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Trainer, 79, Not Slowing Down

Published: April 12, 2016 4:22 pm ET

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“I enjoy it. I enjoy the racing. What am I going to do without it? Sit around? I’m not going to do that. I keep going to the barn every morning and go from there.”

Del Cote participated in his first harness race 63 years ago, but shows no signs of slowing down. Fast horses help.

Cote hopes one of those horses, Cut The Beach, is at the top of his game Thursday when he faces seven rivals in the $100,000 Delaware Standardbred Breeders Fund championship for three-year-old male pacers at Dover Downs. Cut The Beach, who will have George Dennis in the sulky, is undefeated in three races this season.

“He’s been doing good,” said the 79-year-old Cote, a native of Maine who now lives and trains in central New Jersey. “He can go along; he can go with a lot of them. He’s not a top colt, but we’ve had good luck in Delaware. Hopefully I can get a decent trip. He should be right there hopefully.”

Cut The Beach, purchased for $17,000 at the 2014 Standardbred Horse Sale, is a son of stallion Artzina out of the Shotgun Scott mare I Love The Beach. Cote co-owned and trained I Love The Beach, who found success on the Maryland circuit, as well as her full brother Next Flight (a recently retired two-time DSBF champion and earner of $895,406) and her full sister Winbak Patty (who also was a DSBF champion).

“I Love The Beach could be difficult, but she could go,” said Cote, who trains Cut The Beach for owners Henry Faragalli III, Joe Thomson, Trevor Johnson, and Jeffrey Ruben. “We said if that mare has a colt we’re going to try to buy him. (Cut The Beach) is a big, tall colt; a big gaited horse.”

Last year, Cut The Beach was winless in 10 races, but finished second on four occasions -- all in preliminary rounds of the DSBF series for two-year-old male pacers. He finished eighth in the October DSBF final at Harrington Raceway after going off stride and finished seventh in the November DSBF final at Dover Downs after starting from post eight.

“We didn’t have much luck with him,” Cote said about Cut The Beach, a gelding who has earned $44,560 lifetime. “He raced good last year; he just had a couple tough trips. This year he’s gotten better gaited and gets over the ground good. He seems to be getting better all the time.”

Cut The Beach is one of six horses in Cote’s stable. Cote grew up in Maine, where his father raced horses on the fair circuit as a hobby. Cote started out by driving his father’s horses and later worked several years for Frank Stafford in Pinehurst, N.C., before being hired by the late Joe Parisi to work at White Birch Farm in New Jersey. Cote decided to go on his own as a trainer after a few years, but never left White Birch.

Cut The Beach is 6-1 on the morning line for Thursday’s DSBF championship, starting from post five. Dorothy Ann Connor and Christopher Connor’s Hail To The Master, who starts from post eight with driver Art Stafford Jr., is the 5-2 favourite. John’s Dream, who won last November’s DSBF final at Dover Downs, is 4-1 from post three.


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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