05/07/2013 12:18PM

Dick Jerardi: Penn National's big night to showcase painting horse

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Penn National will host the biggest night in its 40-year history June 1, anchored by the $500,000 Penn Mile and supported by five other stakes with total purses of $570,000, a $1 million night.

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The racing should be terrific. Metro Meteor, a 10-year-old gelding, will not be racing that night, but he will be at the track. And he will be displaying his paintings. In fact, if the mood strikes, the Painting Racehorse may even decide to display his talents on the spot.

Metro Meteor earned $299,420 in 27 races before being retired in 2009. He was adopted by Ron and Wendy Krajewski.

They made him into a riding horse, but knee issues ended that career. So Ron did the obvious. He taught the horse to paint.

It is true. Metro Meteor can paint. The horse holds a brush in his mouth and does his best Jackson Pollock impression. On the big night, Metro Meteor will be in a portable stall in the apron area, while 50 of his “Metro Mini” paintings will be for sale. So far, the horse’s paintings have sold for more than $32,000, with half the proceeds going to New Vocations Racehorse Adoption Program and the rest to keeping Metro Meteor himself in good health as he ages.

Penn National is going to donate a total of $10,000 to New Vocations, Canter of Pennsylvania, and ReRun, Inc., all equine aftercare programs. The three organizations will have representatives at Penn National that night to share information on their programs and get donations.

Metro Meteor is big in central Pennsylvania, but is getting bigger as word spreads. The “Today” show recently did a story on the painting racehorse. You can buy Metro Meteor’s work on eBay.

“It seemed natural to tie in the biggest night of racing in our track’s history with the important initiative of raising awareness for equine aftercare efforts,” said Dan Silver, director of racing operations at Penn National Race Course. “I’d like to thank Ron and Wendy Krajewski for bringing their incredible artist on track, in addition to Canter of Pennsylvania, New Vocations, and ReRun for being part of what will be an incredible evening.”

Metro Meteor, a New York-bred, earned his way in grass sprints at Saratoga and Belmont, mostly against statebreds. Seven of his eight career wins were on turf. He finished up at Penn National in an $8,000 claimer on June 11, 2009. Now, he will be back at Penn nearly four years after that final race, a new career just getting started.

Record month at Charles Town

Spurred by the Charles Town Classic card and helped by some massive show betting on some obvious favorites that night, Charles Town Races had a record average handle in April, $1,367,336 per live racing day. In the 18 live days of April, Charles Town handled $24,612,046 in all-sources handle.

“We were able to reach these new heights on the back of the Charles Town Classic’s evolving presence as a brand-defining event and race of national significance,” said Charles Town’s vice president of racing operations, Erich Zimny.

Average handle at Charles Town has increased by more than 30 percent since 2009. The April 20 Charles Town Classic card attracted a single-day record handle of $4,398,984 and a single-race record handle of almost $1.3 million on the Classic won by Game On Dude.

Samantha Colvin gets her first

The jockey grew up in Williamsport, Pa., home of the Little League World Series. She spent almost 10 years in the U.S. Army in signals intelligence. Last week at Pimlico, Samantha Colvin, 26, got the first win of her career.

Rocket Ninetyeight won by nearly four lengths in a maiden claimer and paid $18.80. It was just Colvin’s fifth career mount.

Great claim at Parx

Anearful was claimed for $7,500 by Ramon Moya on Jan. 3. Since then, the Pennsylvania-bred has moved up the claiming ladder into a first-level allowance win. The horse has won three races by a combined 24 1/2 lengths and has earned $100,000. In the seven races with Moya, Anearful has earned $105,000. In the first 27 races of his career, the horse won $125,000 with five wins.