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Remmen On 1:48.2 Qualifier

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Published: June 8, 2010 7:22 am ET

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Shark Gesture opened eyes June 4 when he won a qualifier at the Meadowlands Racetrack in 1:48.2 – the fastest qualifier in harness racing history. The next day, he was ready for more work.

“He was looking out (of his stall) and wanting to jog again on Saturday,” trainer Larry Remmen said. “He was wondering why he wasn’t going outside. We took him out. He’s like an old style worker; he wants to work every day. He’s not just going through the motions. He’s an amazing animal to be around.”

The qualifier, with regular driver George Brennan at the lines, was a tune up for Shark Gesture’s trip to Tioga Downs for Sunday’s $200,000 Bettors Delight for older pacers. Shark Gesture’s most recent race was a half-length win over Won The West and Lisagain in the $200,000 Graduate at the Meadowlands on May 15.

Shark Gesture has won two of three starts this season, earning $133,000 for owners Norman Smiley, Gerald Smiley and TLP Stable. The seven-year-old has won 22 of 69 lifetime races and earned $2.1 million. He was unraced from July 2007 to December 2008 because of an abbreviated stud career.

“I know people think (the qualifier) was an extraordinary mile, people go around the Meadowlands so fast these days it’s unbelievable,” Remmen said. “He was well in hand; George never pulled the earplugs or anything. We’re very excited and looking forward to this weekend. He had the time off, and he thrives on work. We wanted him to go racehorse time, but went with a qualifier because you can be comfortable and go your own lick. Hopefully we’ll get a decent draw (for Sunday) and we’ll go from there.”

Sunday will mark Shark Gesture’s first trip around a five-eighths of a mile oval since November 2006. He won an elimination race for the Progress Pace at Dover Downs and was fifth in the $348,900 final.

“I don’t see why it (the track size) would be a problem,” Remmen said. “He raced on a smaller track when he was younger.

“Maybe I’ll be saying something different on Monday,” he added, laughing, “but I don’t foresee a problem. We should be OK.”

In 2006, Shark Gesture famously won the $694,485 Breeders Crown for three-year-old colt pacers at Woodbine after being scraped up as the result of an accident at the finish of his elimination race the previous week. His other career wins include the 2009 William R. Haughton Memorial, 2009 Canadian Pacing Derby, and back-to-back Graduate titles.

Three weeks ago, he won his second Graduate by fending off challengers to his left (Won The West) and right (Lisagain).

“From the top of the lane, he fought pressure off from both sides,” Brennan said. “That’s why he’s one of the toughest horses I’ve ever raced. He’s been doing that his entire career. He loves to race, he loves to fight horses, he loves to win. And that’s what makes him a great horse.”

Remmen and his brother Ray trained Beach Towel, the 1990 Horse of the Year, but Shark Gesture gets the nod as the stable’s brightest star.

“He’s a tough son of a gun,” Remmen said. “He’s by far the best horse we’ve ever trained. We’ve never had an animal like him. We’ve had some nice horses; Beach Towel was a great horse. This horse is just a phenomenal horse.”


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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