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HRN Original Blog:
Racing At The Jersey Shore

Meet Pinelands Pete and Linda

Everyday stories about the racetrack are filled with the names of famous trainers like Todd Pletcher, Bob Baffert, and Graham Motion as they compete to win races in the Triple Crown or the Breeders’ Cup.  But for every superstar trainer there are many others who devote their lives to racing because they love the horses.  Their tireless work and struggles go unnoticed to the public.  Here is a look at one race day for one of those trainers and her star horse.
 
It was a cool and cloudy Sunday at the Jersey Shore racetrack, which was a break for Pinelands Pete, who was running in the ninth race, an optional claiming second level allowance race for New Jersey breds.  Pete’s owner and trainer, Linda Simon said, “That Pete doesn’t do well in the heat of Jersey summers because he doesn’t sweat enough.”
 
 
 
 
 
Pete looked really sharp, on his toes, as he walked through the tunnel to the saddling area.  However Simon was a bit worried because, “He seemed a bit too keyed up on the walk over and when he’s like that he might have trouble at the starting gate.”
 
In the walking ring Simon gave Jockey CC “Chuck” Lopez a leg up.  Lopez had ridden Pete to victory last November at Monmouth and asked Simon if he could ride him in this race. Small trainers don’t often get big name riders like Lopez on their horses. So, for Simon to get Lopez, who is know for his expertise on front running speed horses like Pete, this was a rare opportunity and a tremendous boost to his chances in this very difficult race.  Simon said, “The race came up really tough, with a lot of very good horses.” In fact the full field of twelve runners had earnings ranging from $90,500 to 349,199.
 
Nearing post time, Pinelands Pete was being ignored by the betting public at 17-1.  This kind of oversight tends to happen to the less known trainers. To avoid overheating Pete, Lopez just walked him to the starting gate where he loaded smoothly. Pete broke sharply from the gate, quickly got to the lead, and put away a few challenges.  The official chart of the race from the Daily Racing Form said, “PINELANDS PETE dueled two wide, shook clear, dug in gamely and was caught nearing the finish.” At the finish Pete had been beaten at the wire by a neck.  After the race rider Lopez was excited, “He ran so hard I hated to see him get beat.”
 
Pete’s second place finish, which earned Simon $10,400, was generating the most excitement around the television where owners and trainers congregate to watch the race replay. There were congratulations for Simon from fellow trainers, outriders, valets, and Pete’s fan club of 7 or 8, who were there to watch the race.  Simon congratulated winning trainer Mario Serey, whose horse had 12 career wins and $349,000 in earnings going into the race.  Serey told Simon, “Your horse ran great!”
 
Let’s follow Linda and Pete throughout the summer. We’ll spend a morning with them on the backside and chronicle any further races at the Jersey Shore.
 
ABC’s of the Monmouth Hall of Champions -Today Carry Back: Florida-bred Carry Back won the Kentucky Derby and the Preakness in 1961.  He had 61 career starts with 21-11-11 and earnings of $1,241,165.  Carry Back ran 4 times at Monmouth with one victory in the 1962 Monmouth Handicap defeating Kelso.  He entered the Racing Hall of Fame in 1975.  Carry Back is ranked 48 in the Horse Racing Nation Top 250 of all-time with an 8.74/10 rating.
 

 

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Older Comments about Meet Pinelands Pete and Linda...

Nice story. Monmouth Park is amazing, I found it to be very fan friendly!
There's no place on earth like Monmouth Park.
The Jersey Shore has some great racing in a beautiful and relaxing setting!
Caught nearing the finish ... too bad, when I began reading, I was expecting a win ;-) Love the ABC's, Matt. It's amazing how many great horses have run at Monmouth Park!

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Meet Matt Shifman

In the 70’s I was another one of those kids that went to the track with their fathers, and I immediately became enthralled with the excitement and challenges of handicapping.  And then the charisma and dominance of Secretariat gave me a hero to follow. To this day, I still get emotional when I hear Chic Anderson’s call of the 1973 Belmont, “Secretariat is moving like a tremendous machine”.

 
There have been many great horses run at the shore. In 1976 I watched Majestic Light win the Monmouth Invitational, now the Haskell, in track record time, defeating Honest Pleasure, the big favorite who was in from New York.  This was one of my first big wins at the track.
 
In the 80’s, as a disciple of Andy Beyer, I made my own speed figures because they were not available to the public. Needless to say I visited Monmouth frequently to test out the “figs”.
 
The 90’s allowed me to learn about the backstretch as a part owner of a few claimers that were stabled at Philadelphia Park.  Not a typical owner, I mucked stalls, cooled out the horses, and watched morning works.  Also, I met my wife and discovered that her grandfather bred, owned, and raced thoroughbreds on the West Virginia, Maryland circuit.  Today our office is decorated with winner’s circle pictures and a vast collection of Kentucky Derby glasses.
 
Today’s electronic age makes it so easy to gather information about racing.  I hope you use this blog to learn about Racing at the Jersey Shore.