The son of Lou’s Legacy takes on three millionaires in the $175,000 Cleveland Trotting Classic.
by Jay Wolf
As they say in the World Series of Poker, all you need is a ‘chip and a chair.”
In harness racing, you ‘can’t win what you are not in,’ so the connections of the Ohio-bred Another Breath are cautiously optimistic as they take on a trio of millionaires in the $175,000 Cleveland Trotting Classic at Northfield Park on Saturday night (June 30).
The 5 year-old gelding will leave from post #3, just outside the 2016 Triple Crown winning Marion Marauder (Jordan Statton). The $2.2 million earning Crazy Wow (Chris Page) and the $1.2 million earning Homicide Hunter (Aaron Merriman) have posts 6 and 7 respectively.
“We are definitely the underdog, but it is half-mile track racing and we have a good post. I suppose anything could happen,” said Jeff Johnson, Jr. who trains. “He’s tough and not a trip horse. He’s a racehorse.”
Another Breath was a solid competitor on the Ohio circuit as a two- and three-year-old, earning nearly $125,000 with a 6-10-4 record in 27 starts.
Purchased by Richard J. Mishkin of Hartsdale, NY in April 2017, Another Breath made a quick impact on his new barn.
“He had a good run last year at Miami Valley (Raceway), He won four-in-a-row and set a track record,” said the 39 year-old conditioner who trains at the Warren County Fairgrounds in Lebanon, OH.
As the calendar turned to 2018, their early season plans were derailed when a mandated quarantine for the Equine Herpes Virus (EHV) caused a nearly five week delay in Another Breath’s development.
“I am happy with the money that he has made this year, considering he lost almost two months,” said Johnson.
“He’s got a great personality. My son works with him. He is a real family horse. He eats more cookies than grain, so he’s kind of spoiled.”
Another Breath has succeeded despite his less-than-royal breeding. He is a son of Lou’s Legacy, who stood in Ohio for only one season, and the unraced mare, Jailhouse Broad.
“When I asked who he was sired by, they said Lou’s Legacy and I responded ‘Oh, good I thought I would never find one,’” joked Johnson.
In case you were wondering, Another Breath is the richest and fastest offspring of Lou’s Legacy, who is currently standing in Illinois.
The Cleveland Trotting Classic will not be the first time Another Breath has gone head-to-head with some of the nation’s best older trotters. Another Breath finished a respectable fifth in the $200,000 Charlie Hill Memorial at Scioto Downs on June 9, which was won by Homicide Hunter in a world record 1:50.3.
“We were thrilled to get some racing luck last time (in the Hill Memorial) and got a check,” said Johnson. “We hope he can step up to that next level.”
Another Breath’s last outing was a fourth-place finish, beaten by 2 ¾ lengths, in the $18,000 open at Northfield Park on June 25.
“We wanted to get him a trip around that track. I have never raced him on a half-mile. He got very unlucky. He was parked and his cover wasn’t advancing so Aaron (Merriman) went three-wide with him at the half,” said Johnson. “We were disappointed in the circumstances of the race, but I thought he raced okay.”
Piloting Another Breath in the CTC will be Chris Lems, who currently sits sixth in the Northfield Park drivers’ standings.
“Chris used to race for me in New York. He was the leading driver at Vernon Downs. I have a small stable of three to five horses, so it’s kind of hard to get some of the guys to drive for me,” said Johnson.
The Cleveland Trotting Classic is race #11 on the Northfield Park Saturday card and is scheduled to go postward at 9:55 pm.
The $175,000 Cleveland Trotting Classic (Race 11)
Approximate Post Time 9:55 p.m. (Eastern)
PP. Horse-Driver-Trainer-Morning Line Odds
1. In Secret-Ronnie Wrenn, Jr.-Ron Burke-7-2
2. Marion Marauder-Jordan Stratton-Paula Wellwood-2-1
3. Another Breath-TBA-Jeff Johnson, Jr.-15-1
4. I Know My Chip-Greg Grismore-Walter Haynes, Jr.-12-1
5. Dia Monde-Mike Wilder-Thomas Durand-20-1
6. Crazy Wow-Chris Page-Ron Burke-8-1
7. Homicide Hunter-Aaron Merriman-Chris Oakes-4-1
8. Will Take Charge-Jim Morrill, Jr.-Jeff Gillis-6-1