More than a century has passed Stephen Foster immortalized great pacing mare "Goldsmith Maid" with his composition of "The Old Grey Mare." Area rock/country entertainer Danny Denver seeks to emulate the success by committing popular area pacer "Come On Fred" to lyrics.
During tonight's ninth race at Freestate Raceway, "Fred" is more apt to hear track announcer Jack Lee's strains of "Funnyman's Lashout" as the first standardbred match race in Maryland history pits Come On Fred against "Funnyman's Lashout for a purse of $5,000, winner take all.
Funnyman's Lashout, a 4-year-old mare owned by Joseph Leshinsky of Englewood Cliffs, N.J. has so dominated the local pacing scene that competition is either hiding in the barns or has fled to other tracks in quest of easier foes.
Trained by Mary Ann Callahan, and driven by leading driver Vic White, the speedy mare has earned nearly $60,000 this year while pacing a 1:57, a season's national record for age and gait over a five-eights-mile track. She also holds the Rosecroft track record of 1:58.
Come On Fred, owned by Unionville, Va. paving contractor Fred Rhoades, has won nearly $40,000 this year and holds the Freestate track record with a win in 1:56.4, also a season's record for age and gait.
Although Fred has defeated the mare and come within a nose of victory on several occasions it is unlikely he can reach the wire first in this type of race.
The 6-year-old gelding never has displayed the extreme speed from the gate so necessary to controlling the early pace in a match race.
Funnyman's Lashout has drawn the inside post and is expected to keep Fred on the outside until the first turn, at which time Fred is expected to drop back into the trailing position.
Should trainer/driver Bob Uebel elect to sit behind Funnyman's Lashout until the final quarter mile, it should produce an exciting finish with Funnyman winning by a diminishing half length. However, should Fred engage in a lengthy speed duel I expect the mare's margin of victory will be much greater.
Much confidence in Funnyman's Lasout is such that I will invest $100 of my precious "mythical bankroll" on the mare to win.