Of late, I’ve had lots of fun at the harness track. I might not win lots of money at the harness track, but it’s still a nice day outside and worth a couple of hours of my time.
Plus, on Sundays, my horse Mugshots Bro – a 7-year-old trotter with plenty of power – seems to find the winner’s circle more often than not. For example, check out this win he had last May.
Two weeks ago, Mugshots Bro picked up a big win in the open trot, and after the win, the horse is brought to a special, flowered area of the track where track photographer par excellence Melissa Simser-Iovino photographs the horse, along with its owner and special guests.
So when Mugshots Bro won that race, I saw the horse’s co-owner, Amy Dowd (she used to also be Mugshots Bro’s trainer, but now that she’s working with thoroughbreds, another trainer is involved with Muggie), and I mentioned that I was glad to see Mugshot Bro win again.
“You should get in the winner’s circle and join us in a picture next time,” she said. “You’ve been very supportive of this horse.”
Last week, I thought about doing that – but unfortunately, it was not a good weekend for me. Instead of going to the track, I actually went to my local OTB and put money on Mugshots Bro there.
And yes, he won again.
Not only did I win money from him in that race, I also had him in a “Pick 3” (choose the winners of three consecutive races), which netted me about $300 from all my winning tickets.
So last Sunday, I went to the track – of course, I brought my film cameras, Leica Green and the Rollei, and at some point I’ll get my track pictures developed and shown – but here’s the deal.
Mugshots Bro was in the 7th race, position 6 of six horses in that challenge. It’s his third consecutive open trot race, and it’s hard enough for a horse to win two consecutive races, let alone three.
Sure enough, as the race started, Muggie was in fifth place (another horse broke stride and had to drift to the back of the pack). But with less than a half-mile to go, Mugshots Bro moved out of fifth place and slowly eased his way past the other trotters – fourth place – third place – and at the final turn, he’s now two lengths ahead of everyone.
Mugshots Bro wins three weeks in a row.
Next thing I know, I’m shaking hands with the horse’s co-owner, Herman Niedhammer, who says he’s enjoyed reading my blog and chronicles on the horse’s activities. Then it’s off to the winner’s circle for the team photo.
Yep. I’m there. How cool is this?
There I am. Far left. Albany Patroons T-shirt.
I’m telling you, this horse has a long ways to go.
So what does the future hold for Muggie?
Well, I thought there might be an option for him to participate in some sort of Triple Crown – just like for thoroughbred horses, there is a triple crown horse racing championship for trotters, it involves the Hambletonian, the Yonkers Trot and the Kentucky Futurity – but Mugshots Bro is 7 years old, and those championship races are for three-year-olds.
Now there is something called the Breeders Crown Open Trot, it’s part of the twelve races that make up the Breeder’s Crown – a standardbred version of the Breeders’ Cup for thoroughbreds. And Mugshots Bro is certainly capable of participating in that.
But the big thing right now is to get this horse more races and more competition. And that may mean spending some time downstate. Like at Yonkers Raceway, for example. In other words, show the world what we already know – this horse is damn good and he’s going to see nothing but winner’s circles in his future.
And that’s truly awesome in and of itself.
But the main thing is – he’s got more races to go in his career. And if he’s back on the track Sunday at Saratoga … or Yonkers … or anywhere …
I’ve got some money on him to win. For sure.