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Cantab or Cash?

July 14, 2004

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Cantab Hall and Cash Hall will meet for the first time this year in the Stanley Dancer Trot at the Meadowlands Friday night. But actually, the race will be a reunion of sorts. Both sons of Self Possessed were raised at Walnut Hall Ltd. in Lexington, Ky.

Both horses were sold by Walnut Hall Ltd. for $300,000 (or more) as yearlings. Clients of trainer Ron Gurfein chose Cantab Hall, but almost ended up with Cash Hall, Gurfein says.

“I went out to Walnut Hall to look at the Self Possessed colts in August of 2002,� recalled Gurfein, who won the 1999 Hambletonian with Self Possessed. “It had been raining a lot in Lexington that summer, and Alan was reluctant to turn them out in the paddock so I could see them move. On the floor of the barn, Cash Hall was incredible. He was the perfect colt. I called (owner) George Segal and said ‘I’ve found our next Hambletonian winner and his name is Cash Hall.’ I liked Cantab Hall quite a bit, too but gave the edge to Cash Hall in the barn.

“I went back when it was dryer to see them turned out in the paddock,� continued Gurfein, who was nominated last week to harness racing’s Hall of Fame. “In my mind, there was no comparison between the two once I saw them outside. Cantab Hall was extremely athletic and looked like he could trot a hole in the wind. Cash Hall wasn’t as coordinated or athletic at the time and would trot a few steps than break into a gallop. We decided to buy Cantab and spent $310,000 for him. Bob McIntosh bought Cash Hall for $300,000.�

Gurfein’s judgment about Cantab Hall has been vindicated. The colt won all 10 starts at age two and was named Trotter of the Year for 2003. The perfect record has continued with two wins in two starts in 2004.

Cantab Hall, driven by Mike Lachance, is rated the 8-5 morning line favorite in the Dancer Final from post seven.

Cash Hall has not done badly either. He won both of his starts at two and this year has four wins and two seconds in seven tries. He trotted a 1:52.4 mile to win his Historic-Dickerson division on July 9 and was back in the winner’s circle for his Dancer elimination, timed in 1:53.4. (provided by Meadowlands publicity)
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