Handsome Harry Looks Debonair

Published: February 8, 2010 06:57 pm EST

With a name like Handsome Harry, he figured to be photogenic. Winner’s circle pictures seem to be his specialty


Handsome Harry, a four-year-old male pacer, has won 17 of 26 races since the beginning of last season. He notched his second triumph of 2010 on February 6 when he won the $40,000 opening leg of the Aquarius Series by a half-length over Keep It Real in 1:51 at the Meadowlands Racetrack in New Jersey.

The horse was bred by owners Ralph Del Priore, Jr. of Memphis, New York (near Syracuse) and Harry Doyle of Matawan, New Jersey. He was driven in the Aquarius Series by Yannick Gingras for trainer Mark Ford, who also trains Keep It Real.

Last year, Handsome Harry won 15 of 21 starts and earned $303,107. He dominated on the New York Sire Stakes circuit, only to see his lone off-the-board finish of the campaign come in the $175,000 championship final at Vernon Downs. There was a delay that night because of a transformer fire at the track, and it also rained.

“You can’t make it happen the way you want it,” said Patricia Schneider, the wife of Del Priore. “It’s going to fall the way it does. He had a good season; we couldn’t complain.”

Handsome Harry is a son of Dream Away, out of the lightly raced mare Princess Jocelyn. (“She had the heart, but not the body,” Schneider said.) Princess Jocelyn’s first foal, the filly Alwaysgetsherway, was also bred and owned by Del Priore and Doyle, who met through Doyle’s wife, Kathy. Alwaysgetsherway won six times and earned $30,022 in her career.

“She was a very small filly, but she had a lot of desire and heart,” Doyle said. “She always tried and always wanted to win. She was always giving a hundred percent. If he [Handsome Harry] had the same personality, he was going to do well. He was a good sized colt.”

Handsome Harry raced only three times as a two-year-old, finishing third on two occasions. Scott Harris, who got the horse ready for his rookie season, liked the colt from the beginning.

“He told Ralph that he looked like he was going to be very good,” Doyle said. “Ralph is a firm believer in taking it easy and bringing them along slowly. We didn’t want to push the horse too much at two; just let him go on his own and develop. Ralph felt very strongly that we had something good.”

As a three-year-old, Handsome Harry won his seasonal debut at Mohegan Sun at Pocono Downs. From mid-May to mid-September, Handsome Harry won 14 times in 15 starts. His only setback during that span was a second-place finish, by a length, to Hay Goodlooking at Goshen Historic Track on the Fourth of July.

“He’s been a good horse and he’ll continue to be a good horse, we hope,” Del Priore said. “Mark thinks he’s going to be very good as a five-year-old, so we’ll probably continue with him if he stays healthy.”

Handsome Harry is named after Doyle, but the name came as a surprise. Doyle named Princess Jocelyn’s first foal, joking Alwaysgetsherway was named in honour of his wife, Kathy. Princess Jocelyn’s second foal was named by Del Priore and Schneider.

“Ralph and I had each had a horse named after us in the past,” Schneider said. “We found Handsome Harry to be an easy name to say and an easy one to remember.”

Said Doyle with a laugh, “It was a total surprise to me.”

If all goes well for Handsome Harry in the Aquarius Series, the connections might next turn their attention to the George Morton Levy Memorial Pacing Series at Yonkers Raceway.

The three-week Aquarius Series continues with a second leg on Saturday and concludes with an estimated $84,000 final on Saturday, February 20.

This story courtesy of Harness Racing Communications, a division of the U.S. Trotting Association. For more information, visit www.ustrotting.com.

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