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Looking for more than a ham sandwich

May 21, 2010
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An early season standout, Mr. Hallowell returns to the Meadowlands in the $20,000 seventh race on Saturday night. He will start from post five with Ron Pierce at the lines in the conditioned event for pacers. A sharp claim, the 6-year-old gelding has hit the board in 15 of 18 starts for trainer Chris Carruba and owners Cookie N Mo Stables (Irwin and Ellen Kaplan) and Jonathan Klee this season.
 
"They claimed Mr. Hallowell for $15,000 at the Meadowlands last February," Carruba said. "The horse thinks he’s a world beater. He just knocks on the door and every week he gives you his all. He’s made $100,000 this year and won in 1:49.3 with George Brennan (Feb. 20 at the Meadowlands). I can’t get George all the time, but Ron Pierce has done a great job and gets along with him just as well. This horse just races his heart out every start.
 
"He’s just found himself at a certain age (six). I’ve seen horses at two and three not worth a ham sandwich, then they spurt at four and away they go. They learn how to go that fast. He just does everything right, and he’s very easy on himself during the week. He’s not much of a half-mile track horse, and unfortunately that’s what I have to train him on. But he does it well enough to stay fit. He’s the type of horse that jogs all week, and on Wednesday for Saturday, he trains a slow trip in 2:15 or 2:20. It all depends on how he’s feeling that day. He doesn’t have to train hard, and he still goes out and gets the job done.
 
"There’s nothing better than a horse that can finish the mile, and he’s certainly one of those," he continued. "One start last summer at Pocono Downs he cut fast fractions, they were at him every step of the way, and he still won in 1:50.2. So, he can handle the front end, but I prefer him coming from the back. He’s better that way and he’ll last a lot longer that way."
 
Carruba, 53, grew up in Batavia, N.Y., where his father owned horses and worked for a company that built Trojan bucket tractors. A 35-year veteran of the sport, Carruba now resides in Middletown, N.Y. and splits his stable between the Meadowlands and Pocono Downs.
 
"I raced most of my career in the Buffalo area, but I’ve been everywhere, as the Johnny Cash song goes," he said. "I raced at Vernon Downs, Pompano Park, Northfield Park, Monticello and Canada. I raced umpteen years in Buffalo, and I just figured it was time for a change. I wanted to try the big scene, but never had the courage to make the move. I’ve been around here now for two years. I had a stable of nine when I left the Buffalo area. I just wanted to make a change and I did it. So far, knock on wood, it’s working out for me.
 
"Originally, the co-owners of Mr. Hallowell (the Kaplans) contacted me, but I was working for Buzzy Sholty at the time," he continued. "Then, Jonathan Klee asked me to take some horses, and before I knew it I had a decent stable of my own." (Meadowlands)
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