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Shelby County Joins Top Trotting Club

Published: January 7, 2012 6:00 pm ET

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Since September, when the best trotters on the Cal Expo grounds met up, it was either Franks Best or Putoneonnetformom that won. But that streak came to an end on Friday, compliments of Shelby County.

Winners Over trotters, racing for a purse of $4,500, were featured on the first 2012 card, in which Shelby County upset. In advance of starting from her assigned Post 4 in the field of six, driver Anthony Succarotte gave himself a better chance than his closing odds of 8-1.

"I thought my chances were good because she always races so tough," stated Succarotte. "After talking to [trainer] Rocky [Stidham], he wanted me to try to get away a little closer."

Leaving nicely and getting the lead as the field entered the first turn, Succarotte went on with his charge to put the 1-2 favourite Franks Best (Lemoyne Svendsen) in the pocket. Was that the plan?

"I was really going back and fourth: should I let him go, should I not let him go. But when I saw Mooney [with Lemoyne Svendsen] kind of grab, I knew I was going to be on the front. At that point I knew I'd either continue to cut it or I would be sitting in the pocket if Putoneonnetformom [and James Kennedy] made a move to the front."

Trotting a slow second eighth of a :29.1 opening quarter, Succarotte guessed right as Putoneonnetformom soon brushed for the lead, which he'd get to the three-eighths mile station. Now despite being in the two-hole to his stablemate, Succarotte had some concerns for his trotter.

"Even though I was in the pocket, I was thinking that I might have had too hard of an opening quarter for her because the track surface was kind of loose out there and that made the track dead. Plus she didn't have a good hold of me and that made me think she might get a little tired."

Getting chased after to the five-eighths mile marker and sitting loose at that point as Putoneonnetformom was trotting a :29 third-quarter, Shelby County was 2-1/4 lengths off her barn-mate to the midway point of the final turn. Was Succarotte worried?

"At that point I wasn't because Franks Best came alongside of me and my mare grabbed on like she wanted to race. I just had to wait for the top of the stretch because she usually gives me everything she has down the stretch."

Now down 2-1/2 lengths at the three-quarter mile pole, timed in 1:27.4, Succarotte was still optimistic despite the fact that Kennedy had a good grip of Putoneonnetformom.

"I figured at that point I'd be first or second."

On the move with 3/16ths of a mile to go, the five-year-old quickly cut into the now dwindling lead of Putoneonnetformom to the seven-eighths mile marker.

"As soon as I pulled alongside of Putoneonnetformom, my horse just dug in and gave me everything she had because she's a racehorse that knows what she's doing."

Taking a slim lead at mid-stretch, the Ben Kennedy bred and owned Shelby County drew clear late to win ($19.60) by 1-3/4 lengths, in a lifetime best 1:57.1, while urged little. Putoneonnetformom completed the Stidham-trained exacta (reversed the week before), and Giles L S Hanover (Steve Wiseman) finished 1-1/2 lengths farther back in third.

"Rocky was ecstatic when I saw him in the winner's circle. He had the horse ready because he's an all-around horseman. She raced great," finished Succarotte, who had a driving triple.

(Cal Expo)

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