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Englehart's barn sizzles after quarantine ends
OZONE PARK, N.Y. – For a three-week period, trainer Chris Englehart’s barns were under quarantine. For the last 2 1/2 weeks, his stable has been on fire.
Since the quarantine was lifted on his barns at Belmont Park, Finger Lakes, and his farm in upstate New York on Dec. 9, Englehart has won with 8 of 17 starters, including an eye-opening six wins from eight starts at Aqueduct. After going 3 for 3 here Thursday, Englehart won Friday’s fourth race with 2-5 favorite Iberian Gate.
“I think I fulfilled my quota for Aqueduct,” Englehart said Friday from Canandaigua, N.Y., where he spends most of his time. “I usually win three races.”
Actually, in the three previous Aqueduct inner track meets, Englehart was 6 for 88 at Aqueduct, including 4 for 43 last year.
Englehart, who has won eight consecutive training titles at Finger Lakes, could not race his horses from Nov. 20 through Dec. 10 after one of his horses died from a bout of equine herpesvirus in mid-November. That horse, She’s Smokin Hot, a 4-year-old filly, had spent time both at Englehart’s farm in Shortsville, N.Y., as well as Finger Lakes.
Since Englehart regularly shuttles horses between those two facilities and Belmont, his barn had to be placed under quarantine. At the time, Englehart shared a Belmont barn with David Donk, whose horses also were prohibited from running until Englehart’s horses all tested negative for the virus.
“It was one of those things that happens,” Englehart said. “I drug David Donk into it and my neighbor up at Finger Lakes, too. Everybody was very understanding about it. It’s a serious thing. It was very costly to my owners and to me. You got to do the responsible thing and then put it behind you. It was a little trying for sure.”
Englehart’s recent success has helped him put it behind him. Englehart, who is now stabled in barn 46 at Belmont, has 35 horses in New York. Among his winners Wednesday were the 2-year-old New York-bred filly Smokin Artie’s Girl, who won twice here within 16 days, and the 8-year-old gelding Who’s the Cowboy, who was making his first start for Englehart and is entered back next Wednesday.
Englehart cited a couple of reasons why he believes he could have a successful winter at Aqueduct.
“I got owners that are giving me better horses to train, and the condition book in the winter time is a little more like Finger Lakes, so it gives me more horses I can bring there,” Englehart said.
Englehart, 55, looked to have contenders in Saturday’s fifth race with Run Warrior Run as well as Sunday’s fifth race with Isn’t She Grand. In Sunday’s sixth, he is dropping the 3-year-old gelding Fuhrlang in for $25,000 after he finished eighth against New York-bred maiden special weight company in his debut.
Callmetony still going strong
When owner Roddy Valente claimed Callmetony for $7,500 on Nov. 24, he told trainer Bruce Levine that if the 9-year-old gelding “doesn’t want to do it anymore or was unsound, that would be it” and Valente would retire the horse and find him a home.
But in the month since he returned to Levine’s barn, Callmetony still showed a desire to run, which he certainly displayed Thursday afternoon winning a $7,500 claiming race by a head under Ramon Dominguez. It was Callmetony’s 18th career win from 67 starts. He also has finished second or third an additional 31 times. The bulk of Callemetony’s success came for Valente and Levine, who claimed the son of Runaway Groom for $32,000 out of a race at Hollywood Park on July 13, 2005.
Though the horse finished last of four that day, he certainly turned things around on the East Coast, winning his first three starts for Valente and Levine. Overall, Callmetony won 13 of 37 starts for those connections between Sept. 22, 2005, and May 17, 2009, before he was claimed away by trainer Jeff Correa.
Callmetony raced a combined six times for three different trainers the remainder of 2009, before going on the shelf for a year with a suspensory problem.
“As long as he’s happy and wanting to do it, we’ll run him,” said Levine, who would like to win a race with Callmetony as a 10-year-old in 2011.
Meanwhile, Levine said that his 3-year-old New York-bred Bambi Bound, a recent first-level allowance winner, will be pointed to the $65,000 Jimmy Winkfield Stakes here Jan. 17.
Crossbow seeks redemption Sunday
Crossbow, touted all over the racetrack when third at 3-2 in his debut Nov. 27, looms another short price Sunday when he attempts to win a six-furlong maiden race over Aqueduct’s inner track.
A son of Bernardini, Crossbow got hard used under Alan Garcia in a ridiculous speed duel with Escort – the two went a quarter in 21.40 seconds and a half-mile in 44.50 – and faded to third, 5 1/4 lengths behind Rocking Out.
“We thought he was very fast, but with Alan Garcia or any of the top riders we never give instructions, we give them a leg up and say good luck,” said Art Magnuson, assistant to trainer Kiaran McLaughlin. “Alan wished he would have sat second once we did not have first place. We’ll roll with the punches. Alan rides very well for us.”
Garcia is not in New York on Sunday, so Crossbow will be ridden by Dominguez.
Magnuson said it has not been determined if Crossbow will stay in New York or move down to south Florida for the winter. Magnsuon said that Sheikh Mohammed’s Darley Stable has enjoyed its share of success in New York during the winter and has kept another good 3-year-old, Fort Hughes, here as well. Fort Hughes, second in a stakes race at Parx Racing, is a candidate for the Winkfield.
Belmont Cafe expansion nearly done
The New York Racing Association plans to complete its expansion of the Belmont Cafe, a simulcast area on the first floor at Belmont by Wednesday, opening day of the Gulfstream meet.
The expanded area, which includes an adjacent area in the clubhouse that has individual handicapping stations, will be equipped with additional heaters and six new flat-screen televisions. Another 12 flat-screen sets will be put in the cafe.
The Belmont Cafe will now have a total capacity of approximately 500. According to NYRA officials, there were 235 patrons at the Belmont Cafe on Friday.
The Belmont Cafe opened Dec. 13, five days after New York City Off-Track Betting Corp. shuttered.