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Replays a Boon for Roberts (03/17/13)

Posted Sunday March 17, 2013

                                                      By Mike Paradise

  Many of us who are fans of harness racing spend a lot of time looking at the replays of recent races to help our handicapping.

  We often have our face in front of a computer watching not only the horses in a particular race but also noticing any tendencies of the competing drivers.

  Not surprising some of those same drivers devote portions of their days studying the same race replays.

  “I watch a lot of replays and I just don’t watch myself,” disclosed driver John Roberts. “I try to watch what a lot of the other horses are doing in a race so I can learn what are their faults and weakness and try to take advantage of it in a future race.

“You want to give your horse every little edge you can to win a race,” added the lanky 6-1, 150-pound Roberts.

  “Also look at a lot of replays as a trainer on some possible claims to be made for my stable.

  Studying the opposition is just one of the things that helped Roberts follow a career year in 2011 with an even better 2012 season.

  John had 205 winners in 2011 and added 10 more in 2012. More importantly horses he drove went from a high of $967,181 in purse money to over $1.35 million as well.

  “I had a lot of driving opportunities (1,682) last year,” said Roberts. “There were owners and trainers who had confidence in me and gave me a chance to drive their horses.

 “When you drive horses for a living you can’t do any good if you don’t have the power to succeed. The more good horses you can drive the better you can do for yourself and for those owners and trainers.”

  Over the past two seasons Robert’s horses are much more often than not in good position to contend in a horse race.

“As you win more races your confidence grows,” noted Roberts. “You learn to drive smarter to give you and your horse a better chance to have success.

  “I’m not the same guy I was when I was in my 20s. I’m at a very good place in my life now.”

  Roberts “stepped up to the plate” last evening when Balmoral Park played host to the St. Baldrick’s Foundation Night with an estimated $20,000 being raised for the charity thanks in part to numerous donations, silent auctions and “head shavings”.

  Roberts not only made a nice donation to the charity but also volunteered to have his head shaved in the winner’s circle by Tinley Park’s Jordan Pickering, a 14-year-old cancer survivor who was being honored as part of the proceedings.

 After Jordan started the job she then moved on to her father who also wound up having his mustache shaved off thanks in part to another $100 donation by Roberts.

  Sutton Milestone: Congratulations go out to 31-year-old Josh Sutton who drove his 2,000th career winner last night when Peck Blue Chip won the seventh race for trainer Angie Affrunti.

  More Pricey Winners: It was another rewarding night for Mike’s Price Shots on Saturday’s card.

  First Dontbeachatme won the first race at $10.60. Thunder Steeler captured the ninth race Invite at $8.20 and Four Starzzz Z followed up by winning the next race and paid $27.40.

 To view Archived Notes and Quotes click here


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