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Calabrese Clicks In Amateur Trot

Published: July 26, 2018 7:18 pm ET

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John Calabrese, and his veteran trotter Keenan, had no trouble turning back six others on Thursday in the eighth leg of the current North American Amateur Drivers Association trotting series at Monticello Raceway when they cruised to an easy 2-1/2-length triumph over Connie Keeper and driver Joe Faraldo in a 1:58.1 clocking.

It marked their second victory in the event, after having been victorious in 2:00.3 back on June 21. Third place went to On The Podium, in rein to Joe Lee.

“He was real good today and a pleasure to drive, that is, once he got behind the (starting) gate,” Calabrese related while hanging up the lines upon their return to the paddock. “But during the post parade and scoring down he's a handful.”

When the wings of the mobile gate folded Keenan, from the pole position, shot right to the lead with On The Podium stalking him as the quarter mile timer flashed :28.3. They then raced one-two by the half in :58 but once they straightened up the backside Keenan began to pull away.

“I just clucked to him and he dug in and opened up some daylight and at that point I knew we'd be the winner,” Calabrese said.

They had two lengths on On The Podium at the third stanza in 1:27.3 which was opened to three at the top of the lane. From there Calabrese never took the whip off his shoulder as the $570,000 career-winner just jogged home unchallenged. Connie Keeper rallied to overtake On the Podium and garner the place money.

Calabrese then added that the only time his trotter wears a harness is when he goes to the races.

“I vanned him here from my farm in Chesterfield NJ—a three-hour trip, one way--so a victory is well appreciated,” Calabrese explained. “At home all we do is tow him for exercise and he's a lot more manageable that way. Otherwise he's out in a paddock all day and sometimes overnight. But once he gets behind the gate he's all business and a pleasure to drive.”

The 10-year-old altered son of Credit Winner is owned by Calabrese Farms, LLC and trained by Calabrese. Keenan scored his third seasonal triumph and 40th of his illustrious career. Sent off as second choice in the seven horse field he paid $6.90 for win.


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