When Mybrothergeorge competes in Saturday’s $317,800 Woodrow Wilson at Meadowlands Racetrack, it will be the biggest race of his fledgling career. But for his owners, the size of the purse matters little. Every race with Mybrothergeorge is special
“It’s nice to hear my brother’s name out there again,” Bellino said. “The other night when he won, it felt like winning the [Little Brown] Jug. This horse means a lot to us.”
Mybrothergeorge was named in memory of Bellino’s brother, George, who passed away unexpectedly at the age of 49 in December, not soon after the Bellino family watched its stable star, Rock N Roll Heaven, complete his Horse of the Year season. Rock N Roll Heaven, like Mybrothergeorge, is owned by Bellino’s father, Frank.
When Joe Bellino decided to rename a horse in memory of his brother, he had to choose between a trotting colt by Muscles Yankee and a pacing colt by Rocknroll Hanover. He selected the pacer, but cannot put his finger on why.
“To be honest with you, I don’t know,” he said. “It just felt right.”
After watching Mybrothergeorge win three of his first seven races, it feels right even more so. Not because of the success, which included winning a division of the Niatross by a head at Meadowlands Racetrack in 1:51.1 and posting another head triumph last week, but for the way the Bruce Saunders-trained colt goes about his business.
Mybrothergeorge seems to possess George Bellino’s football mentality on the racetrack. George was an all-state linebacker during his scholastic football days in New York and received a scholarship to Georgia Tech.
“Bruce kept telling us that this horse was as good as anybody,” Joe Bellino said. “His races before, if you look at them, he just got in bad position; he just had really tough goes at it. He had some bad luck. After he won the last race my father said he reminds me a lot of your brother. My brother was known as a hard hitter and my father kept saying he’s tough like your brother.”
George’s children, Danielle and Christopher, both under the age of 10, enjoy watching the horse every chance they get.
“They ask me if they can see daddy’s horse and I show them [videos of] the races,” Joe Bellino said. “It’s emotional, to say the least.”
Mybrothergeorge was bred in Ontario by Highland Thoroughbred Farm and was purchased under the name Highlandprovosbest for $110,000 at the Standardbred Horse Sale. He is a half-brother to Artistic Vision, who is the dam of Rock N Roll Heaven. He also is a half-brother to millionaire Armbro Animate.
“Me, my dad and brother picked him out because of his mom being Artistic Vision’s mom,” Bellino said. “Bruce loved him too. It had to be a consensus or we don’t take a shot. We loved him and Bruce looked at him and loved him, so we took a swing.
“Bruce kept saying this horse gets it. He was a little green in the beginning but he’s starting to [get it]. Bruce was right.”
Mybrothergeorge’s mark of 1:51.1 is the best in the Woodrow Wilson field, and second best among all two-year-old male pacers this season. He also has the most earnings, $57,337, of any horse in the Wilson. He will be driven Saturday from post five by his regular pilot, Andy Miller.
“We drew the five and we think he’s got a really good shot,” Bellino said. “I know George will be watching it.”
Following is the Woodrow Wilson field in post position order, with listed drivers and trainers:
1. Mortal Zin, Brian Sears, Ron Burke;
2. Simply Business, Ron Pierce, Jimmy Takter;
3. Wrubellious, David Miller, Jerry Silverman;
4. Mel Mara, Yannick Gingras, Tony Alagna;
5. Mybrothergeorge, Andy Miller, Bruce Saunders;
6. Allstar Legend, Tim Tetrick, George Teague Jr.;
7. Major Bombay, Sears, Alagna;
8. A Rocknroll Dance, Mike Lachance, Jim Mulinix;
9. WH Skooter, Jody Jamieson, Lou Pena.
This story courtesy of Harness Racing Communications, a division of the U.S. Trotting Association. For more information, visit www.ustrotting.com.