World champion trotting sensation Enough Talk will head a stellar cast of characters on Saturday, August 14, as the ninth annual edition of the $50,000 Joseph Ricci Memorial Trot takes centre stage at Scarborough Downs
The 31-time winner, who has bankrolled more than $1.4 million over the course of his career, was a 13th hour addition to the Ricci lineup as Scarborough Race Secretary Joe Figiulo diligently worked the phones right up to draw date to secure what may well shape up to be the finest Invitational field ever assembled in state of Maine harness history.
“We were fortunate to attract such an accomplished field for this year’s Ricci,” Figiulo remarked. “But then to be able to add a world-class horse of Enough Talk’s caliber is really a coup. This could be a race that people in Maine will talk about for years to come.”
Enough Talk’s appearance in the Ricci comes fresh on the heels of his hard-charging second place finish in last weekend’s prestigious $300,000 Nat Ray to Slave Dream and just one month removed from his victory in the $235,750 Titan Cup, both at the Meadowlands.
The winner of the 2008 Dan Patch Award, Enough Talk claimed bragging rights to extreme speed status that very same season, becoming the fastest trotter in the history of harness racing by virtue of his 1:49.3 effort at Colonial Downs.
“We were a tough luck runner-up in the Nat Ray last weekend, locked in the whole way and breaking free too late to catch Slave Dream at the wire,” said Anthony Altomonte, Racing Manager for Peter Kleinhans Racing, “Enough Talk came out of the race great though and will be ready for the Ricci.
“Most of his recent races have been on big tracks but he handles the half-mile tracks quite well, too. We won the Oleg Cassini at Yonkers in a monsoon a few years back and he had a lot of success at Saratoga before we got him. He’s a pretty handy horse, he’ll have no problem up at Scarborough.”
Enough Talk has drawn post number six and has been made the 2-1 morning line favourite.
Likeabatoutahell, the winner of the 2008 edition of the Ricci Memorial, returns to Maine on Saturday to engage the world’s champ. Owned locally by Michael Andrew of Gorham, Maine, “Bat” as he is affectionately called, girds for battle off a lifetime best 1:51.3 victory in last weekend’s $75,000 Vincennes Cup on Hambo Day at the Meadowlands and a close fourth (beaten just two lengths) to Enough Talk in the Titan Cup.
Starting from post number five, he will once again be driven by local reinsman Gordon Corey and has been made the second choice on the morning line at 5-2 odds.
Batal J Launcher, the defending Ricci champion, returns to defend his title. The old-timer of the group, this 11-year-old veteran is fast approaching the half-million-dollar mark and has been a consistent threat in the Yonkers upper-class trots all season long. He will be driven by Scarborough’s leading driver Shawn Gray and has been installed as the 9-2 third choice on the morning line from post number three.
Pembroke Prayer, co-owned by Mark Ford and Maine’s own William Varney, returns to the Pine Tree State off a recent 1:55.4 tour of Yonkers' twice-around oval. Heath Campbell will call the shots from the sulky on Saturday.
Speed Bomb ventures forth from the Meadows off a lifetime best 1:54.3 effort. Ron Cushing will drive for owner Sylvia Burke.
Hot Shot Bluechip, winner of last year’s Canadian Trotting Classic consolation, holds the hopes of local owner Thomas Dillon of Anson, Maine. He will score from post seven with Hall of Fame driver Don Richards in the bike.
Slim Down, the 44-time winner and pride of New England, has drawn the rail for trainer/driver Jim Hardy.
The Ricci Memorial, named in honour of longtime Scarborough Downs owner Joseph Ricci, is the richest invitational event in New England. Post time for the 13-race program is 4 p.m. (EDT).