Smalltownthrowdown wins seventh consecutive race at Yonkers (11/26/17)

Last season’s New York Sire Stakes champion and Yonkers Trot runner-up, Smalltownthrowdown (Yannick Gingras, $6.40) maintained this season’s form spree Sunday afternoon (Nov. 26), winning Yonkers Raceway’s $40,000 Open Handicap Trot.  Read more....

Pacer of the Year honors go to Maxdaddy Blue Chip.

The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono
has announced their annual awards for Horses of the Year. The horses will be honored in the Hanover Shoe Farms winner’s circle starting Saturday (Nov. 11) and continuing through Saturday (Nov. 18). Pacer of the Year honors go to Maxdaddy Blue Chip (left)...... Read more...

Keystone Velocity sets Rosecroft track record in Potomac Pace (11/5/17)

Ft. Washington, MD --- Keystone Velocity set a new standard at historic Rosecroft Sunday evening (Nov. 5) when he set a track record while winning the second edition of the $100,000 Potomac Pace in 1:47.3. Defending champion All Bets Off was 1-1/2 lengths behind the winner in second and Dealt A Winner was third... Read More

Sam McKee discusses
harness racing partnerships
 and Bon Jovi
VIP Stable's Tom Janes
at the Harrisburg Yearling Sale in November of 2013

VIP Stable was a proud sponsor of the 2013 Breeders Crown at Pocono Downs

Above has VIP Stable's Tom Janes presenting the Open Mare Pace Breeders Crown trophy
to Jeff Bamond (owner of Shelliscape).....

Sam McKee discusses
harness racing partnerships
VIP Stable's Tom Janes
at the Harrisburg Yearling Sale in November of 2012

USTA announces President's Award recipients
Harnesslink Admin 08:50 AM 17-Feb-2011 NZT

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 Columbus, Ohio.

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)


By Brett Sturman, VIP Stable

"Summer 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 talent.

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, "He's 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 Sharkpaid $6.40.

"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 Photo)

On the road with VIP

VIP's Tom Janes blogs from the Kentucky Yearling Sale

Sunday Oct 11th -  It was 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 Mile...............

 Overall, 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....

 You should 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.........

 Well, time 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 sale..........


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

River 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 the final.

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

If 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 for third.

Pinehurst 2009


Ed 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 




VIP Stable and the Kiwi connection

Harnesslink News Room 12:41 PM 08-Jan-2009 NZT
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.

Janes is 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," Janes said.

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

 VIP Internet Stable, LLC collects win number 400 at Harrah’s Chester Downs.   

VIP Stable’s 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.”

Tom Janes, 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”.

Since its 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.          



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 paid $13.80.

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 stallion.

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 Downs

October 6, 2007

VIP 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 winner.

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 Lovers.  

I Believe Its True stays hot at Maywood
Saturday, March 31, 2007 - by Mike Paradise, publicity director, Maywood Park

MAYWOOD, IL - I Believe Its True had little trouble staying the hottest horse at the Maywood Park 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 length behind.

With the Illinois 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 current season.



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 the mix.

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 card.

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).

I Believe Its True Wins Again
Game Pacer Wins Third Straight at Maywood

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 for him."

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 Jersey.

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 $62,254.


Click the image to listen to Ed O'Connor's interview on the Meadowlands Racing Insider



Driving Into History

By:  Shelly Blake, courtesy of            


October 12th started 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 14th  time 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 of  trotter 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, "Mr. 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


George Teague trained yearling added to VIP's "GRAND SLAM" Yearling Partnership

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 CANDI (1:54).

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.

The pedigree for JUST DESSERTS is online at

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


Our "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 -
LEXUS HANOVER, 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 colt.


We also took home the Pro Bono Best colt THE RACE IS ON late in the day.  Tom Fanning was the high 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.


I also spoke at length to George Teague about our next 2 purchases – he'll be looking at the KY sales as well as at Harrisburg .


There is 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 this partnership!




August 28, 2006


VIP Stable 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 2006.


June 23, 2006

VIP Stable 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!

VIP 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 rambunctious distaffer.

"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


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