Gallo Blue Chip posts career victory 49

from the Meadowlands Publicity Department

EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ – January 3, 2004 – Gallo Blue Chip tipped out four-wide in the stretch and charged to take the lead in the final strides, winning the $40,000 open pace, the featured sixth race, on Saturday night at the Meadowlands.

It was his 49th career victory in 113 starts.

The 2000 Horse of the Year, making his first start at age seven, paced the mile in 1:50.4 for his second straight win.

Gallo Blue Chip [$20.80, $8.00, $4.20] won by a neck over 5-2 favorite Rair Earth [$4.00, $3.00] who cut the fractions. It was a length to Royal Mattjesty [$4.20] in third.

“I sat in and wanted to see if we’d get lucky and just get up towards the front,” said winning driver Daniel Dube. “When everything opened up, he just sprinted. He raced tonight like he used to be.”

“I didn’t think he’d come back this year,” said Mark Ford, who trains Gallo Blue Chip for Martin Scharf of Lawrence, New York. “I brought him to the Meadowlands, and he just took off. He’s just very strange bird. Tonight was as good of a race as I’ve seen him put in in a long time. He has the Presidential next. I almost didn’t put him in there. But he was second in his first start back here so I thought I’d give him one more try. He’s just thoroughly surprised me. He’s like a different horse week by week. You never know what’s up with him. We just hope this trend continues and we’ll see what happens.”

Gallo Blue Chip, the all-time richest pacer with earnings of $4,184,469, won the 2003 Presidential Series Final. This year’s three-week Presidential begins on January 10.


A lot of years and lucky breaks separate George Brennan from the pre-teen posing in a winner’s circle photo for a Monticello race won by his stepfather and his own accomplishments as one of the leading drivers at the Meadowlands.

Brennan just completed his eighth straight year with total purse earnings of $4 million or more, posting 2003 totals of 338 wins and earnings of $5,580,064.

One of Brennan’s greatest achievements in the sport was on Hambletonian Day in 2002 when he won both of the Meadowlands’ premier events for two-year-old pacers, the $650,000 Woodrow Wilson [Allamerican Native] and the $460,000 Sweetheart [Must See]. He has won the Sweetheart for fillies three of the last five years.

His biggest victory in 2003 was with the freshman pacing colt Camelot Hall in the $830,798 Metro Final at Woodbine on August 30.

“Days like that are just unbelievable,” said the 36-year-old Brennan of winning the Wilson and Sweetheart on the same card. “It’s stuff you only dream about. Just like winning the Metro this year with Camelot Hall. It’s just a big, big thrill and what you live for in this business.”

Brennan grew up hanging around Monticello Raceway where his stepfather, Joe Ricco Jr., competed. He knew early on that harness racing was his career choice and spent plenty of time cleaning stalls and learning the racing ropes from the ground up. He started driving at Monticello in the mid-1980s before branching out to the tracks in Maine and Massachusetts. At the end of the 1994 season, he made the decision to try the Meadowlands.

“I came here in 1995 and wasn’t getting many drives,” recalled Brennan. “I did win a race opening night for Ronnie [Coyne], who is the one who talked me into trying New Jersey, and I had a real good trotter named Indianapolis that I was racing. I was driving at Freehold and Yonkers a lot, and, at the time, Paul “Stretch” Jessop had a pretty big stable. I would qualify quite a few for him at Freehold. I drove for him some at Yonkers, and he’d put me on the odd horse at the Meadowlands.

“He knew [the training couple] Bud Burke and Liz Quesnel and in May or June, they asked him who he would recommend to drive A Stud Named Sue and Chippie’s Ruler, who were both two-year-olds,” said Brennan.

“He recommended me, and I went from racing mostly Yonkers and Freehold to winning New Jersey Sire Stakes at the Meadowlands. A Stud Named Sue won the Woodrow Wilson that summer, which really put me on the map. I remember flying up to Ontario to drive him in the Metro in a private plane and thinking this was beyond anything I’d ever dreamed about.”

Both A Stud Named Sue and Chippie’s Ruler went on to win Dan Patch Awards as two-year-old divisional champions in 1995 and their young driver was making the most of his big break.

In 1996, Brennan won the $1 million Meadowlands Pace with Hot Lead and cracked the top five in the Meadowlands driver standings the following year, a position he maintained through the 2001 season.

A resident of Perrineville, New Jersey, Brennan and his wife Tracie have two daughters: 16-year-old Natalie and seven-year-old Mackenzie.

Through the end of 2003, Brennan has 3,906 lifetime wins and more than $45 million in purse earnings. His best year was 1998 when he won a personal best 456 races and his horses earned in excess of $7.5 million.


The first of the 18 Winter Series stakes, the three-week White Ruffles for four-year-old pacing mares, gets underway with three $12,500 divisions on Tuesday night at the Meadowlands.

The Meadowlands will offer a Tuesday through Saturday night racing schedule, first race post time of 7:30 p.m., for the month of January.

Twenty-seven of the 39 nominees were entered in first round action in the White Ruffles, carded as races three, five and six on Tuesday.

Tripleplay Hanover, who won the Snow Angels consolation in her last start on December 18, has been installed as the 5-2 morning line favorite in the first division. Midnight Art, off of two sharp qualifiers, including a 10-length win on December 20, has been ranked the 2-1 morning line choice in the fifth race, second division. The daughter of Artsplace has not appeared in a pari-mutuel race since last January 29. Kosher Dill is the 5-2 favorite in the third division, with a win and a second in her last two starts.

The White Ruffles, restricted to non-winners of two or $30,000 lifetime, continues with leg two on January 13 and a $50,000 estimated final on January 20 for the top 10 money earners emerging from the first two rounds of the series.

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