Patriots star tackle Wilfork has his horse claimed
January 24, 2012
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With the clock ticking toward the kickoff to pro football's championship game on February 5, Pompano based trainer Peter Blood is expecting a friendly phone call any time now from New England Patriots star nose tackle Vince Wilfork.
"After last Sunday's game everyone could see that Vince is not only a terrific football player and a great asset to his team, but it's very likely more people will be finding out that he's also become a really devoted fan of harness racing at his home track of Plainridge Racecourse in Massachusetts," Blood explained. "The first horse he owned a part of, a trotter named Eel, he lost through a claim here at Pompano last week. I expect between now and the big game on February 5 that Vince will call to talk about the horses to perhaps take a break from all the hype in Indianapolis.
"He just loves our sport and it's proven to be a great diversion away from the football field for him," added Blood.
Wilfork, who was named the Player Of The Game in last Sunday's league semi-final victory by the Patriots, was introduced to harness racing by Plainridge Racecourse President and CEO Gary Piontowski. Blood negotiated a private purchase of Eel for Arianna Brown, a daughter of Massachusetts Senator Scott Brown, and Piontowski suggested that Wilfork also take a part of the horse's ownership. Since the deal was done in May of 2010, Eel raced well at Plainridge and Pompano as the 6-year-old gelding by Victory Sam-Flowing Joy won 9 of 37 starts in 2011, banked almost $29,000, and took a speed mark of 1:56.3 at the South Florida plant. Training duties were shared by Plainridge's John Mattero and Blood prior to last week's claim.
You need not look any further than Wilfork's official website, www.vincewilfork75.com for confirmation of his strong new ties to harness racing. Front and center as a major sponsor on the site is Plainridge Racecourse.
"After February 5, Vince will be coming to his home here at Lakewales, FL and we'll get serious about trying to find him one or more horses, perhaps a young horse for 2012, or maybe a 2 year old that's pretty much set to go," Blood says. "My wife Susan was a super fan last Sunday. Vince sent her an autographed Patriots game jersey and she wore it for the whole game. It doesn't fit very well since Vince is listed at six-foot-two and 325 pounds, but she'll have it on again a week from Sunday too. In all my decades of watching football I'd never heard of a defensive lineman being named the Player Of The Game like Vince was last Sunday. It was great to see him have a career game like that and a big crew of us at Pompano and Plainridge will be rooting for him to do it one more time." (The Isle Pompano Park)