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Feelin Friskie Jersey fave

May 23, 2006

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Feelin Friskie, the pride of the Maritimes, as been installed as the 9-5 morning line favorite in the $500,000 Anthony Abbatiello New Jersey Classic on Saturday night at the Meadowlands. The Classic is the premier event for New Jersey-sired 3-year-old pacers and the richest of state-bred stakes. It shares the Saturday night spotlight with a companion event for fillies, the $175,000 Thomas D’Altrui Miss New Jersey in which Future Destiny is the 6-5 favorite.

Feelin Friskie, owned by Wayne Whebby of Dartmouth, Nova Scotia, won the $25,000 New Jersey Classic Prep last Saturday over Palone Ranger, pacing a lifetime best of 1:51.1. The victory pushed his career bankroll over the $100,000 mark. He now has eight wins, two seconds and one third in 16 career starts.

“It was a much-improved effort from [the previous] week,” said Hall of Fame driver John Campbell. “I think he needed the race. The week before was his first start [of the year]. It made him that much sharper.”

Feelin Friskie will leave from post six in the field of seven in the final.

“The final isn’t going to go like it went tonight,” Campbell said after the prep race. “It’ll be more aggressive the first part of the race. But he’s certainly shown he can go with these colts.”

Feelin Friskie, a bay son of Artiscape- Nadia’s Sister, is trained by Scott Bell and was a $22,000 yearling purchase for Whebby, whose father, Eric, holds the distinction of owning the horse Quick Baron, who won the first race ever held at the Meadowlands on Sept. 1, 1976. The Whebbys have owned horses for more than 50 years. Last year Wayne Whebby also had a New Jersey Classic starter in Jersey Mate, who finished fifth.

Campbell will be gunning for this fourth New Jersey Classic victory. He won the inaugural edition in 1980 with Bold Rush, in 1989 with Dexter Nukes and in 1994 with Cam’s Card Shark.

Trainer and co-owner George Teague Jr. will be represented in both the Classic and the Miss New Jersey this year. Western Ace is rated the 5-2 second choice from post four in the colts division while Future Destiny is the 6-5 morning line choice, also from post four, in the field of six fillies in the Miss New Jersey.

Western Ace comes off a stellar two-year-old campaign in which he posted 11 wins, two seconds and one third from 14 starts for earnings of $709,743. He added another $2,000 last week, finishing fourth in the $25,000 prep race.

A $20,000 yearling purchase, Western Ace is by Western Ideal out of the mare Alice Alice. Teague and his sister, Brenda, who are from Houston, Del., own the colt in partnership with the Kovach Stables LLC [Jan and Jerry Kovach] of Milford, Del.

Future Destiny did not race at two but the daughter of Artiscape-Future Millbank has five wins, two seconds and a third in eight starts this year, banking $119,672. She won the $64,000 Tender Loving Care Final on Feb. 24 and the $70,790 Blossom Final on April 19, both at the Meadowlands, and was second in the $76,262 Helen Dancer on May 5 at Freehold. She won the Miss New Jersey Prep last Friday by a nose in 1:52 flat. Ron Pierce was in the sulky.

In early April the Teagues, and their partners on Future Destiny, K&R Racing LLC [Kevin and Ronald Fry], invited retired New York Jets wide receiver Wayne Chrebet [Double Down Stables of Colts Neck, New Jersey] and former heavyweight champion George Foreman of Huffman, Texas, to share in the ownership of the filly.

On March 17, the Standardbred Breeders and Owners Association of New Jersey [SOBANJ] announced the name changes to the New Jersey Classic and Miss New Jersey to salute two of its longest-serving leaders. Abbatiello, a member of the harness racing’s Hall of Fame and the New Jersey Racing Commission, was a founder of the SBOANJ in 1961. He served as its president for nearly three decades and for 14 years as a board member until he retired last November. D’Altrui served 33 years as an SBOANJ board member, 22 years as vice president, before, retiring almost two years ago.

The post position draws with morning lines provided by track handicapper David Brower:

$500,000 Anthony Abbatiello New Jersey Classic
PP, Horse, Driver, Trainer, ML
1--Artstanding, Mike Lachance, Tom Fanning, 6-1
2--Pure Ego Hanover, Andy Miller, Art Unger, 15-1
3--Manhardt, Cat Manzi, Larry Rathbone, 15-1
4--Western Ace, Ron Pierce, George Teague Jr., 5-2
5--Palone Ranger, David Miller, Chris Ryder, 3-1
6--Feelin Friskie, John Campbell, Scott Bell, 9-5
7--Armbro Deuce, Yannick Gingras, Blair Burgess, 8-1

$175,000 Thomas D’Altrui Miss New Jersey
PP, Horse, Driver, Trainer, ML
1--Art’s Temptress, George Brennan, Jimmy Takter, 5-1
2--Mythical, John Campbell, Jeff Stafford, 8-1
3--Katies Western, Brian Sears, Travis Alexander, 4-1
4--Future Destiny, Ron Pierce, George Teague Jr., 6-5
5--One Ace Too Many, David Miller, Buzzy Sholty, 6-1
6--Ideal Weather, Yannick Gingras, Mickey Burke, 9-2
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