Newspaper article The Record (Bergen County, NJ)

'Bahn' Proves a Big-Time Winner

Newspaper article The Record (Bergen County, NJ)

'Bahn' Proves a Big-Time Winner

Article excerpt

EAST RUTHERFORD -- Noel Daley's first glimpse of Broad Bahn was hardly memorable. The yearling was no flashback to Mr Muscleman, the Daley trainee who retired with $3.5 million in career earnings.

The truth be told, Daley would not have purchased the future Hambletonian winner.

Fortunately, owner Leif Alber and his business agent, Ole Bach, did -- for a relatively cheap $20,000 at the Harrisburg Sale. They turned him over to Daley, who despite his initial reservations, molded the trotter into the winner of Saturday's $1.5 million Hambletonian at 7-1 odds.

"I wouldn't have bought him," Daley admitted. "He was as big as he is now. He was big body. I like big horses, but I thought he was a little too big."

The colt quickly changed his trainer's mind. He probably would have won the Breeders Crown as a 2-year-old, but a fractured hind coffin bone forced him to miss the final. Manofmanymissions, the 2- 1 Hambo favorite, took advantage and won the Breeders Crown.

There was no repeat in the Hambo as driver George Brennan, known as "The Minister of Speed" in harness racing circles, guided a wire- to-wire triumph from the one-hole. The strategy was simple: Catch us if you can.

They couldn't. Manofmanymissions made a late challenge, but broke after he pulled aside Broad Bahn and drifted to eighth in the 10- horse field.

"When Andy [Manofmanymissions driver Andy Miller] came alongside I asked him for some speed and he gave it to me," Brennan said. "He was really relaxed."

His connections were more on edge because speed was not holding up in the earlier races on the Meadowlands card. So Daley sighed relief when Broad Bahn covered the first half mile in a comfortable 56 seconds on his way to a 1:53 mile.

"We didn't have to go suicidal in the pace," Daley said. "Everything worked out well. It couldn't have worked out better."

For all concerned. Alber took a long and winding road to East Rutherford from his Demark home. First he, his wife and three children flew to Los Angeles before embarking on an 11-day car ride across the country, with stops at Las Vegas, the Grand Canyon and Memphis (to visit Elvis Presley's Graceland home), among other places. …

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