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Green Speed\'s mark falls

May 10, 2007

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Frank The Hands established a new Monticello Raceway track record for 4-year-old trotting horses Wednesday when Ray Schnittker guided him to a 1:58 victory in the $14,300 Preferred Handicap Trot.
Two years ago there were many who considered Frank The Hands the best 2- year-old trotter in the rich New York Sire Stakes program that season. And with a 1:57 freshman record it was a hard opinion to contradict. However, his sophomore campaign in which he amassed over $113,000 in purse money, though impressive, was only highlighted  by  two victories. Now, as a 4 year old,  the Credit Winner stallion already has been in the winners circle four times this year.
For Frank the Hands, who has competed with regularity at the Mighty M over the past few seasons, it marked his return here after racing at Saratoga Harness during March and April. Prior to his move to Saratoga, Frank The Hands had two consecutive victories at Monticello and upon his return he has picked up where he left off.

Schnittker and Frank the Hands started from post position two and were content to follow the lead of Craiger and driver Billy Parker Jr., who cut swift fractions on the front end. Schnittker and his trotter were a comfortable second throughout the mile but trailed the pacesetter by two to three lengths throughout the first three stanzas. Still two lengths behind Craiger at the top of the lane, Schnittker moved Frank The Hands into the passing lane at the top of the stretch and the trotter rallied to an easy three-length triumph in a track record time of 1:58.

Heaven and Hall (Stephane Bouchard) also passed the tiring pacesetter in the homestretch to finish second while Craiger held on for third place. 

 The 1:58 victory by Frank The Hands erased the longtime 1:59.1 standard established by Green Speed and driver Billy Haughton on June 11, 1978.

After the race co-owner Frank Baldassare, for whom the trotter was named, fired up a good stogie and strutted back and forth along the track\'s apron proud as a peacock, trying to expound his trotter\'s prowess to anyone who would listen.

Frank The Hands is also co-owned by Kelks Inc., Paul Doherty and his driver Schnittker. Sent off  as the betting favorite in the race the trotter paid $4.50 for win.

There must have been a little magic in the air on May 9 in Monticello because there were some other extraordinary occurrences that afternoon; mainly that four other trots on the card all were won in times of 1:59.3 or faster despite the fact that sub-2:00 trotting miles have been a rarity in these parts since the track\'s inception in 1958.

Other swift trotting winners that day included: Anthony Vitale Stable’s Marina Grace (Jimmy Marohn) in 1:59.2; Palma Realty LLC and Kim Asher’s Armbro Wizard (Jimmy Marohn) in 1:59.3; Bob Medeiros’ US Stars N Stripes (Bruce Aldrich Jr.) in 1:59; and  Martin Scharf’s The Federalist (Stephane Bouchard), also in a 1:59 clocking. (Monticello)

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