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Stephen Larkin owns only one racehorse, but when the horse is Atta Boy Dan, one is not such a lonely number. In fact, the number is quite common when looking at Atta Boy Dan's past performances, as in first-place finishes. Atta Boy Dan led all harness racing horses in the U.S. in wins last year with 19. He was named both the Claimer of the Year and Pacer of the Year at The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono, becoming the first horse in recent memory to receive double honors in the same season. For his career, the now 11-year-old gelding, who was slowed by a coffin joint injury in 2017, has won 71 of 200 starts and is approaching $1 million in purses. "What he did last year was amazing," Larkin said. "The thing I love about him the most, he just gives his best every week. He's never had a bad week. He gets a lot of tough trips, but he's always trying down the stretch. He has great heart. He is a great horse." Larkin claimed Atta Boy Dan this past September for $40,000. It was the 14th consecutive start the horse was claimed. During that span, Atta Boy Dan won 11 times, was second twice and third once. "I've never seen a horse change barns that many times, at that age and that caliber, and win every week anyway," said Pete Pellegrino, who trains Atta Boy Dan for Larkin. "He's just an honest horse that loves to do it. He's just as tough as they come. He's an iron horse." Since acquiring Atta Boy Dan, his new connections have put him in conditioned races (some with an optional claiming tag) with the hopes of keeping him for as long as possible. He has raced 14 times for Pellegrino and Larkin, winning three times and earning a check 12 times on his way to $40,455. Atta Boy Dan, who has earned $959,452 lifetime, is entered Saturday in a conditioned race at The Meadowlands. He is 9-2 on the morning line with Corey Callahan in the sulky. "He's been hard luck the last bunch of weeks; first over, first over, first over," Pellegrino said. "Last week, he was first over at the half and they went (1):48.3 and he finished third. But he works right to the wire. You think he's done and in mid-stretch, here he comes again." Larkin, a Massachusetts resident who works as a corrections counselor for the Federal Bureau of Prisons, got his first horse in the mid-1990s. "My father owned horses a long time ago," Larkin said. "In 1995, I moved to New York (for work). I didn't know anyone, I didn't have any hobbies, and I ended up going to Monticello Raceway to pass some time. I ended up claiming some horses; that's how I met Pete." Larkin was attracted to Atta Boy Dan because of his back class. The gelding's top win came in 2015 in the Robert J. Kane Memorial at Batavia Downs and he finished second in that year's Gold Cup and Saucer on Prince Edward Island. Overall in 2015, he won 18 races and was named both the Pacer of the Year and Horse of the Year at The Meadows while racing in the stable of trainer Ron Burke. "He speaks for himself," Pellegrino said. "What you see is what you get. He's just an unbelievable horse." Racing begins at 7:15 p.m. Saturday at The Meadowlands. For complete entries, click here.  by Ken Weingartner, for the USTA     

Pompano Beach, FL...January 21, 2015...Its Payday Friday completely justified the public's confidence of sending the five year-old off at a dime-to-a-dollar in the betting by scoring a resounding 4 1/4 length victory in Pompano Park's $12,500 harness racing Open Handicap Trot on Wednesday night.   The altered son of Kadabra, trained by Renaldo Morales III for owner-driver Dan Clements, took command just a stride or two prior to the :27.2 opener and then wired panels of :57 and 1:26 before sprinting home in :28 to equal his lifetime mark of 1:54.   Dukester and Rick Plano teamed up for plane honors while Buddy Hally, with Stephen Byron handling the lines, finished third, five lengths away.   The very early leader, Adenium, finished fourth while Highland Yankee finished fifth in the quintet.   In a post-race interview, driver Dan Clements gave a lot of credit to the track crew saying, "This racetrack was absolutely perfect tonight--not too hard...not too deep...just perfect. Kudos to them! As far as the trip went, well, as you can see here in the winner's circle, the earplugs are still in so I don't know how much more he would have gone had I pulled them. He was really awesome tonight!"   Its Payday Friday is on quite a roll having six wins and five seconds in 11 starts since arriving at Pompano Park in late October.   This victory pushed his lifetime bounty just shy of $200,000--$198,888 to be exact.   The companion $11,000 Open Trot went to M C Felix, a recent claim by owner Neal Oksenberg. Trained and driven by Aaron Byron, M C Felix took command at the quarter and wired his foes the rest of the way, stopping the timer in 1:55 for his 36th lifetime success. This nine year-old son of A J's Tycoon now has $348,229 on his card.   The second leg of the Sea Eagle Late Closing Event for claiming pacers went post-ward in two divisions--Sea Eagle the winner of the very first race contest at Pompano Park on February 4, 1964--with Deep Finesse and First Impression staking a claim to the final scheduled for January 28.   Deep Finesse, a nine year-old son of Western Paradise, came from well off the pace negotiating his final three-quarters in 1:24.2 to score the victory measuring 1 3/4 lengths for driver Jason Dillander. Terrorizer, with Ed Hensley in the bike, was second while Four Starz Kyle finished third for Rick Plano. Elkhorn Damian and Tumblin' Dice, the early pacesetter, also picked up minor awards, fourth and fifth, respectively.   Trained by Pete Pellegrino for the Baron Racing Stable, Deep Finesse won for the 33rd time in his career--the hard hitting claimer now at $231,835 in career bounty.   As second choice on the board at 9 to 5, Deep Finesse paid $5.60 to win.   First Impression, driven by Aaron Byron, made his 200th lifetime start a memorable one with a sharp 1:53.1 win in the second division of the Sea Eagle Late Closer, taking the lead right at the opening marker of :27.3 and carding fractions of :56 and 1:25 before a sprint home in :28.1 sealed the deal measuring a comfortable 1 1/4 lengths over Tivolii Hanover, handled by Jason Dillander. Who Dey finished third for Mickey McNichol while Unrecognized Saint finished fourth. Memory In Motion picked up the final award in the field of six--three 10 year-olds and three 11 year-olds!   Owned by the Three Gees Stable and trained by Gary McDonald, First Impression won for the 39th time in his career, sending his lifetime bankroll to $352,288.   As the 8 to 5 tote-board favorite, First Impression paid $5.40 to his faithful.   Pompano Park's Super Hi-5 again had multiple winners on Wednesday night setting up a record carryover exceeding $60,000 for Saturday night's program.   Finally, The Florida Amateur Driving Club boosted their charitable donations past the $135,000 mark with a contribution to the Christian Harness Horseman's Association. The CHHA, with more than 1,000 members world-wide, was represented by Chaplain Lee Alphen. A large group of horsemen and women, including Dan Clements, Bruce Ranger, Diane Hellen and young Tom Wine, Mike Hardy, Pete Pellegrino, Jason Dillander and Allen Saul, were in the winner's circle to make the presentation.   by John Berry for Pompano Park

Pompano Beach, FL...February 8, 2014...Northern Companion earned his 34th lifetime victory on Saturday night by scoring a sharp 1:51 victory for Dave Ingraham in Pompano Park's $10,000 Open Pace.   The six year-old son of Cambest, trained by Howard Klohr for owner Dorothy Zarza, wore down the game Lyons Johnny, handled by Wally Hennessey, to score by a length and a half. Hillybilly and Bruce Ranger teamed up to finish third while Eastend Eddie, last in the field for the first half mile, rallied to finish fourth. Who's Your Maddy picked up the nickel in the seven horse field.   Lyon's Johnny out-dueled Electric Lad in the early stages and took the field to the first station in :27.2 with Northern Companion nestled into third and remaining in that position through the opening half in :55.3. On the backside, three-eighths out, Northern Companion left his comfortable surroundings and began gnawing in on Lyons Johnny's lead, cutting it in half turning for home and collaring that one in mid-stretch before drawing clear late.   In a post race interview, driver Ingraham said, "...he had a nice trip but, to tell you the truth, i was concerned a bit when we weren't gaining that much around the turn. Lyons Johnny can't be taken lightly. He gave "Jaguar" (Prairie Jaguar) a good tussle the week before and I wasn't sure we were going to get there but Northern Companion just has that attitude that he wants to win. He's got that winning attitude! It's a great quality in a racehorse--a winning attitude. The draw helped us this week, too, because we were a lot closer from the two post than the previous week from the six."   Northern Companion's scorecard now reads 2-2-1 in six starts and the victory pushed his lifetime earnings over the $200,000 mark--$203,082 to be exact.   As the even money favorite on the tote board, Northern Companion paid $4.00 to win.   The Open 2 Pace went to Freeneasy Hanover, who dug in late for driver Bruce Ranger to hold off Legends Luck and Wally Hennessey by a head in 1:52.2. Avantage (Dave Ingraham) finished third, four lengths away, with McGreat and Restless Yankee garnering the final awards in the octet.   The six year-old son of Western Ideal, trained by Jim McDonald for Ciro Gentile and Twenty Four Carrot Racing, went right to the front and carded an opening panel of :27.1 in thwarting any ideas of an early challenge. After a breather that brought Freeneasy to the half in :56, Ranger throttled his charge a bit on the backside and a :27.3 third quarter brought the pair to the third station in 1:23.3 as Legends Luck left the coziness of the pocket to challenge turning for home.   In deep stretch, the pair raced side-by-side with Freeneasy prevailing in the photo for his second straight success of the year in six starts. He's banked $156,765 lifetime--$10,250 of that so far this young season.   Stepping up from a "non-winners" class, Freeneasy Hanover was the public's fifth choice in the win pool and paid $14.40.   In the $20-$25,000 claiming handicap, Ahead Of the Curve was given a picture perfect drive by George Napolitano, Jr. and captured that event in 1:52 over the late charging Rick's Sign, handled by Simon Allard. The winning margin was 2 3/4 lengths with Red Hot Yankee third after posting red hot fractions of :26.1, :53.3 and 1:22 with Ahead Ofthe Curve right on that one's tail the entire way, only leaving the pocket turning for home and scoring easily from there.   Masters Champion and Mach Wheel also earned minor awards in the field of six.   Trained by Pete Pellegrino for the Baron Racing Stable, Ahead Ofthe Curve, an eight year-old son of Real Desire, won for the 27th time during his career and pushed his lifetime bounty closer to $300,000--now at $298,149.   He paid $3.60 to win as the public choice.   Finally, Fox Valley Griffin, driven by Rick Plano, lit up the tote-board, by scoring at victory in a claiming event in 1:53.1 at odds of 52 to 1.   The six year-old, trained by Richard Macomber for wife Carol and Emilinda Manzi, paid $107.00 to win, keying two dime superfecta payoffs (there was a dead-heat for second) of $945.83 and $756.68.   The big upset also set up a Pick-4 carry-over of over $3,000 going into Sunday's racing program.   Sunday also is the kickoff of Pompano's $20,000 Championship Driver's Challenge, which gets underway with a round one pairing of Dave Ingraham and Rick Plano.   by John Berry, for Isle Pompano Park          

Pompano Beach, FL...January 11, 2014...Premier, hot property recently at Pompano Park while changing hands by claim in his last two starts, captured the final of the $18,200 Murdock Hanover Late Closer at the south-Florida five-eighths mile oval on Saturday night, wiring his opponents with a lifetime best equalling performance of 1:51.3.   Driven by Rick Plano for wife-owner Maryann Plano, the seven year-old son of Artsplace carved out panels of :26.3, :55.1 and 1:23.1 and sealed the deal with a :28.2 finale, pinning a two length defeat on the 4 to 5 public choice, Just Fred, driven by George Napolitano, Jr.   Trevor Win For Us teamed up with Ricky Macomber, Jr. to finish third while Artomatic Pilot overcame the nine post to finish fourth. Itchy Pickle's paced the fastest final quarter in the field, :28.1, to earn the final award after being shuffled far back turning for home in then field of nine.   The victory--Premier's biggest career payday--was his 29th and sent his lifetime bounty to $136,343.   In a post race interview, driver Plano said, "...this is just a solid, hard trying racehorse. A few starts ago, he beat me in (1):51 and a piece in a '15' claimer so, when the opportunity to get him for a little less came along, I decided to grab him. He loves the front end and that's where I put him right from the get-go. He was sharp as a tack tonight!"   As second choice in the betting, Premier paid $7.20 to win.   In the $10,000 Open Pace, B N Bad, handled by George Napolitano, Jr., just did hang on by a scant nostril to eke out the decision over Southern Sport (Joe Pavia, Jr.) in 1:50.3, a new lifetime mark considering his other 1:50.3 winning mile came over the one mile Meadowlands oval.   Northern Companion (Dave Ingraham) was third while the even money favorite, Eastend Eddie, pacing his final 3/4s in 1:22.3, finished fourth in his first start back off of a 10 week layoff and a qualifier.   Lyons Johnny picked up the nickel in the field of seven.   For B N Bad, trained by Pete Pellegrino for the Baron Racing Stable, it was his 25th lifetime success, sending his career bankroll to $360,273.   Finally, brackets were drawn for Pompano Park's $20,000 Driver's Invitational Championship, which starts February 9th and concludes with a March 15 Championship final.   The competition, offering an $8,000 prize to the winner, pits Dave Ingraham (6,515 lifetime wins) against Rick Plano (6,339) in round one. the winner of that bracket will go on to face the winner of a Bruce Ranger (8,639)-John Macdonald (2,765) matchup on February 10.   Other opening round events pit Joe Pavia, Jr. (5,238) versus Simon Allard (2,057); Ricky Macomber, Jr. (2,496) against Kevin Wallis (9,653); Ed Hensley (5,196) against Jason Dillander (2,156) and Wally Hennessey (8,497) versus Mickey McNichol (4,540).   Points will be awarded on a 10-7-5-3-1 basis with the "terrific 12" narrowed down to the "sensational six" before being pared to the "thrilling three" seeking the championship.   John Berry              

Pompano Beach, FL…Nov. 3, 2012…B N Bad and Panocchio shared the spotlight on Saturday night (Nov. 2), each scoring impressive wins in their respective events at Pompano Park. B N Bad, nailed near the wire as the favorite in his last two starts, didn't disappoint his $2 backers this time around in the $10,000 winner's over feature, scoring a decisive win measuring 2 1/4 lengths in 1:52.1--this time as the 2 to 1 second choice in the betting. The six year-old son of Soho, handled by Bruce Ranger for trainer Pete Pellegrino and the Baron Racing Stable, went to the top beginning with his initial stride out of the gate and led every step of the way, feeling only minimal pressure in the final turn before sprinting clear turning for home after clocking panels of :26.4, :55.4 and 1:23.3. Hurricane Scotty J and Matt Romano teamed up for the place honors while Freeneasy Hanover, driven by Wally Hennessey, finished third after being in the garden spot most of the mile. The 7 to 5 favorite, No Monkeys Allowed was fourth and never really prominent while Oh My Joepa, brushing up to challenge on the final turn, was fifth in the field of seven. In a post race interview, driver Ranger said, "This horse had :26 opening quarter speed so I wasn't that concerned with the quick first number and was able to rate him a bit to the half. I let him out a notch on the backside (:27.4) to try and discourage any threatening developments and he did this all on his own. It was a very solid performance…after all, he does have a mark of (1):49 and a piece. It was the seventh win of the year for B N Bad and 24th lifetime and sent his lifetime bounty to $345,648. B N Bad paid $6.20 to win. Ranger was also in the bike as the three year-old Panocchio, co-owned by trainer Jim Mattison along with Emile Johnson, Jr., scored a very game win in 1:51, holding off a very determined Lyons Johnny (Wally Hennessey) to win by a head. The son of No Pan Intended blasted out of the gate to take command early, yielded to Lyons Johnny just before the opening quarter (:26.3), reclaimed the lead a few steps later and clicked off subsequent number of :54.4 and 1:23 and still had a :28 second finale in his heart as he and Lyons Johnny raced together right down to the wire. Special Strides, driven by Rick Plano, closed stoutly to finish third, just a length away. Gentleman Friend and Hurricane Howard got the final awards in the field of nine. It was the seventh lifetime win for the youngster--all this year--and lowered his previous mark of 1:52.3 accomplished in his last start. "Pretty surprising to me," said trainer Jim Mattison after the race. "I know this horse has talent…but I really didn't know he has THIS much talent. He's been racing at Saratoga and did well up there. Maybe I have something here…who knows!" While the time may have been unexpected, the outcome certainly wasn't as the bettors made Panocchio the 4 to 5 tote-board favorite. He paid $3.80 to win. In yet another co-feature, Neptune Blue Chip, enjoying a bit of class relief, wired his competition for Andy Santeramo in 1:53. The five year-old son of American Ideal took command shortly after a brief tussle with Oozie's Bad Boy (Rick Plano) and carded number of :27.2, :55.3 and 1:23.4 before cruising home to a victory measuring just short of three lengths. There was a dead-heat for second in the event with Oozie's Bad Boy and Yankees In Six (Stephane Lareau) tying for the second spot. Excel Nine and Avantage also picked up checks in the field of seven. Neptune Blue Chip earned his 19th lifetime win--fifth this year--for trainer Jim McDonald, who handles the chores for Twenty Four Carrot Racing and Ciro Gentile. In what was deemed to be a very competitive by the bettors, Neptune Blue Chip paid $8.20 as thee third betting choice on the board. Also, driver Jimmy Whittemore, making his first appearance at Pompano Park, made it a winning one as he scored a five length win with Small Bills for owner, trainer and father Dennis Whittemore in 1:58.2. by John Berry for Isle Pompano Park  

Pompano Beach, FL...October 12, 2013...B N Bad, who was scorched badly last week vying for the lead during a :26.1 opening panel (at 1 to 10 odds), scorched his competition on Saturday night with a gate to wire win for Bruce Ranger in 1:52.3. Trained by Pete Pellegrino for the Baron Racing Stable, the six year-old son of Soho left like a rocket from his mid-pack four post and easily took command around the first turn and proceeded to clock comfortable panels of :27.1, :56.1 and 1:24.2 before sealing the issue with a :28.1 finale to hit the wire 1 1/4 lengths ahead of Neptune Blue Chip, handled by Andy Santeramo. Quincy, stepping up to the "big time" for the first time, rallied for third for Bryce Fenn while Fine Fine Fine and Oh My Joepa picked up the remaining scraps. Last week's winner, Avantage, never got in the hunt this night and finished sixth with Hyperion Hanover completing the septet. In a post race interview, Ranger said, "Last week, it was his first start back in a month and that first quarter really did him in. Tonight, he was very sharp leaving and the rated second quarter breather really helped him. This horse can easily go opening halves in :55, so when we got half way through in :56 and a piece, I felt very confident he could take it all the way...and he did!" It was the sixth win in 22 starts this year for B N Bad, pushing his 2013 bounty just short of $80,000 and $335,648 lifetime. The Pompano co-feature went to Hillybilly, who brushed home in :28 flat to put his field away with a 1:52.1 mile, equalling his lifetime mark. Driven by Bryce Fenn for trainer Marc Aubin and Amante Standardbreds, the three year-old son of N Aboriginal scored his seventh win of the year in 17 starts, pushing his lifetime earnings past $70,000. Oozie's Bad Boy (Rick Plano) overcame the outside eight post to finish second while Hurricane Howard (Tom Sells) finished third after taking an ever-so-slight lead turning for home. Freeneasy Hanover and Maxine's Menace earned the final two checks in the field of eight. Driver Bruce Ranger had three wins on the card while trainer Pete Pellegrino had three training wins on the program. In other action, the Florida Amateur Driver's Club made a sizable donation to The Charlie House, a safe haven for disadvantaged youths, this after John Campagnuolo snick through the pylons to win the F.A.D.C. Trot with Lucky Hit in 2:00.4 over McKelvie and Joe Pennacchio. BK's Luv, driven by Laurie Poulin, finished third. The Club had donated over $125,000 of charitable causes since its inception. John Berry  

Quietly, and without much fanfare, Worthys Magic has joined the leading harness racing winners list in North America when Billy 'Zeke' Parker, Jr. reined the 7-year-old Cam's Magic Trick gelding to a 1:56.1 triumph at Monticello Raceway on Thursday, May 8.

Three Artist denied Haroun Hanover his 12th seasonal victory but the harness racing 5 year old Real Artist gelding had to go in 1:55.3 to do it.

Talk about consistency. How about the seasonal resumes of a pair of harness racing pacers owned by the Baron Racing Stable who were both victorious yesterday (Nov. 13) here at Monticello Raceway.

Although he has been racing in Monticello's high priced harness racing claiming events Court Jester is one of the most prolific pacers that has been competing here this season.

On the strength of two victories at Monticello Raceway in the first round of the Yanks vs. the Kiwis International Amateur Driving Championship the members of the North American Amateur Drivers Association-the Yanks- have jumped out to a point lead of 48 to 32 in the two races contested on Wednesday, September 6.

Harness racing driver Greg Merton will tell you himself that it was his lucky day when trainer Pete Pellegrino decided to race part of his huge stable at Monticello Raceway this year.

Mike Merton is en route to a harness racing career milestone and after reining All Tricked Out to a gait to wire triumph in a 1:56.3 clocking on Tuesday, May 15 at Monticello Raceway. Now he needs just 13 victories for 2000 career wins.

On Wednesday, May 9th Greg Merton's string of five consecutive hat tricks came to an end when the lanky reinsman had but two winners on that card. However, on the Thursday May 10th harness racing program Merton again reined three winners as he continues his thrust toward the top of the local leaderboard.

When Mighty M harness racing driver Greg Merton was anxiously awaiting the arrival of trainer Pete Pellegrino from Florida some wondered why. After all, Pellegrino isn't a household name around here but he is a top conditioner and his horses speak for the man's talents.

One of Ontario's top harness racing young driving talents, Doug McNair, acknowledges that things couldn't possibly have been any better in his first working visit to the Isle Casino Racing Pompano Park.

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