08/04/2015 9:02PM

Meadowlands: Market Share, Grieco back for fourth Hambo Day

Derick Giwner
Shelly Grieco has been taking care of Market Share since 2010.

For the fourth consecutive year we have the privilege of watching champion Market Share compete on Hambletonian Day. Whether his appearance in the John Cashman Memorial Final on Saturday will be his last on the day that made his career back in 2012 is still an unknown.

“I have no clue. Market Share tells us what he wants to do,” said trainer Linda Toscano on the future and possible retirement for the Richard Gutnick, T L P Stable and William Augustine-owned trotter. “At the end of the year the whole group gets together and as long as he keeps competing at the level he is at, he’ll keep competing.”

[ MEADOWLANDS: Watch the entire Hambletonian Day card LIVE on DRF + Interviews, Features, Handicapping & much more.]

Perhaps one of the most important members of the Market Share “team” goes mostly unknown to the general public. But the future for caretaker Shelly Grieco and her “lil man” Market Share go hand in hand.

“I told my family that I’d be home for good this past Christmas, but I don’t think I can walk away until he’s done,” said Grieco, who has worked for Toscano for nearly 12 years. “People don’t truly understand the relationship and think they are just animals, but he really is my reason for getting up in the morning and walking to the barn.”

The pair shares a remarkable bond that is well documented to anyone that follows Grieco on Facebook or has seen the two together.

“She is his best friend,” said Toscano. “She eats, sleeps and breathes Market Share. When she tells me he isn’t right, I don’t question her. We (trainers) set the schedule, but they (caretakers) know the horses best.”

Under the constant care from Grieco, the 6-year-old has amassed earnings of $3,701,346 while winning 26 of 62 career starts. While the trainer typically gets all of the credit, Toscano couldn’t say enough about Grieco and the function all caretakers perform.

“A trainer that is worth their salt who doesn’t give at least half the credit to the caretaker is kidding themselves,” said Toscano. “She is as big a part of the success of Market Share as anybody on the team.”

Saturday will mark the fourth consecutive Hambletonian Day appearance for the son of Revenue S and also for Grieco. On paper their journey started together in 2011 when Market Share went undefeated as a rookie and hit its zenith when the star won the 2012 Hambletonian. Market Share would earn over $2 million that year and come back as a 4-year-old to score another million in cash.

“I’ve had him since he was a yearling,” said Grieco. “I broke my collarbone back in July 2010 and was off from work for four months. He was the first horse I started taking care of when I returned in November. I just fell in love with him from day one. There was something about him that made him different.”

In his career, Market Share has been on the track 22 times at the Meadowlands with a solid eight wins to his credit against some of the best trotters in North America. Starting from post six in race 5 on Saturday, his task will be far from easy versus the likes of Elitlopp winner Magic Tonight, who is part of the dozen of the best trotters in the game going 1-1/8 miles in the $301,500 final.

Although Toscano stopped well short of predicting a big performance on Hambletonian Day, she stills sees the same horse from that majestic day three years ago when he took home the most coveted prize in the sport.

“He’s exactly the same horse I’ve always trained. I don’t think he has lost a step from day one,” said Toscano.

Win or lose on Hambo Day, the one certainty is that Grieco will undoubtedly share an embrace with her beloved Market Share when his day is through before taking to social media to adorn her once-in-a-lifetime horse with love and the usual words—“To the moon and back lil man.”

$301,500 John Cashman Final - Race 5

1 Intimidate S.Zeron 8-1
2 Flanagan Memory B.Sears 8-1
3 Gural Hanover M.Kakaley 15-1
4 Magic Tonight O.Kihlstrom 4-1
5 Obrigado M.MacDonald 12-1
6 Market Share T.Tetrick 3-1
7 DW’s NY Yank Y.Gingras 15-1
8 Melady’s Monet J.Bartlett 15-1
9 Natural Herbie V.Yoder 9-2
10 Wind Of The North D.Miller 6-1
11 Lindy’s Tru Grit A.Miller 30-1
12 Master Of Law B.Miller 20-1