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Pacer Goose Mountain has special story

June 29, 2017

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No matter what Goose Mountain accomplishes during the remainder of his harness racing career, the colt pacer has fulfilled the hopes of owner James Healey and his family.
Healey, who lives in Warwick, N.Y., bought Goose Mountain with his cousin, Jim Bell, at the 2015 Goshen Yearling Sale. Bell, a longtime racing fan who grew up in Ireland before settling in Forest Hills, N.Y., had been diagnosed with cancer and Healey decided a horse would be good therapy.

Bell renamed the horse, originally known as Omega Blue Chip, after a fanciful story written by his granddaughter, Maggie, when she was young. Goose Mountain, trained by Healey, made it to the races last season at age 2 and competed primarily on the New York Sire Stakes circuit.

Although he failed to pick up a win in seven starts, Goose Mountain was third twice behind Miso Fast in New York Sire Stakes divisions, including his final race of 2016 last September at Yonkers Raceway. Bell passed away in December.
"Jimmy came to this country in the '60s and would go to Yonkers and enjoyed the horses," said Healey, himself a longtime racing fan and retired New York City police officer. "I thought buying a horse would be a fun thing we could do together while Jimmy had some time and was still feeling good.

"We've had a great time, a lot of excitement, enjoying the horse. It was great for our family, getting together to watch him. Jimmy's wife Peggy and his granddaughter and daughter Mary and her husband Luke all came out to the races.

"I've gotten everything out of it that I could have wanted."

Goose Mountain returns to action Saturday at Goshen Historic Track in a division of the Excelsior Series "A" for 3-year-old male pacers. Ray Schnittker is listed to drive the colt.

Saturday marks the opening of the annual Grand Circuit meet at Historic Track. There are nine Excelsior Series races for 3-year-old pacers on the card.

Goose Mountain, the only horse in Healey's racing stable, was slowed by a bone chip during the winter but made his seasonal debut on June 24 at the Meadowlands, where he finished fourth. He was beaten by 2-1/2 lengths by Uffizi, a three-quarter brother to Dan Patch Award winner Artspeak, and was timed in 1:51.2.

"He's got some talent," Healey said about Goose Mountain, who is by Roll With Joe out of the mare Armbro Althea. "He's very willing. He doesn't think (racing) is work. He thinks it's fun."

Healey, who retired from the police force in 2006, has two retired racehorses at his 4-acre farm in Warwick. He trains Goose Mountain at Historic Track.

"I've made some good friends in the business, which is nice," Healey said. "There are great people, always willing to teach a greenhorn like me. I don't have much pride when it comes to it. I was more than happy to ask a gazillion questions and it was great to have people walk you through it.

"I always thought the horses were beautiful and liked the excitement of racing, the pageantry of it. You make a few shekels and your heart goes pitter-patter. But I just like being around the horses. They're beautiful animals and it's pretty neat watching them race and do what they do. That's the best part. You go there in the morning and I like being around the barn, the horse talk and the horse people. It's all good fun."--By Ken Weingartner/Harness Racing Communications

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