Rekindling That Winning Feeling
“I went down to the winner’s circle and there was a mother and child there. The child gave me the flowers and I was crying. The little girl said to her mother, 'why is she crying?' I got so emotional. That was a big day for me. That was the most thrilling moment.”
Caroline “Kitty” Gerry remembers the thrills she enjoyed watching Bruschette compete on the racetrack and she hopes to rekindle those feelings with a daughter of the stakes-winning trotting mare.
Legal Lady, a daughter of Bruschette who Gerry bred and owns, is entered in Friday’s second of three eliminations for the Jim Doherty Memorial Stakes (formerly Merrie Annabelle) for two-year-old female trotters at Meadowlands Racetrack. The top three finishers from each elimination plus a fourth-place finisher drawn by lot will advance to the $389,450 final on Hambletonian Day, Aug. 8, at the Big M.
Trained by Jan Johnson, who also conditioned Bruschette, Legal Lady will start her elimination from post two with Corey Callahan in the sulky. She is 15-1 on the morning line. Julie Miller-trained Womans Will, who will leave from post three with driver Andy Miller, is the 2-1 choice.
Broadway Donna, from the stable of trainer Jim Campbell, is undefeated in four career races and the 4-5 favourite in the first elimination. Jimmy Takter’s Kathy Parker, named in honour of the longtime editor and general manager of The Horseman And Fair World magazine, is the 5-2 favourite in the third division.
Friday’s card also features two eliminations for the Peter Haughton Memorial Stakes for twp-year-old male trotters. Ron Burke’s Southwind Frank is the 2-1 morning line favourite in the first division and Takter-trained Bar Hopping is the 3-1 pick in the second. The top five finishers from each elimination advance to the $349,850 final on Hambletonian Day.
Legal Lady, by stallion Deweycheatumnhowe, heads to the Doherty Memorial off a second-place finish in her career debut in a maiden race on July 17 at the Meadowlands. Legal Lady, who qualified four times prior to making her first purse start, finished a neck behind Jazebel De Vie in 1:58.3.
“We haven’t rushed her,” said Gerry, a New York resident who is the wife of Harness Racing Hall of Fame member Ebby Gerry Jr. “I’m against that and Jan is more that way also. He doesn’t like to rush them, especially at [age] two.
“She keeps bringing down her times, which is good. [Success] just depends on a lot of things. We’ll hope. I’m not going to be disappointed as long as she races well.”
Gerry owned Bruschette during her racing career, which ended with nine wins in 48 races and earnings of $303,586. Her top victory came in the 2008 Allerage Farms Mare Trot at Lexington’s Red Mile. Bruschette rallied from seventh-place in the final quarter-mile to win by one and a half lengths over Brigham Dream in a career-best 1:53.1.
Gerry hopes for more thrills with Legal Lady, who is all lady in the barn and all business on the track.
“I can pet her, I can rub her nose, I can give her carrots, and the minute she comes out of the stall and you start putting the harness on her she is ready to go,” Gerry said, adding with a laugh, “Then you don’t want to be petting her or anywhere near her.
“I’m excited,” she added. “My husband keeps saying that you can’t get attached. Well, I’m already attached. I can’t help it. I rode as a kid all the time and I love animals.”
Gerry, who is an accomplished artist, hopes Legal Lady can paint a winning picture on Friday night, but knows it is a difficult assignment. She also knows the filly could have a lengthy career ahead of her.
“If she qualifies for the final it would be very exciting,” Gerry said. “I don’t want to get my hopes too high and get disappointed. But even if she doesn’t qualify, there will be other races. She’s only two. I just hope she stays trotting and stays healthy and we’ll see what happens.”
Following are the elimination fields in post order for the Doherty Memorial with drivers, trainers and morning line:
1. Broadway Donna, David Miller, Jim Campbell, 4-5
2. Im Outstanding, Yannick Gingras, Jimmy Takter, 8-1
3. Worldclass Hanover, Pat Lachance, Pat Lachance, 12-1
4. Hollywood Hill, Jimmy Takter, Jimmy Takter, 7-2
5. Celebrity Eventsy, Brett Miller, Staffan Lind, 8-1
6. Southwind Adele, Ake Svanstedt, Ake Svanstedt, 10-1
7. Everything N More, Tim Tetrick, Nancy Johansson, 20-1
8. Do I, Corey Callahan, Ron Burke, 20-1
1. Candle In The Wind, Jim Marohn Jr., Janice Connor, 20-1
2. Legal Lady, Corey Callahan, Jan Johnson, 15-1
3. Womans Will, Andy Miller, Julie Miller, 2-1
4. Sharons Luck, Brett Miller, Staffan Lind, 30-1
5. Gifted Lady, John Campbell, Jimmy Takter, 9-2
6. Miss Tezsla, Jimmy Takter, Jimmy Takter, 6-1
7. Twice Is Right, Yannick Gingras, Jimmy Takter, 5-2
8. Hot Curry, David Miller, Ron Burke, 8-1
9. Silent Blessings, Tim Tetrick, Nancy Johansson, 8-1
1. New Leaf, Jim Marohn Jr., Tom Haughton, 20-1
2. Thankful Reward, Tim Tetrick, Tony Alagna, 5-1
3. Unau S, Corey Callahan, Jonas Czernyson, 20-1
4. Kathy Parker, Johnny Takter, Jimmy Takter, 5-2
5. Jazebel De Vie, Scott Zeron, Chris Ryder, 12-1
6. Silvia, David Miller, Ron Burke, 6-1
7. Sunset Glider, Yannick Gingras, Jimmy Takter, 3-1
8. Encore Gold, John Campbell, Charlie Norris, 4-1
9. Lindys On Fire, Marcus Melander, Marcus Melander, 20-1
This story courtesy of Harness Racing Communications, a division of the U.S. Trotting Association. For more information, visit www.ustrotting.com.