06/05/2012 3:39PM

Owner Porter and trainer John Servis together again


BENSALEM, Pa. – Reunited and it feels so good.

Six years after amicably ending their business relationship, owner Rick Porter and trainer John Servis are back together again, albeit in a limited capacity.

In April, Porter sent four horses to Servis at Parx Racing including the promising 4-year-old Spin Zone. Porter will also have a pair of 2-year-olds with Servis, who trained for him from 1999 to 2006.

Servis has won two races from five starters for Porter in their new arrangement.

“We get along like we always did,” Porter said. “John’s as honest as the day’s long. I like John, I think he’s a good trainer. You give him a good horse, he can get the job done. He’s proven it.”

In his first stint for Porter, Servis trained graded stakes winners Zonk, Jostle, Rockport Harbor, and Round Pond.

Both Servis and Porter said the split in the spring of 2006 was amicable. Porter said Tuesday that his stable was growing faster than Servis’s operation was, and Porter needed to branch out to include more trainers. It led to Porter moving all his horses.

“We had been together long time, we had split up once before, we both kind of felt that we needed a little bit of a break,” Servis said.

Porter would find success with Larry Jones, finishing second in the Kentucky Derby with Hard Spun and the ill-fated filly Eight Belles. Last year, Porter and Jones campaigned the Horse of the Year, Havre de Grace.

Servis said the success of Hard Spun stung him a little bit because he selected him at auction.

“That one hurt,” he said.

Two of the first three horses Servis has run for Porter – Spin Zone and U S S Constitution – have won. Spin Zone is by Candy Ride out of a mare named Harve de Grace (not to be confused with 2011 Horse of the Year Havre de Grace), making him a half-brother to the multiple graded stakes winner Concord Point. After losing his first four starts, Spin Zone won a six-furlong maiden race at Parx on May 8 by 9 1/4 lengths. He came back to finish second in a swiftly-run, seven-furlong allowance race at Parx on May 26.

Porter sent Servis a 2-year-old filly by Bernardini named Amethyst and will soon send a 2-year-old Empire Maker colt named Navy Cross.

“I hope he does well, I’m rooting harder for him than any other trainer,” Porter said. “He doesn’t have the [quality] horses, but maybe Spin Zone becomes the miracle none of us expected. If things go well, I’ll give him a shot with some more 2-year-olds next year.”