U.S. Trotting Association President Phil Langley has
announced the following USTA President's Awards for
2011, to be given for outstanding contributions to
the sport of harness racing.
They will be presented to:
VIP Stable and its managing
director, Ed O'Connor, have, since 1999,
moved many harness racing fans from the grandstand
to the backstretch. VIP Stable, which began with one
horse -- Aberdasher -- and four investors, has grown
into a major force among racing partnerships. It has
grown to the point where it operates on all the
major harness racing circuits, and since Jan. 1,
2000 has won nearly $8 million in purses for its
partners. The stable's business plan and philosophy
have been built on three principles: Excellence in
the pursuit of winning, honesty in dealing with the
stable's partners and the trainers they employ, and
a positive attitude bolstered by respect for those
who are part of VIP Stable.
The award presentations will be made on Monday,
March 14, at a luncheon during the U.S. Trotting
Association Board of Directors annual meeting in
Click the image to listen to Tom Janes interview on the Meadowlands Racing Insider
The Harness Edge article on VIP Internet Stable
(Sept 2009 issue)
Camp and Andy Miller, what an effort here. Summer Camp, a giant mile" exclaimed Meadowlands track announcer Ken Warkentin during
a May non-winners of two conditioned race last spring.
While only a lower conditioned race, Summer Camp was able to
overcome a difficult trip to hold off a late closing Valentino
in 1:51:3. Just two months later, Valentino went go on to
finish third in the Meadowlands Pace final, so it became clear
that Summer Camp was sitting on a tremendous amount of raw
Co-owned by Larry Baron and the VIP Stable, Summer Camp reached the winners circle nine
times in 23 starts in 2010, earning over $80,000. The road to
success for Summer Camp and those closest to him has often been
a bumpy one however, featuring a number of bobbles and breaks en
route to his late sophomore season success.
Having made breaks in 5 starts earlier this year, Summer Camp
also made a break at the start of the opening leg of the Escort
series at the Meadowlands on October 30. After spotting the
field considerable ground, Summer Camp would gather himself
together to fly late and just miss by a nose. Now looking much
better gaited on the track, Summer Camp's trainer Josh Green
describes the horse as coming into own. "I think a lot of it is
that he has matured. As a lot of horses go from their
three-year-old year to their four-year-old season they tend to
get stronger, they can mature out of a lot of things. One of
those things includes being rough; I think it's been more of
that than anything we've done."
Since the opening leg of the Escort series, Summer Camp is a
perfect four for four. The streak includes capturing the Escort
final at the Meadowlands in 1:49:3 on a cold November night
where he endured heavy front end pressure throughout, cut
fractions of :54:1, 1:22 flat, and still had more than enough
left in the tank to come home in :27:3.
While Green has been very pleased with the horse's progress
since entering his barn the end of October, he credits the
trainer who bought, broke and previously trained Summer Camp.
Says Green, "John (Butenschoen) had him before I did. He
(Summer Camp) actually had won in his start right before I got
him. Even when I got him I think he was already heading in that
direction; we just continued on from John's work with him."
By virtue of his 1:49:3 Escort series win when last seen at the
Meadowlands and subsequent pair of 1:51 and change miles at
Dover against older conditioned horses, Summer Camp has stamped
himself as one of the favorites for the Clyde Hirt series
beginning this Friday night at the Meadowlands.
On Friday, not only does Summer Camp land the farthest outside
post position, but his division of the Hirt will also include a
very serious threat from the Ron Burke trainee, Meirs Hanover.
Although Summer Camp got the better of Meirs Hanover in the
Escort final, that one is exiting a race at Harrah's Chester in
which he was only a neck away from dethroning the enigmatic and
undefeated 20 for 20 St. Elmo Hero.
When asked if he felt Summer Camp would make a good account for
himself in the upcoming series, Green responded "I think so. He
has very high speed and he is able to carry his speed. Horses
that can do that tend to be successful." Green continued,
in a couple different series and they get tougher as they go, so
we'll just take it week by week at a time. We'll go
through the series and then I think that he'll be a good fit at
Dover or elsewhere in the Winners-Over, Open type ranks if he
continues to progress."
Wherever Summer Camp's success takes him in the future, the
ride to get there should at least be a smooth one.
River Shark wins $80,000 Aquarius Final
River Shark drafted behind the dueling
leaders and stormed home to win the $80,000 Aquarius Final
for 4-year-old open pacers. River Shark and driver Daniel
Dube cleared the lead at the quarter-pole but quickly
relinquished it to Keep It Real, who rushed up to command
top before the half. Dube and River Shark exited the pylons
to follow Go Go Solano as he dueled with Keep It Real around
the final turn. River Shark seized open road in the stretch
and surged past the tiring leaders to stop the pocket-sitter
Handsome Harry by a half-length in 1:50.3. Keep It Real held
on to finish third, just a length behind them. River
"It worked out well," Dube said. "We
got a two-hole trip and when another one made a break [Drop
Red, who was third-over behind Go Go Solano] I could get
out. I didn't want to take a chance and get locked in with
him and he responded well."
River Shark is now two-for-two this
season. He swept the Robert J. Suslow Series and won an
elimination race for the Berry's Creek during his 3-year-old
campaign last year at the Meadowlands. He ended his
sophomore season with a slate of six wins, five seconds and
four thirds and $326,078 in earnings.
(Courtesy Meadowlands Racetrack & Lisa
the road with VIP
VIP's Tom Janes blogs
from the Kentucky Yearling Sale
Sunday Oct 11th - It wa
s nice to end the weekend by
getting a full brother to Captain Cambest on Sunday (video
clip here)......The number of Kentucky sired horses
is very limited, so he'll have a shot at racing for some good
money in the years to come. Hopefully we'll see him right back
here in Lexington for a few starts at The Red
this has been an incredible few days for the stable. The
quality of the yearlings that we purchased this week will be
hard to match. If you've ever thought about buying one, this is
certainly the year to consider doing so....
also think about making a trip out
to this sale one year.
Lexington is a very nice town with a lot of activities.......How
about going to the Red Mile during the day, a nice restaurant
for dinner and then over to the Lexington Select Sale at night.
How's that for day.......There's also plenty of places to shop
and eat (as downtown Lexington is very nice). You might even
want to go over to Keeneland one afternoon to watch those other
horses (you know, the ones they sit on) race.........
to head on back home.........
Saturday Oct 10th - Aaron and
Dave won't let me leave until we take a piece of Delightful
Life...#493..........I keep getting messages concerning JJ
Thomas N, Armbro Cayenne and Fox Valley Tribal winning.....big
night for the stable......3 winners....Aaron said you'll have 4
winners when you buy in on this colt.....maybe there's a little
kharma going on here with this colt....Okay, we'll take a
piece.....Now let's go have a beer.....
Friday Oct 9th - We took it very easy today to rest up from
a long day Thursday. At the sale I took a video tour so
all the VIP'ers can get a sense of what it's like -
take a look.
With our purchase of JOACHIM tonight, it was nice to bring the
River Shark connections together in getting a super looking
colt. Aaron Waxman came down from Canada with this one horse in
mind and we got him....Dave Sabatelli was thrilled that we got
him......Three days and 3 great looking yearlings.........What a
Thursday Oct 8th - A long drive today, but worth it!
This is a great sale every year and have enjoyed coming back
each year since we were here to see Captain Cambest finish a
good 4th in the Tattersalls at The red Mile a few years ago.
I got a look at MANGUS DEO and just loved him! I was in
the arena when we bought SILENT PARTNER (video),
and he is also a striking horse! Trainer Josh Green is
absolutely thrilled to have them both. Boy was I tired
after driving all day and walking around the sale all night...
Field Set For Confederation Cup
Shark made his connections proud as he earned back his
supplemental fee for the Confederation Cup with his victory
in the second $50,000 elimination heat on Sunday afternoon
at Flamboro Downs.
River Shark left sharply from Post 4 with Luc Ouellette
in the bike, and settled on top at the :25.4 first-quarter
pole with Passmaster Hanover (Jody Jamieson) tucking into
the two-hole. After reaching the half in :55.3, River Shark
faced a challenge from the pocket-sitter and those two
battled past three-quarters in 1:22.2. In the stretch, River
Shark forged ahead and tripped the timer in 1:52.3.
Passmaster Hanover finished a length back in second and
Stonebridge Master (Doug McNair) was third. Lyons Horace
(Randy Waples) and Chief Of The Beach (Sylvain Filion)
finished fourth and fifth.
"He handled the turns good. He's a good front-runner,"
said Ouellette, who also noted that, "The horse who finished
second worked just as hard as my horse."
Tracy Brainard trains the Four Starzzz Shark-Riverview
Diamond gelding for owners El Lobo LLC of Merrick, New York,
Aaron Waxman of Brantford, Ont., and Vip Internet Stable LLC
of Piscataway, New Jersey. The win was River Shark's sixth
of the year in 18 starts and eighth lifetime lifting his
earnings to $176,629.
"I'm happy to win. It was a tough elim, but that will
tighten him up for the final anyway," commented Waxman.
"He was an over-achiever early in the year and he took a
couple steps back the last couple of months, but he's
rounding back into form and I think he'll be an
over-achiever the rest of the year."
"I'd love to win the Confederation Cup," added Waxman.
"It would be as good as winning the Jug or the Stanley Cup
or the Hambo."
The top four finishers from each elim, plus one
fifth-place finisher drawn by lot, will return later in the
day to contest the $560,000 final. During the post draw,
Fast Pay was the fifth-place finisher selected to compete in
Here is a look at the field for the $560,000
Confederation Cup in post position order:
1. If I Can Dream
2. Stonebridge Master
3. Bay Of Sharks
4. Fast Pay
5. River Shark
6. Nob Hill High - driver change to Mark MacDonald
7. Passmaster Hanover
8. Shipps Xpectancy
9. Lyons Horace
If I Can Dream Wins Confederaton Cup XXIII
I Can Dream pulled off a dreamy victory in the 33rd edition
of the $560,000 Confederation Cup for three-year-old pacers
at Flamboro Downs on Sunday afternoon.
With luck on his side,
If I Can Dream drew the rail heading into the final
after finishing second to Bay Of Sharks in the first of two
elimination heats held earlier in the day. While elim
winner, River Shark (Luc Ouellette), fired off the gate from
Post 5 in the rich final, Jim Morrill, Jr. sent If I Can
Dream to the lead from third before the :26.4 first quarter.
From there, the Western Hanover-Arterra colt carved out
middle splits of :56 and 1:24 and turned back a challenge
from Lyons Horace (Randy Waples) en route to victory 1:52.1
by two and a quarter lengths.
River Shark finished second and Bay Of Sharks (Mario
Baillargeon) rolled three-wide at three-quarters to come on
O'Connor goes to the matinee races at the Historic Pinehurst
Racetrack to see SO BE IT and JOE THE PLUMBER baby race and
brings the video camera
It all started with four-win Pukekohe pacer Mr Chin in
April 2007. Now one of the world's largest ownership
stables is keen to have more New Zealand horses in its
New Jersey VIP Stable. VIP Stable is based in Piscataway
New Jersey. It has more than 50 standardbreds (including
a handful from New Zealand) and a dozen of North
America's best trainers working under its huge umbrella.
"We'll take a horse from the moon if he's good enough
but since we started taking in New Zealand horses a
couple of years ago we have become more interested in
them. They are a tough breed and we love the fact that
they are lightly raced," Tom Janes said.
co-manager of VIP Stable with founder Ed O'Connor. Mark
Kesmodel, George Teague, John Butenschoen, Karen
Williams, Julie Miller, Greg Trotto, Tom Fanning, Josh
Green, Joe DeCarlo, Brian Allen, and Steve Walters are
just some of the trainers who work for VIP.
"We have been putting harness racing fans in the
winner's circle for 10 years now. In that time we have
2645 winners and won just over $4m in stakes. One of our
better Kiwi imports has been Line Of Fire, who won at
the Meadowlands in 1:51 last Saturday," Janes said.
Line Of Fire, a 5-year-old son of In The
Pocket, had one win in New Zealand for Cran
Dalgety before being exported to VIP Stable on September
26 2007. Like Mr Chin, Line Of Fire's sale was initiated
by Auckland standardbred agent, Brian Meale.
"Line Of Fire and a couple of our other Kiwi horses
Nicky Hanover and JJ Thomas N got sick last year and
were out of action for a couple of months with a viral
infection. He won real well for Mark Kesmodel and George
Brennan last Saturday. I think he can go well again this
week," Janes said.
Line of Fire will line up in a $20,000 elimination
race at the Meadowlands on Friday and if he qualifies
for the $110,000 final he will be back at the same venue
again on January 24. To date Line Of Fire has had
won eight of his 35 starts and $82,440. "He's on a
par or just slightly inferior to our best horses - Fox
Valley Tribal and Kings Road who have won $779,707 and
$147,733 respectively," Janes said.
Mr Chin, who is now named Mr Chin N in the United
States, won $243,749 before being claimed away from the
VIP Stable. Other Kiwis Nicky Hanover and JJ Thomas N
have won $82,068 and $21,775 respectively.
"We love the New Zealand breed. However when they get
here it usually takes them five to six weeks to get
acclimated. From what we have seen so far they are tough
and come to us with not many races under their belts,"
VIP Stable has made a flying start to 2009 with six
winners already. They will be looking to emulate their
feat of 2007 when they recorded their best year with 145
winners netting just over $1.5m in stakes.
Duane RANGER (editor)
For Immediate Release - 10/6/08
VIP Stable reaches Win milestone
Internet Stable, LLC collects win number 400 at Harrah’s Chester
Founder and Managing Partner, Ed O’Connor, was excited about
today's victory by Armbro Acquire, saying “400 is a lot of wins!
When I started VIP with just a part of one horse and a few
partners, I would never have dreamed that we could reach this
level of success. I give credit to our trainers for all
their hard work, and to our partners for their ongoing
confidence in me and my partner Tom.”
who joined Ed in managing VIP in 2005, was on the road back from
the Lexington Select Yearling Sale when the milestone victory
happened. Tom was equally thrilled, commenting “400 is
certainly an exciting milestone. I can't wait to see what the
future has in store for us, especially in light of some of the
recent additions to our stable”.
founding in 1999, VIP Stable has been one of the most successful
and respected racing syndicates in the United States.
VIP has been the leading racing Syndicate in the U.S. over the
past several years, holding the U.S. record for wins and purses
earned by a Public Racing Syndicate set in 2007.
NO BOOST NEEDED FOR CAYENNE
TURBO IN HIRAM WOODRUFF Cayenne Turbo coasted wire-to-wire
to win the $18,000 second leg of the Hiram Woodruff Wednesday
night at the Meadowlands.
With Andy Miller in the bike, Cayenne Turbo held off Macho Lindy
to win the night’s seventh race in 1:52.1. Snazzy Hot Rod made
a late rally down the stretch to finish third. Cayenne Turbo
Cayenne Turbo has won three out of nine starts for 2008.
Trained by Julie Miller, Cayenne Turbo has increased his
earnings to more than $130,000. Eugene W. Schick of Elgin,
Illinois, Larry Baron of Horsham, Pennsylvania, and VIP Internet
Stable LLC of Piscataway, New Jersey own the 4-year-old bay
The Hiram Woodruff concludes with a $45,000 final on May 17.
Quick Arrow N Refuses to Lose Final
Saturday, October 06, 2007 - by Kyle Fitzgerald, for Colonial
October 6, 2007
Internet Stable's Quick Arrow N continued his stellar
4-year-year-old season with a gritty head victory in the $15,900
Virginia is for Horse Lovers late closing series final Saturday
night at Colonial Downs.
Quick Arrow N ran his win streak to three and posted his sixth
win from just nine starts this season by out gaming Kelly's Spur
at the end of a mile in 1:51.
Quick Arrow N was fairly quick off the gate but was out sprinted
for the early lead by Broule Hanover and Notorious Bigslick.
Broule Hanover got the opening quarter in a brisk 26.4, but
driver Jonathan Roberts was intent upon the lead, sending Quick
Arrow N to the front right before the field hit Colonial's lone
turn, passing Broule Hanover and Notorious Bigslick en route to
a half in 54.2.
Despite winning the early battle, Quick Arrow N got no breathers
on the turn as Kelly's Spur moved first-over to challenge his
supremacy at the three-eighths pole. Kelly's Spur got a nose in
front and emerged at the top of the lane with a narrow advantage
after three-quarters in 1:22.1.
Kelly's Spur had another gear for the 1300-foot stretch drive
but Quick Arrow N refused to give up while racing on the inside,
scratching out a quarter-length advantage at the eighth pole.
Kelly's Spur slowly cut into the margin with every stride but
Quick Arrow N simply would not let him by, holding off his
stubborn foe by a head in the end.
Winterwood Jet closed well to get third, 3¾ lengths behind the
Quick Arrow N has now won five of seven starts since joining
Greg Trotto's barn after beginning his career in New Zealand.
The 4-year-old gelding demolished the lifetime mark of 1:52.3 he
set two weeks ago in the second leg of the Virginia is for Horse
I Believe Its True stays hot at Maywood
Saturday, March 31, 2007 - by Mike Paradise, publicity director,
MAYWOOD, IL - I
Believe Its True had little trouble staying the hottest horse at
meeting. The four-year-old state bred rambled to his fourth
consecutive victory in Friday night's $11,500 feature race by
four open lengths with Dave Magee in the bike.
The 1:53.3 winning mile as the
third consecutive new lifetime mark for the four-year-old son of
Cole Muffler for owners Larry Baron Horsham (PA) and VIP
Internet Stable (Piscataway (NJ) who took I Believe Its True out
of a $25,000 claiming race at The Meadowlands on January 13.
Unlike last Friday's
first-over victory, this time drive Dave Magee sent I Believe
Its True out in a hurry from the two-slot and into a quick lead
the bay gelding never relinquished.
"It was either hustled him out and
cut the fractions or take the pocket and try to get to get
around Deville again, who can horse can be tough at times," said
Magee." I thought it would be in our best interest to try and be
ahead of him tonight. My horse was good the whole mile. When I
asked him for a little more he responded. John (trainer
Butenschoen) has this horse really sharp right now."
The 4-5 favorite I Believe Its
True ($3.60) needed a :27.2 first quarter to maintain the lead
and have the speedball Deville drop into the pocket. Magee was
able to have his pacer get away with soft middle quarters of
:28.3 and :29 flat before I Believe Its True starting to pull
away soon after the 1:25 three-quarter pole. The winner came
home in :28.3 without much urging, four lengths ahead of the 7-2
second choice Caps Classic, who came from eighth and last at the
half. Deville held on for third, another three-quarter of a
bred allowance, I Believe Its True earned $6,640 in the race for
$27,500 to $32,500 claimers and now has banked $23,681 on the
Good news, bad news for Battle of Lake Erie field
Tuesday, March 27, 2007 - by Keith Gisser, assistant publicity
director, Northfield Park
Northfield, OH ---
Northfield Park's Director of Racing Gregg Keidel received some
good news and some bad news this week in his quest to assemble
the best possible field for the 22nd annual $125,000 Battle of
Lake Erie, the track's premier race.
The "By Invitation Only" event
for the eight best pacers Keidel can attract is scheduled for
Saturday night, April 21 -- so the next few weeks are critical
for horses hoping for a spot behind Northfield's starting gate.
One likely starter is 2005
Battle champion Maltese Artist, fresh off a sharp 1:49.2 triumph
last Saturday night at The Meadowlands. A career earner of over
$900,000, Maltese Artist is trained by Mickey Burke for owners
Sylvia Burke of Pennsylvania, John Howard of West Virginia and
Jim Koran of nearby Macedonia, Ohio.
Unfortunately, last season's
Battle winner Buckeye One is doubtful to return to defend his
title. The Ohio-bred has been resting since late November and is
unlikely to be ready for an April 21 trip to Northfield
according to his connections in Ontario.
A wide array of pacing
standouts from tracks across North America are under
consideration for Battle invitations. Mister Big, winner of the
$74,000 Aquarius Series Final in February at The Meadowlands, is
a very likely starter while Delaware standout Roddy's Bags Again
and Yonkers Raceway (New York) campaigner Cameloft are also in
Besides the action on the
track, the first 3,000 fans in attendance on Battle of Lake Erie
night who pay the regular price of admission ($1.75 Grandstand
or $3.00 Clubhouse) will receive a Northfield Park 50th
Anniversary sweatshirt, all part of Northfield's 50th
Anniversary celebration in 2007.
Free Admission Earns Payday At Dover
Monday, March 26, 2007 - Marv Bachrad
It was Free Admission at Dover
Downs on Sunday, March. 25. Free Admission, the Powerful Toy
three-year-old filly, along with Double Flip, won their Delaware
Standardbred Breeders Fund (DSBF) first leg preliminaries along
with Mr Aviator, Be Bad Bill and Skeleton Key, the colt division
winners, in $20,000 paces. Longshots were galore on the regular
In other top races on the
Sunday card, $16,000 conditioned pace, Ross Wolfenden won his
second behind Magic Force, off at 7-1, for Rodney Long and VIP
Empire Stables. Now That's Art (Brad Hanners) was next in front
of Art's Sake (Tim Tetrick).
Friday, March 23, 2007—MELROSE PARK,
ILLINOIS:I Believe Its True continued his
winning ways by capturing Maywood Park's $11,500 featured Third
Race pace Friday night.The four-year-old
son of Cole Muffler was given a near-perfect steer by veteran
Hall of Fame reinsman Dave Magee to
nail down his third seasonal win in 1:54.1.
"I know when this horse came back from the
Meadowlands that John (trainer Butenschoen)
wasn't really happy with his performance (out there)," Magee
noted. "Since he's been back he's won three of his last four
starts and John told me the horse has been a pleasant surprise
I Believe Its True had a pair of
disappointing tenth-place efforts at The Big M in January, and
shipped back to his new barn soon afterwards.His connections claimed him for $25,000 on January 13 at
the East Rutherford, NJ one-miler.Since
returning, the bay gelding has earned over $16,000 for owners
Larry Baron & VIP Internet Stable LLC of Pennsylvania and New
Brent Holland hustled 2-1 Deville quickly
away from the gate and lead the field to a
:28.4 first quarter.The field
continued on single file style to the :57.4
half and I Believe Its True was the first to pull going down the
backstretch.Passing the three-quarter mile
marker in 1:26, I Believe Its True had his head and front and
then quickly cleared the tiring Deville.The
leader than began to draw off with little urging from his
driver, and held off a late charge by runner-up My Tractor’s
Sexy (Mike Oosting). Deville hung on
gamely for third.
"I thought Deville might be a challenge to
get around because of the soft fractions but my horse was very
aggressive and dug in gamely tonight," Magee added.
I Believe Its True lowered his seasonal
best mark with the victory and upped his career earnings to
Click the image to listen to Ed O'Connor's
interview on the Meadowlands Racing Insider
By:Shelly Blake, courtesy of
out as just another night at work for Dan Cappello, Jr.By the time his night was over, Saratoga Gaming and
Raceway's leading driver had accomplished what no other driver
in the history of the Spa Oval has been able to do.
He won six races.
While an amazing feat, that is not what
sets Cappello, Jr. apart from all other drivers. The track
record for most wins by a driver in a single night stands at
seven - a record shared by Bill O'Donnell and Tony Morgan. All Dan Cappello, Jr. did was win six races. But this was the
third time in a single season he visited the Winner's
Circle that many times in one night.
A new track record.
And yet it seems to be just one more
accomplishment in the career of Dan Cappello, Jr.
Being the son of a very successful
horseman, Danny, as the 47-year-old is often called, grew up in
the business of horse racing. "I was a janitor for about 20
minutes. That's all it took (to realize he didn't want to do
anything else but work with horses)." The New Jersey native
followed his father, Daniel Cappello, Sr., from New Jersey to
Monticello to Saratoga, learning the tricks of the trade from
both his father and a man who worked for the senior Cappello,
Richard King. It wasn't long before the apprentice came into his
own…and then some.
Danny has been Saratoga's driving
champion eight times. This year marks the 14thtime he has driven over a hundred winners in a season.The Saratoga Chapter of the United States Harness Writers
Association has awarded Cappello, Jr. with Horseman of the Year
three times since bestowing upon him the Johnny Page Award for
"Up-and-Coming Driver" in 1983. He has bankrolled over ten
million in his impressive career and recently won "Driver of the
Year" honors for the 2006 Saratoga season.
Of course if you ask Danny, he has
nothing to do with his own success. "There's a bunch of guys
here that could be leading driver. It's just a matter of getting
good horses to drive and having some luck. That's all. That’s
what I always thought."
Although there are some that tend to
disagree. Just ask Bill and Peggy Hohenstein, co-owners with the
rest of the V.I.P Stable oftrotter
Nystateofmind. According to the Hohensteins, their four-year-old
gelding had a real problem staying trotting. Since he has been
in Cappello Jr.'s care, he has never gone off stride. The
reason? "He’s the best," claims Peggy, "Danny is just the best."
What Danny considers
"the best" are the
horses, such as the ones he catch-drives ( "Swift Sport I like a
lot. I really like driving him. He tries all the time"), the
ones he trains and drives currently, ( "Arts Regards…he's a nice
horse"), as well as in the past, ("Mr. Bruiser…he was a nice
horse. I took him down to the Meadowlands, we went in 1:53—and
that was when 1:53 was fast"), and even horses he has no
connection to, such as Open Pacer Our First Falcon and Hall of
Famer Brett Hanover—a horse Danny always "thought the world of"
when he was younger.
When he was younger, Danny also had a
different perspective of what it’s like to be out on the track
behind a horse. "When my father was driving and I'd be watching
him… well, it’s a lot easier to drive from the grandstand. I'd
be yelling at him after the race, why did you do this or that?"
However, since the younger Cappello has logged some miles of his
own in the bike, his perspective has changed quite a bit.
"It's not that easy out there. You have to make decisions
quick and a lot of the time, they're wrong. A lot of times the
horse overcomes the bad decision you make, if you're driving a
good horse you can make a couple mistakes and the horse will
still overcome that."
Yet it wasn't a good horse that won six
races in a single night three times this season.
Perhaps it's modesty, but it’s clear when
talking to Cappello, Jr. that he doesn't take himself too
seriously. "I use to, but now I just try to have fun."
And he does, which is apparent in his sense of humor as
his responses to the best and worst thing about racing harness
horses being, "the summer and winter." Yes, it can get very cold
out there. And what a lot of people don't realize is how
physically demanding it all can be, not just on the horses, but
for everyone involved. It’s a seven day a week job. You get
banged up sometimes, sure. Work long hours. But Danny is not
complaining, even when the job gets a little too dangerous.
On July 3rd,
Kiss Me Cam, a horse then trained and driven by Cappello, Jr.
fell within moments of the start of the race. Danny hit the
unyielding track hard—hard enough to sprain his ankle quite
severely. The horse, thankfully, was fine. Danny was not.
However, nine days later, he was back in action with two wins,
three seconds and two third place finishes in seven attempts.
This article was going to be titled,
Saturday Night," but the truth is Dan Cappello, Jr. doesn't have
just one night where he reigns supreme. He can be found in the
Winner's Circle on both trotters and pacers, with cheap claimers
and Invitational horses, during matinees and night cards.
Although he's never driven a winner in the NY Sire Stakes Night
of Champions, something he’d very much like to achieve one day,
he has done something which no other driver among the very
talented drivers through Saratoga’s history has been able to do.
Three six-baggers in a single season is not just historic. It
speaks volumes about the man behind these good horses.
October 31, 2006
trained yearling added to VIP's "GRAND SLAM" Yearling
George Teague has been a little hard to get in
touch with lately - he's been busy racing in The Breeders Crown,
winning the Cane Pace, and just generally lighting up every
stakes race on the east coast...but we can finally announce the
verbal deal we struck with George several weeks ago to purchase
an interest in our 3rd yearling for our GRAND SLAM yearling
partnership. We will be adding 1 more yearling with George at
next week's Harrisburg sale.
We are thrilled to be adding JUST DESSERTS, a yearling pacing
filly by red hot NJ sire ARTISCAPE - also the sire of George's
Yorse Of The Year, Rainbow Blue. Our new filly is out of the
Jate Lobell mare, ROMANTIC GESTURE, who has already produced 5
winners from 6 foals (4 in 1:55) including stakes winners
FLITABOUT (1:52f), BULL ON THE BEACH (1:54.1), and WINE ROSES N
Her family gets even more impressive with the 2nd dam, multiple
stakes winner TOWN TATTLER (1:54.3) - winner of Helen Dancer,
Juggette heat, Bluegrass elim, Mistletoe Shalee elim, and 3 legs
of Blossom series at M. She has been a world class broodmare,
having produced LIFE IS A CABARET ($774,222 1:50.2), TATTLER'S
TORPEDO ($400,737 1:53.4), BLACK TATTLER ($173,101 1:50), and
SCOOTIN TATTLER ($119,166 1:51.4), and 2 others in 1:55 and
another 4 more with wins in 2:00 or better.
George Teague is as hot as you can get right now, having
selected and trained such notables as 2004 Horse of the Year
Rainbow Blue, 2005 Woodrow Wilson winner Western Ace, and 2006
North America Cup winner Total Truth in addition to a slew of
2yo stakes winners already this year. Interestingly, quotes from
both George and VIP's Ed O'Connor were part of the same article
in the June 28 issue of Horsemen and Fair World magazine (see
below link). It must be fate that we'll be working together!
Our first 2 yearlings with trainer Tom Fanning (pacing colts THE
RACE IS ON and LEXUS HANOVER), are already broken, jogging, and
doing very well. More information on them is available at
September 11, 2006
"Grand Slam" Yearling partnership has
been received well so far and we do have spots left. That's
good news for those of you not involved yet, because we bought 2
very exciting colts yesterday at the NJ Classic sale.
Trainer Tom Fanning got the first horse in the sale -
a colt by champion sire Cam's CardShark out of the multiple
stakes winning mare, Lady Dynamo (1:54.4 $201,480). This is a
great looking individual with the classic Cam Fella line looks -
athletic and perfectly proportioned. The dam side family is
great with 3 winners of over $100,000 and 7 with winning marks
of 1:57 or better.We were very excited to
get our Grand Slam started off with such a promising NJ bred
took home the Pro Bono Best colt
THE RACE IS ON
late in the day.Tom Fanning was the
bidder on this very good looking NY sired colt out of the
multiple Open class winner, Incredible Talent (1:54.3 $70,227).Pro Bono Best's first crop are just 2 this year, and they
have been very impressive - several will be in the NYSS
Championships this weekend at Stga.We were
very impressed with this colt's confirmation – long and stout
with a look that reminded me of our $500K earner Bayside Hall.With the NY stakes program HUGE already and Yonkers about
to get started, this guy will be racing for serious money.
spoke at length to George Teague about our next 2 purchases –
he'll be looking at the KY sales as well as at Harrisburg .
no feeling in harness racing like standing in the winner's
circle with a horse you've been following since he was a baby!Please contact either Tom or me to get your spot in
August 28, 2006
goes over $300,000 in purses for 2006 - a new high for the
stable with 4 months to go. With our 2 year olds just
getting started in the next few weeks, and Yonkers and Chester
opening in the next month, we're looking to run up the score in
June 23, 2006
founder and Managing Partner, Ed O'Connor, was featured in
Horseman and Fair World magazine
May 21, 2006
VIP Stable sends starter number 1,000 to post!
Stable Sweeps Spa Series
Monday, April 10, 2006 - by Mike Sardella, for Saratoga Raceway
This past Saturday night's
Virginia O'Brien Pacing Series Final looked to be a good one,
and was led by the Cappello-trained entry of Gemini Jon and
Cameloft. Together, they had been a perfect five for five
series, and went to post, coupled, at 3-5.
Most eyes were on Gemini Jon,
who was undefeated in five starts at Saratoga, highlighted by a
1:544 victory, and who had the local leading driver,
Dan Cappello, Jr., in the sulky. Cameloft had the driving
services of Josh Marks.
Cappello rushed Gemini Jon at
the half-mile station and took the lead, but after a tough trip
took its toll their stablemate, Cameloft, picked up the pieces,
moved from eighth to first, and swooped the group for Marks.
Gemini Jon finished second and
Redford Hall (Frank Coppola, Jr.) finished third. Cameloft
stopped the timer in 1:554, and with his share of the
purse made more money in this one start than he had all of last
year, while a regular $4,000 claming pacer at the Spa.
Fanning solves crisis March 17, 2006
Although trainer Tom Fanning had
a tough day Wednesday having to scratch two horses "injured" out
of races at the Meadowlands, he quickly left that crisis mode
when his 4-year-old mare Crisis won Thursday night at the Big M.
Crisis was North America's fastest performer on Thursday with a
1:52 gate-to-wire effort in a $12,500 conditioned pace. It was
the daughter of The Panderosa's first win in four starts after
being purchased in late January and sent to Fanning’s barn at
Gaitway Farm in New Jersey. Crisis had been racing in Illinois
before being bought privately by Ed Bardowski of New Jersey, who
later sold three-quarter interest to VIP Internet Stable, a
group managed by Tom Janes of New Jersey.
"My owner Ed Bardowski bought the mare, he really liked her. I
have to give him 100 percent credit because I wasn’t crazy about
it," said Fanning. "He sent her back here and she is accepting
her job. Every week she seems to be a little bit more relaxed
and willing to cooperate."
Fanning said that Crisis had been trained by Illinois-based
conditioner John Butenschoen before being purchased, and he
gives credit to his peer for helping settling down the
"They wanted to sell her, but I don't think there was a lot of
interest in her. She had problems with the gate," said Fanning.
"She wouldn't make the gate or wouldn't go behind the gate. She
was also a very hard horse to control. She had all kinds of
baggage but she has a very good pedigree. And Butenschoen did a
good job getting her to the races.
"We made some changes," he added. "We put an ear hood on her and
screen over the eyes. We let her head down a little bit. We
tried to keep her happy."
Bardowski had previously owned horses that Butenschoen trained,
and he felt familiarity would also help in the sulky. That is
why Andy Miller was named to drive in her first three starts at
the Big M, before Miller had to pick off to drive his brother
Erv's mare Gro on Feb. 23. Yannick Gingras picked up the mount
and he drove her to a second-place finish, losing by a nose to
Gro. This time around the tables were turned as Gro finished
third behind the winning Crisis.
"She has a tremendous upside," said Fanning. "I wanted to put
her in a $20,000 claimer when I got her but the owners wouldn't
let me. They were right. And I'm glad they were right. As long
as she behaves herself she can be a pretty tough horse."
3/16/06 - Gemini Jon, with Dan Cappello, Jr in the sulky,
posted a winning time of 1:55.4 for owners VIP Internet
Stable. Competing in the first leg of the Virginia O'Brien
Pacing Series, Gemini Jon scored the fastest time of
the evening in the six series divisions run. Other first leg
winners were Cameloft, Cleaning Lady, Ms Raider, Chianaglia and
One Magic Kat. (courtesy www.saratogagamingandraceway.com)