Day At The Track

Calabrese scores double in amateur trots

08:46 AM 18 Apr 2021 NZST
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John Calabrese, harness racing
John Calabrese
Lisa Photo

Freehold, NJ -- An old adage says "when you're hot you're hot" and no harness racing amateur driver is hotter than John Calabrese. Not only did he win both divisions of the American Harness Drivers Club trots today at Freehold Raceway but he won an amateur contest last night at the Meadowands and he's now had five wins (and four seconds) in his last ten trips behind the starting gate.

Calabrese started his afternoon in the Garden State with a solid 2-1/4 length 2:00.1 triumph with Ooh Rah in the third race and then came back two races later to score a one- length victory Shoemaker Hanover in the identical time of 2:00.1.

In the first AHDC contest Calabrese left softly from post five and fell in second as Bob Hechkoff led the field by the first stanza with Pound Sterling in :29.1. With open lengths on the field Hechkoff and his trotter cruised by the halfway point and remained unchallenged until the backstretch where Todd Whitney made a big move with longshot King Cast but by the three quarters he was rebuffed which gave room to Ooh Rah.

Calabrese then waited until the top of the lane to rally his charge and once they had clearance it was "ballgame" as the veteran Credit Winner gelding went on to an easy triumph. Paul Minore rallied If I Must home second best, a head better the Pound Sterling.



The winner, an altered son of Credit Winner, is owned by Kathleen and Donald La Montagne and trained by Kathleen LaMontagne. Send away as the 1-2 favorite Ooh Rah paid $3.00 for win.

Calabrese came back in the fifth race to score another come from behind triumph, this time with Shoemaker Hanover.

After starting from the four-hole Calabrese floated softly away from the gate and was sixth at the quarter some seven lengths off the leader, Inukchuk Chuck, who was driven by Mark Schullstrum.

As the field headed to the half Bob Hechkoff moved Southwind Frost off the pylons and Calabrese followed that cover and both trotters moved up closer to the leaders. But Inukchuk Chuck still had command when they straightened for home and in the lane Shoemaker Hanover was the strong horse and he forged to the front and was the first one home. Southwind Frost won the place photo over Inukchuk Chuck.



The winner, an 8-year-old stallion by Cantab Hall, is owned and trained by Tracy Tarantino. Sent off as the odds-on favorite he paid $3.00 for win.

Thus far this season Calabrese is a clear candidate for Amateur Driver of the Year. He now has eight wins, six seconds and four thirds in 28 starts for a .464 UDR.

For full race results, click here.

by John Manzi, for the American Harness Drivers Club


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