Here & There – June 4

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A big night at Penn National, a win for new Team Valor trainer Rick Mettee and the beginning of some rumblings in advance of the Belmont Stakes.

Worth Repeating

“Can we bet pennies on these horses?” – Fan, who needed the ATM apparently, at Penn National Saturday night

“We’re going to buy that horse from you in a couple years.” – Trainer Gary Contessa after pulling trainer Clovis Crane’s name for a season to E Dubai at Penn National

“That was like my Breeders’ Cup.” – John Panagot, racing manager for owner Bob LaPenta, on winning the $250,000 Mountainview Handicap at Penn National with Easter Gift

“I heard the jockeys screaming. I didn’t know who and I didn’t want to look.” – Jockey Javier Castellano, on the troubled trip behind him aboard Tightend Touchdown in the Pennsylvania Governor’s Cup

“She’s not old, she’s coming to herself.” – Owner/trainer/breeder Lizzie Merryman, to a question about her “old” mare Scarlet’s Number, 6, who won at Penn National Saturday night

“I hope my wife doesn’t see me on TV and think I’m taking pictures with my son here.” – Castellano, who was handed a baby – not his – for a photo at Penn National

“I have very pasty skin; the only way I can be colorful is to wear bright colors.” – Northview Stallion Station’s Carl McEntee, on his style choices for the Pennsylvania Horse Breeders Association awards dinner at Penn National Saturday night

“It made it easy to follow racing. Nowadays I don’t know how you’d get into racing. Nobody buys newspapers anymore. I guess you could find out about it on the internet. It’s a whole different ballgame now compared to then.” – Trainer Rick Mettee, who saddled Cerro to victory in the Canonero II Saturday at Pimlico for his first win for Team Valor, on how reading about racing in Baltimore newspapers as a child helped spark his interest in the sport


Take a Number

1: Reporter (not from TIHR) who asked Javier Castellano how Orb was training at Penn National Saturday night.

21: Broodmares owned by Lois and Len Green, owners of Penn Mile winner Rydilluc.

1,139,478: Dollars handled on the Penn Mile, a new single-race record at Penn National and more than triple the old mark set in 2009.

3,658,996: Dollars handled on Penn National’s entire card Saturday night, an increase of more than $1.4 million over the old mark set in 1998.


Name of the Week

Time On My Hands ran at Penn National Saturday night for Leonard Green and Gary Contessa. She’s out of As Long As Ittakes.


Flight Night

Several New York-based jockeys made the trip to Penn National for the track’s stakes-rich card Saturday night – riding early races at Belmont Park (first post 1 p.m.) and flying out together to catch the early group at Penn National (first post 6 p.m.). What’s it like to travel with the competition? OK, according to Javier Castellano who flew with Edgar Prado, Joel Rosario, Luis Suarez and John Velazquez.

“We get along. Everywhere we go, we go together. You have to. At some point you have to get along. In the race, of course, it’s different but we get along. We have good colony, and good people. Johnny’s a great guy, Ramon Dominguez is a great guy, Joel Rosario we’ve added to the colony, he’s a great guy. Jose Lezcano, Cornelio (Velasquez). We have a lot of good riders and good people; it’s nice to see, nice to be part of it. Once in a while one guy goes a little crazy, but we straighten them out.”

Prado and Castellano won stakes at Penn while the others were blanked. Mid-Atlantic jockeys Kenrick Carmouche, Jeremy Rose and Paco Lopez swept the top three spots in the $250,000 Mountainview. The New York guys stuck around for the fifth, where Prado finished ninth, but were back home late that night and back at Belmont to work stakes horses Sunday morning.