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Looking To ‘Rip’ An Upset

Published: July 20, 2016 5:44 pm ET

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Brian Gillespie was not actively participating in harness racing when his grandfather, Ed Ryan, passed away in 2012. But after attending a memorial service for Ryan, whose career in harness racing as an owner of The Meadows and amateur driver resulted in enshrinement in the sport’s Hall of Fame, Gillespie decided to get involved.

The memorial service was conducted in the winner’s circle at The Meadows. Gillespie has since visited that spot numerous times as a racehorse owner. Now he dreams of standing there following The Meadows’ premier event, the 50th edition of the Delvin Miller Adios Pace for the Orchids.

Gillespie and trainer Mike Palone will send Rip This Joint to Saturday’s Adios eliminations. The gelding drew into the second of two $25,000 eliminations and will start from Post 6 in a six-horse field. Meadows legend Dave Palone, who has won more races than any driver in harness racing history, will be in the sulky.

“This is the first time we’ve ever had a horse in the Adios,” said Gillespie, a 43-year-old resident of the Pittsburgh suburb of Upper St. Clair who races under the name ‘Lone Wolf Stable.’ “It’s pretty big. I used to go to the Adios as a kid and sit over on the hillside for years and years. I remember some great races back in the day. It’s a fun event and to have a horse in the race just adds to the excitement.”

Gillespie is in the residential home construction business, as was his grandfather Ed – the founder of Ryan Homes. Gillespie had no expectations when he decided to buy racehorses, other than to have a good time. Among his other successful horses is Half Past Seven, who was the Meadows Standardbred Owners Association’s two-year-old filly pacer of the year in 2014.

“When my grandfather passed away, they did an event at The Meadows for him, a little memorial in the winner’s circle, and being down there brought back a lot of good memories,” Gillespie said. “I decided to buy a couple horses and have some fun with it. And we’ve had a lot of fun over the last couple years. We’ve had some pretty good horses.

“We’ve been very fortunate.”

The Adios, for three-year-old pacers, attracted five participants from last weekend’s Meadowlands Pace, with runner-up Racing Hill and third-place Check Six joined by fifth-place Lyons Snyder in the first elimination, and fourth-place Manhattan Beach and 10th-place Another Daily Copy in the second division.

The top four finishers from both eliminations plus the fifth-place finisher with the highest lifetime purse earnings will advance to the $400,000 Adios final on July 30.

“(Rip This Joint) is not going to be the favourite, but you never know how things will shake out during a race,” Gillespie said. “It’s going to be fun. We live 20 minutes from the track and we’ll have a bunch of people there.”

A son of Western Terror out of the stakes-winning mare Cheryl Hanover, Rip This Joint was purchased for $13,000 under the name Rose Run Reily at the 2014 Lexington Selected Sale. He was renamed by Gillespie, a Rolling Stones aficionado, after the group’s second song on the ‘Exile on Main Street’ album. Gillespie often renames horses after songs by the band.

“I’m a huge Rolling Stones fan,” Gillespie said. “They’ve got so many songs that could be great horse names; I figured we’d start naming some of the ones we buy. I just thought it would be fun. Some of my favourites were already used, but Rip This Joint was available and I thought it sounded pretty cool. And it’s a fantastic song.”

Gillespie was happy to come away with Rip This Joint, especially since it seemed the hand of fate intervened.

“It was kind of a fluke that we got him,” Gillespie said. “It was pouring down rain and a lot of people had already cleared out. Mike Palone was leaving the sale and as he was walking out he saw this horse walking into the ring. He decided to stick around; the horse looked so good he needed to bid on him.

“We got him for less than we ever expected, because he looked so good. We got him just by chance. I credit it to luck and to Mike.”

Last year, Rip This Joint won two of 11 starts and earned $33,080. He had two wins and a second-place finish in his first three outings – all conditioned races – before heading on to the Pennsylvania Sire Stakes circuit.

“We liked the horse early on, and we probably liked him too much,” Gillespie said. “In his third start he paced in (1:) 53.4 and we thought we had a sire stakes horse. He just got too tired last year chasing those horses. Our gut feeling was that we probably over-classified him and he wore down as the year went on.”

This year, Rip This Joint has won five of 11 races and earned $53,112. He has competed mostly in the Pennsylvania Stallion Series and in conditioned races. He won in a career-best 1:51.2 on June 4 at The Meadows and heads to the Adios eliminations off a 1:52.1 victory on July 9 at The Meadows.

“We brought him back slowly and he’s done very well in the Stallion Series, just gotten sharper and sharper every week,” Gillespie said. “He’s really looked sharp this year. By putting him in where he could compete every week he’s kind of kept his edge.

“We thought that things were kind of lining up that if we were going to take a chance at the Adios with a horse, why not start with him. Hopefully he makes it to the final. We have to get past this Saturday and then hope for the best.”

The fields for the Adios eliminations appear below.

Race 8
(Post – Horse – Listed Driver – Trainer – Morning Line Odds)
1 – Racing Hill – Brett Miller – Tony Alagna – 8-5
2 – Western Fame – David Miller – Jimmy Takter – 10-1
3 – More Dragon – Yannick Gingras – Ron Burke – 12-1
4 – Stolen Glimpse – Yannick Gingras – Ron Burke – 5-1
5 – Lyons Snyder – David Miller – Mark Silva – 3-1
6 – Check Six – Yannick Gingras – Ron Burke – 5-2

Race 9
(Post – Horse – Listed Driver – Trainer – Morning Line Odds)
1 – Manhattan Beach – Yannick Gingras – Ron Burke – 2-1
2 – Big Top Hanover – Yannick Gingras – Ron Burke – 4-1
3 – Fernando Hanover – Yannick Gingras – Ron Burke – 5-1
4 – Another Daily Copy – Tony Hall – Nicholas Devita – 8-1
5 – American Passport – Scott Zeron – Tony Alagna – 7-2
6 – Rip This Joint – Dave Palone – Mike Palone – 10-1


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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