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Horse Racing: Palone enjoys memorable night

Sunday, September 14, 2003

By Pohla Smith, Post-Gazette Sports Writer

Hellava Hush was one of four horses who gave Meadows-based Dave Palone a heck of a night Sept. 6 at Pocono Downs.

Palone won all four 3-year-old Pennsylvania Sires Stakes finals, each carrying a $100,000 purse. The four horses were out-of-state shippers. He said he was the first driver to sweep the events.

Palone, The Meadows' all-time win leader, and Hellava Hush, who is Ohio-based, scored in the final for sophomore trotting colts.

Palone won the trotting filly final with Tagapine, a New York State shipper, the pacing filly final with Jennie Fanetta from New Jersey and the pacing colt final with Quarter Carat, also based in New Jersey.

Upcoming horse show

The Horses for Humanity Horse Show, a multibreed event, will be Friday to Sunday at the Western Pennsylvania Quarter Horse Association Show Grounds in Harlansburg, east of New Castle on Route 108.

Competitions are scheduled for American Saddlebreds, Morgans, Arabians, Quarter Horses, Appaloosas, Paints and Pintos, among others.

The classes of competitions include halter, English riding, Western riding, carriage driving, fine harness, roadster and gaited horses. There also are three fun classes for which horses are unnecessary: costume, barn pet and stick horse.

Organizers said they expect more than 300 horses. Along with the classes, there will be food vendors, tack stores, gift shops, photographers, and jewelry for sale.

Admission is free. Applications for exhibitors may be downloaded at Profits benefit the UPHA Benevolent Fund.

Training seminar

A seminar on the training of all breeds of horses will be conducted Oct. 2 at the Washington County Fair Grounds by Dennis Reis of the School of Universal Horsemanship in California. Cost is $65 for individuals, $35 each for groups of five persons or more. For registration, call 1-800-732-8220 or go to Reis' Web site at

Saratoga surges

Despite poor weather the first couple weeks of the six-week meet, Saratoga set a track attendance record with 1,049,309, 5 percent higher than the 999,388 last year. Average daily attendance also was a track-record 29,147.

Kentucky Derby-Preakness Stakes winner Funny Cide and Belmont champion Empire Maker were both scratched, but the Travers Day crowd still was a record 60,488, perhaps in part because the day was sunny with temperatures in the 70s.

Commingled handle, though, was down 1.6 percent from last year, to $562,356,923.

Trainer Todd Pletcher and jockey John Velazquez set records for victories with 35 and 61.

Milestone marked

The Maryland Jockey Club honored trainer King Leatherbury Sept. 6 at Pimlico for achieving his 6,000th victory. Stuck for a few weeks on 5,999, he finally achieved the milestone Aug. 23 with Sunrise in the seventh race at Timonium Racetrack.

Leatherbury, 70, is only the third trainer to win 6,000 races. Dale Baird, based at Mountaineer, is approaching 9,000 wins and Jack Van Berg had more than 6,300 at the end of August.

NYRA takeout savings

The New York Racing Association has returned more than $80 million in additional dollars to bettors, including off-track wagerers, since the opening day of the 2001 Saratoga meet, when it reduced its takeout, the percentage of each dollar wagered that is withheld for purses, taxes and expenses. Takeout was reduced from 15 percent to 14 percent on straight bets (win, place and show), from 20 percent to 17.5 percent on multiple bets (exactas, doubles, quinellas, triples) and from 25 percent to 20 percent on Pick 6 on non-carryover days.

Horse bits

Ryan Fogelsonger, who won the 2002 Eclipse Award as outstanding apprentice, has moved his tack from Maryland to Southern California. ... "Seabiscuit" the movie passed the $100 million mark in domestic gross revenues during the Labor Day weekend.

Pohla Smith can be reached at or 412 263-1228.

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