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Fannin Hungry For 'Pace' Win


Published: July 15, 2009 9:38 am ET

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Elmer Fannin is founder of Country Life Homes, a successful residential development business along the Delaware shoreline. And while Fannin is proud of what he has built, there is still one thing missing – something to fill the empty space on his office wall.

The resident of Lincoln, Delaware is hoping three-year-old Chasin Racin can do just that after Saturday’s $1 million Meadowlands Pace.

To date, Fannin’s biggest triumph as an owner came last year when Kadealia won the Breeders Crown trophy for three-year-old trotting fillies. But if Chasin Racin were to win the 'Pace,' it would be Fannin’s high point.

“That would certainly be the top opportunity for me, and it would create a nice big office picture for me,” said Fannin, who has been involved in harness racing since 1983. “That’s what I’m looking for, to fill that empty spot on my wall.”

The 64-year-old Fannin founded Country Life Homes 12 years ago with his three sons. They have since taken over the home building aspect of the business, and Elmer handles the development and infrastructure.

His sons also fueled Elmer’s interest in harness racing when they did weekend pony races at family picnics and local fairs. From there, they got involved with claiming horses in high school.

“But once my boys discovered girls, they got away from the horses,” Fannin said with a laugh. “I continued on. I was mainly in the claiming business.”

Through the years, Fannin developed a friendship with trainer George Teague, Jr., a fellow Delaware resident. The two finally decided to partner several years ago and bought eight yearlings at the Standardbred Horse Sale in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. One of those was Chasin Racin, who was recommended to Fannin by son Brent. Chasin Racin was purchased for $25,000.

“My son is always on the computer and checking on the bloodlines,” Elmer said. “He really liked Chasin Racin. He always said ‘That’s a four-star horse dad.’ We looked at him, and George said he’s a pretty big horse, a huge yearling. We went ahead and got him, and he was training with (stablemates) Mr Wiggles and Johnny Z, all the better ones.”

Unfortunately, Chasin Racin was in a group of two-year-olds that barely raced due to sickness. He won two of five starts in 2008.

Fannin, who now owns 22 horses, saw Chasin Racin break through this year by winning the Matts Scooter Series at the Meadowlands in March. He was second to Mr Wiggles in the $500,000 Hoosier Cup at Hoosier Park in May and finished second to Hypnotic Blue Chip in his Meadowlands Pace elimination last weekend.

“It was a good effort,” Teague said after the race Saturday. “Whenever given the chance to race, he’s proven he can go with the best of them. I think he’s done it before. He’s been perfect. He just draws bad [post positions].”

Chasin Racin, who has won six of 16 career starts and earned $257,366, will start the Meadowlands Pace final from Post 8.

“Whenever I put him in a race, I say ‘I wonder if we’ll have a little luck this week.’ He’s always drawn outside but you look at end of the wire, he’s right in the hunt trying to get his nose in there,” Fannin said.

If things go right, Teague likes Chasin Racin’s chances in the Pace.

“I still think we’re as good as anything we’ve seen race (Saturday night) with a good trip,” said Teague, who won the 2007 Meadowlands Pace with Southwind Lynx. “I think he’s a legit horse and belongs in the race. With a trip, I think he can step up and has as good a shot at winning as anyone else.

“He’s got a big motor. He’s a big horse. I’m excited about being in the Pace one more time. Anything can happen.”

Ron Pierce, who drove Chasin Racin on Saturday but also guided favourite Well Said to victory in the other elimination, agreed.

“George Teague is known for getting them up on their toes,” Pierce said.

And maybe even up on Fannin’s office wall.

(With files from the Meadowlands)

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