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Corky Baran Rallies From Last To First


Published: January 30, 2010 10:04 pm ET

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After missing by a nose in last week’s Open Pace at the Meadowlands Racetrack, Corky Baran unleashed a spiffy :26-second final frame to seal the deal in his Invitational assignment tonight and earn a new speed badge of 1:50.4 in the process.

Longshot Corky Baran and Daniel Dube got away last from Post 5 in the eight-horse field while Winbak Speed (Ron Pierce) fired to the lead from Post 4.

After a :27 opening quarter, heavy 3-5 favourite Jeremys Successor (Tyler Buter) made a backstretch brush from fourth and reached the half in :55.3 with Michaels Marvel (George Brennan), Beau Rivage N (Tim Tetrick) and Corky Baran following his cover.

Jeremys Successor cleared the top and led to three-quarters in 1:23.3 before Winbak Speed pulled the pocket and applied pressure heading down the stretch. Jeremys Successor pressed on, but couldn’t hold off Corky Baran, who came charging hard on the outside full of late pace to pull off a 16-1 surprise.

The seven-year-old son of Ramaran-Coinkydink prevailed by half a length over Jeremys Successor while Winbak Speed finished two and three-quarter lengths back in third.

Corky Baran now sports a record reading 2-2-1 in five starts this year with $44,000 banked for trainer Jean Drolet and owner Stephen Schneider of Roslyn Heights, New York. The gelding’s 16th career win pushed his overall bankroll to $280,101.

Schneider claimed Corky Baran for $25,000 at the end of the Meadowlands' 2009 harness meet and he has since earned $100,000 while advancing to the top of the pacing ranks.

Schneider knows first-hand what it is like to overcome significant odds. Ten years ago, he underwent two organ transplants.

"I have been a diabetic for over 30 years," said the 68-year-old certified public accountant/attorney of Roslyn Heights, New York. "In 2000, I had pancreas and kidney transplants. My wife, Rhoda, gave me her kidney and the pancreas was from an anonymous donor."

One month after receiving his new kidney, Schneider traveled to Canada to watch his three-year-old filly Shifty B compete in the 2000 Breeders Crown Championships at Mohawk. Though she won her elimination race, Shifty B finished seventh in the Breeders Crown Final. (She was officially placed eighth after interfering with another filly). The most successful horse Schneider has raced in his 40 years as an owner, Shifty B earned $350,000 before her untimely death later that year.

Corky Baran now tops the handful of horses Schneider owns with his longtime partner, Jean Drolet, who is off to a solid start this season at the Meadowlands. In addition to Corky Baran, Drolet also sent out Line Of Fire to victory in the $25,000 eighth race for condition-class pacers on Saturday night. Through January 30, Drolet's stable was winning at a 31 percent clip with five wins, four seconds and one third in 16 starts.

"We've been together through thick and thin - well, mostly thin," Schneider laughed.

To view Saturday’s results, click here.

(With files from Meadowlands Racetrack)

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