. "I'm not saying that is going to happen, but that's what you would think," Poillucci said. "We're definitely in the hunt for a good year. I think it can happen. They said she was absolutely just running over horses (in her qualifier). That's a good sign. She doesn't like time off. She wants to race, that's her thing. "I know it's a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity (to have a horse like her). They don't come along very often like this. I may have a couple of very good ones behind her and I'm hoping for good things, but to say they can do what she does, that's a tough act to follow. It's very rare to find a mare that can do what she does." by Ken Weingartner, for the USTA  

Brilliant harness racing mare Shartin has been sold. The Queensland Oaks heroine will do her future racing in North America after being purchased by Massachusetts businessman Richard Poillucci for a hefty six figure sum. Previously prepared by Dean Braun, the Tintin In America filly will join fellow former 'down under' stars Nike Franco and Christen Me in the Delaware stables of Jo Ann Looney-King. Nike Franco was also previously prepared by Braun and has amassed earnings in excess of $350,000 this season alone on North American soil while Christen Me has amassed more than $100,000 since being sold earlier this year. The latest member of the 10,000 win club, champion reinsman Tim Tetrick, will be the new driver of Shartin. And just like her new stablemates, Shartin boasts outstanding big race credentials. The sale of Shartin was orchestrated by respected Auckland based agent John Curtin after months of negotiations. "The talent this filly possesses is very obvious and she looks like she has so much upside and that should auger well for her future in North America. All connections are satisfied and I’m really looking forward to seeing her race up there.” Curtin said. Shartin has not raced since finishing a terrific second behind star New Zealand colt (The) More The Better in the Queensland Derby at Albion Park on July 15. Her victory in the Queensland Oaks came two starts ago while she also claimed the Tasmanian Oaks at Launceston on March 19. But her most impressive display was recorded at her home track of TABCORP Park, Melton back on June 17 when parking outside subsequent Gr.1 winner Jilliby Kung Fu in a sparkling time of 1;52.5. "I've always said this filly is one of the best that I've trained and I firmly believe the best is still to come, she's an elite talent," Braun said. "Since being back in work following her break, I think she has improved and matured into a lovely mare. There's a real difference now compared to the end of her three-year-old campaign." He added. Shartin has won 7 times from 13 starts while banking more than $105,000 in stakes to date. The New Zealand bred mare is booked to fly out on November 18. Chris Barsby Shartin - Queensland Oaks Shartin - Melton 17th of June  

Freehold, NJ --- Richard Poillucci has admired harness racing pacer Christen Me from afar. With this week’s arrival of New Zealand’s 2015 Horse of the Year on U.S. soil, Poillucci looks forward to appreciating Christen Me’s talents from much nearer proximity. An 11-time Group 1 winner Down Under with nearly $2.5 million in purse earnings, Christen Me was recently purchased by Poillucci from the stable of New Zealand trainer Cran Dalgety. Christen Me, a 9-year-old gelding by stallion Christian Cullen out of the award-winning broodmare Splendid Dreams, will be trained in the States by the husband-and-wife team of Jim King Jr. and Jo Ann Looney-King in Delaware. Tim Tetrick will drive Christen Me. Christen Me won 32 of 68 races in Australasia including the Miracle Mile, Auckland Cup, Victoria Cup, Hunter Cup, and Easter Cup. He hit the board a total of 53 times. He was trained by Dalgety and driven by Dexter Dunn for owners Charles Roberts and Vicki Purdon. “We’re very excited about him,” Poillucci said. “I’ve been trying to buy him for a long time. He’s quite the horse. There aren’t too many horses with his credentials to arrive in America. Dexter Dunn told Tim Tetrick that he’s the best horse he’s ever driven. If this guy is what we think he is, we could have a lot of fun.” Although he is 9 years old, Christen Me’s 68 starts are relatively few for a horse of that age. “He’s like a spring chicken,” Dalgety said on his website. “He is working great and looking fantastic. “We probably won’t realize quite how good he was until he’s gone. Not many earn $2-million plus in Australasia; only about seven or eight.” The sale of Christen Me came to fruition after it was confirmed the gelding was suffering from minor exercise induced pulmonary hemorrhaging. Lasix, which is permitted to treat the condition in North America, is not allowed Down Under. “A few races back, (Christen Me) was second to Lazarus, who is probably one of the best horses to ever race Down Under,” Poillucci said. “If he can finish second with bleeding issues to arguably the best horse in Australasia, what can we do here with Lasix and treating for bleeding? “They can’t do anything about it there, so why not give him the opportunity to be the shining star that he is? He could come back to be a very exciting horse in North America. If it all works it could be something really special. I’m hoping for the best. I’m hoping that he’s the guy.” Poillucci said the Kings will take their time preparing Christen Me for this year’s racing in North America. “I did stake him to a few stakes that are later on so his acclimation could be a nice slow process,” Poillucci said. “It takes time. The first year is a very tough year for these horses. You’ve got to hope that everything goes well. Their clock is completely different. They’re going into fall; we’re coming into spring. They don’t know whether to grow hair, not grow hair. You’ve got to do the right thing by the horses. “He’s in tip-top shape. He’s a great looking animal, an absolutely gorgeous horse. Cran does an amazing job with his horses. We’re not going to go overboard with him this year. We’ll race him in some major races and see how he fares.” Christen Me is Poillucci’s latest purchase from Down Under, joining New Zealand-bred mare Nike Franco. Poillucci bought Nike Franco last year and she went 4-for-4 on the Delaware circuit, with a 1:51 victory over the boys in the Dover Downs Open Preferred Handicap to close out the season. The 7-year-old daughter of McArdle-Nearea Franco was one of the favorites in this year’s Blue Chip Matchmaker Series at Yonkers Raceway, but was sidelined because of a virus after her first start in the event. Nike Franco finished seventh in that start, but was beaten by only 2-1/2 lengths. She will miss the remainder of the series. “She has so many good races ahead of her that it doesn’t make sense to try to rush her back,” Poillucci said. “I think she could be arguably one of the top three mares in North America. That’s from Timmy, Jimmy. She was the best pacing mare in all of Australasia last year. She’s very, very talented. “Just what she did in her last start, being sick, was pretty amazing as well. That shows you her desire and heart.” Poillucci has downsized his stable to feature Christen Me, Nike Franco, and 5-year-old trotter Maestro Blue Chip, who won 13 of 20 races last year and earned $238,000. Maestro Blue Chip is being pointed to the Arthur J. Cutler Memorial on May 6 at the Meadowlands. In addition to those three horses, Poillucci has two 2-year-old pacers in training. “The plan was to keep the cream of the crop,” Poillucci said. “I wanted a good trotter, a good mare, and a good Open pacer. I have Maestro, Nike, Christen. I have a couple of babies that are coming. We’ll see where we end up. I sold four very good horses (recently). I’ve decided to try to stay with the upper echelon and see how that works. “Whether that works or not, I can’t tell you,” he added, laughing. “But it sounds good. I like what I’ve got.” What Poillucci does know is that he’s looking forward to this year. Poillucci lives in Massachusetts, where he runs several businesses, including a luxury auto body center and real estate development company. He first became interested in harness racing while playing hockey in Canada. “If you don’t get excited about stuff like this in this business,” Poillucci said, “then you don’t belong in it.” by Ken Weingartner, Harness Racing Communications 

Nichols, N.Y. -- Harness racing reigning Horse of the Year Wiggle It Jiggleit ($2.60) proved too much for his ten 4-year-old pacing rivals in Sunday (June 12) afternoon's $75,000 Graduate preliminary at Tioga Downs, drawing clear authoritatively after setting a strong pace.   The 4-year-old Mr Wiggles gelding not only endured early pressure from Rockin Ron (Yannick Gingras) through a :25.4 first quarter, but also a broken buxton in the initial stages of the race. Nonetheless, he dictate all the terms, rating a :55.3 middle half before edging clear of first-over challenger In the Arsenal (Brett Miller) on the far turn. Now a 30-time winner, Wiggle It Jiggleit amassed 5-1/2 lengths clearance over the others in the end, and his 1:48.1 mile equaled Rockeyed Optimist's track record for 4-year-old pacing geldings.   In the Arsenal held second, Rockin in Heaven (David Miller) rallied mildly to save third off a tracking trip, and Rockin Ron faded to fourth after forcing the early pace.   Clyde Francis trains Wiggle It Jiggleit for owners George Teague, Jr. and the Teague Racing Partnership.   Wiggle It Jiggleit     In the $75,000 Graduate Trot, Maestro Blue Chip ($13.40) lasted on the lead, parrying a stern first-over threat from Musical Rhythm (John Campbell) through the middle half and just holding sway from a surging Whataworkout (Scott Zeron) for a 1:53.4 victory. Tim Tetrick drove the 4-year-old Credit Winner entire for owner Richard Poillucci and trainer JoAnn Looney-King. Pinkman (Gingras), the 2015 Hambletonian winner, could not escape the pocket, narrowly beaten for third by Crazshana (David Miller) while lacking for racing room the entirety of the stretch.   Maestro Blue Chip     The afternoon's two $62,400 New York Sire Stakes events for 3-year-old pacing fillies saw Angels Rockn Pink ($15.20) and Time on My Hands ($4.10) work to the fore early and never look back. Angels Rockin Pink, a daughter of Rock N Roll Heaven and Miss Liz, turned aside a first-over push from Dime a Dance for a 1:52.1 win under Mark MacDonald for trainer Chris Oakes.   Time on My Hands also repelled a third-quarter challenge, but later would have to outlast a late push from American Ivy (Andy Miller), who vacated the pocket in upper stretch. Jason Bartlett drove the daughter of American Ideal and Bewitching Jewell to a 1:53.2 victory for trainer Chris Ryder.   The annual Tioga Downs Scholarship Race, a non-wagering exhibition sponsored by the Harness Horse Breeders of New York State and the Southern Tier Harness Horsemen's Association, went to the Tompkins Cortland Community College-bound Alexis Eaton, teaming up with trainer Mike Deters in a two-seated jog cart behind Prairie Jaguar in the 5/8-mile race.   Live racing returns to Tioga Downs on Friday (June 17) evening, with post time slated for 6:30 p.m. Eastern.   by James Witherite, Tioga Downs

It is too soon to proclaim Maestro Blue Chip the next Modern Family, but the 4-year-old male trotter is following a similar ascent to success. Harness racing owner Richard Poillucci bought Maestro Blue Chip at this year’s Tattersalls January Select Mixed Sale for $90,000. Since then, Maestro Blue Chip has gone 4-for-4 at Dover Downs and worked his way up the conditions ladder as he prepares for April’s Yonkers Raceway/SOA of New York Bonus Trotting Series. Three years ago, Poillucci was among the owners of Modern Family, who was purchased as a 4-year-old for $110,000 at the January Select Mixed Sale. Modern Family, who also was owned by trainer Daryl Bier and Charles Dombeck, won his first four starts following the sale and eventually became a stakes-level performer. Modern Family won the 2013 Hambletonian Maturity and the 2014 Charlie Hill Memorial in addition to finishing second in the 2014 Cutler Memorial. Sadly, Modern Family passed away following a fourth-place finish in the 2014 Maple Leaf Trot. “Maestro Blue Chip has really shown some promise,” Poillucci said. “Everything points toward him being a pretty nice horse. I don’t know if he’s Modern Family yet, but it’s kind of ironic because this is the way that Modern Family started out. The trainer (Jim King Jr.) and driver (Tim Tetrick) are very impressed with him to date.” A son of stallion Credit Winner out of the stakes-winning mare Up Front Hotsey, Maestro Blue Chip won two of 13 races and $78,673 at ages 2 and 3 while in the care of trainer Trond Smedshammer. He won his 2016 debut, also with Smedshammer, in a career-best 1:53.4 at the Meadowlands less than two weeks prior to the mixed sale. “He’s a young, fresh trotter,” Poillucci said at the sale. “Fresh horses are hard to come by. We’ll see how he matures and how he progresses. That was the horse I was looking at. I thought he was the best for what I was looking for.” Maestro Blue Chip romped to wins in his first three starts at Dover Downs, winning by as many as 12 lengths, and captured his most recent victory by a head in a winners-over class. “It’s been wonderful,” Poillucci said. “He wasn’t himself last week, he had some stuff going on with allergies, and he still won. I’m pretty excited. We staked him pretty heavily, and that was based on Jim’s and Tim’s opinions of the horse. He’s got a pretty decent schedule ahead of himself.” In addition to the upcoming series at Yonkers, Maestro Blue Chip is staked to the Graduate Series, Cleveland Trotting Classic, Chip Noble Memorial, Centaur Trotting Classic, and Dayton Trotting Derby. Poillucci lives in Massachusetts, where he runs several businesses, including a luxury auto body center and real estate development company. He first became interested in harness racing while playing hockey in Canada. “I’ve been doing this for about 30 years,” Poillucci said. “I played semi-professional hockey in Canada, and harness racing is big up there. On some of my off days I used to go to the races. I really enjoyed it. I came down to Foxboro and I decided one day to talk to (trainer) Steve Mancini and see if I could buy a horse. The next thing you know, I had 17.” Poillucci and Mancini, who passed away in 1999, won the 1987 Lewiston Pace with Natchez Gambler and Poillucci has enjoyed his share of additional success in the ensuing years. Among his horses today he also owns pacer Dapper Dude, who is competing in the Opens at Dover Downs. “The one I’m most excited about is Maestro Blue Chip,” Poillucci said. “It looks like he can go pretty fast. Where that speed bottoms out, I don’t know. He’s going to have to face some pretty nice trotters that are coming out shortly. We will see. But so far so good.” by Ken Weingartner, Harness Racing Communications

1 to 6 of 6
1