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“They Call Him The ‘One-Tooth Wonder’”

Published: March 11, 2011 12:55 pm ET

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Panesthetic raced under the radar as a sophomore, but this year, that could change.

The four-year-old son of The Panderosa will step into the spotlight in the $25,000 second leg of the Four Leaf Clover Series Saturday night at the Meadowlands Racetrack. Trained by Scott Blackler, Panesthetic will start from Post 7 (program number five) in the tenth race stakes feature. Andy Miller has the driving assignment.

Panesthetic won eight races and hit the board in 12 of 15 starts as a three-year-old. Ineligible to the major stakes events in his division, Panesthetic built his bankroll in the Pennsylvania Sire Stakes program. He set a track record of 1:50.1 on July 17, 2010 at The Meadows, a milestone he shares with Aracache Hanover. However, he quietly took his mark at the Meadowlands.

“Nobody remembers when Panesthetic took his mark of 1:48.2 because that was on Meadowlands Pace [elimination] night last year,” Blackler said. “George Brennan drove him. He had won his previous start there in 1:49.4.

“We didn’t stake him to anything last year, so he was limited in what he could do, but he showed some talent,” he continued. “I expect big things from him this year.”

Panesthetic made his 2011 debut in the first leg of the Four Leaf Clover. He finished sixth, three lengths behind the winner, Get It Now.

“Last week, he tripped out and didn’t gain much in the stretch,” Blackler said. “We had missed a qualifier with him due to the weather. That was a good tightener for him, so this week you’re going to see a different horse. [Saturday’s race] is tough. The Burke horses all drew inside, and that was a strange break by Art Professor in the first leg.”

Panesthetic was an underdog from the start. His owners gave up on him after his two-year-old campaign.

“He was a $1,500 yearling, I guess because he was severely under developed,” Blackler said. “His withers were lower than his rear end and his knees weren’t filled in. The current owners [Richard Shaw, Arlene Shaw and Alice Bonenfant] bought him for $24,000 at Harrisburg two years ago.”

And then there is his nickname.

“They call him the ‘One-Tooth Wonder,’” Blackler explained. “He only has one front tooth [an incisor]. It was just something he was born with, a congenital dental malformation. It’s very odd. It doesn’t really affect his eating, but he can’t really graze that well. We just have to be careful and not lose it. Hopefully he won’t get it caught on something and pull it out. We always have to stay on top of it and file it down. The owners were going to give him a gold cap on it if he makes big money.”

Blackler will also send out Goose Creek in the ninth race for $20,000-$25,000 claimers on Saturday night. Though he has more than $200,000 in his coffers, the seven-year-old Camluck gelding went 0 for 22 last season.

“Goose Creek is a funny horse,” Blackler said. “They gave quite a bit of money for him a few years ago. He’s had some issues and gets a little bumpy gaited on the half-mile track. I just wanted to get him tight enough to try the Meadowlands. I think he fits the mile track because he likes to get covered up and kick home pretty good. He raced well last week. He’s owned by Gary Paganelli, Lightning 5 Racing Stable and Leon Schickman.”

A Maine native, 26-year-old Blackler relocated his stable to the Tri-State Area three years ago. He now has two dozen horses stabled at Mark Ford’s training centre in Middletown, New York.

“I came down here with (Yonkers leading driver) Jason Bartlett,” he explained. “When I was in Maine, I trained 10 horses of my own, and I worked for Jason and his grandfather.”

The move has paid off for Blackler. He hit career highs in wins (83) and earnings ($1.3 million) in 2010.

“I was just trying to further my career, make more money, achieve some goals I set for myself, and prove some people wrong I guess,” he said. “I’ve concentrated on Yonkers. I’m in the top 10 there now and I turned some heads.

“I’m hoping to race a few more at the Meadowlands,” he continued. “It’s like the NBA and everywhere else is college ball. It’s the professional league of harness racing. The sport needs that track because the best of the best go there. When you make it to the winner’s circle there, you know you’ve made it.”


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