Granny Gui proves to be a tough lady

from Harness Racing Communications, a division of the USTA

Freehold, NJ — Ernie Henick knows Friday’s (July 13) $350,000 Delvin Miller Memorial Trot is filled with talent, starting with Dan Patch Award winner Pampered Princess and world record holder Possess The Magic, not to mention Merrie Annabelle winner Gerri’s Joy and Goldsmith Maid champion Falls For You.

Yet, Henick, the owner of Granny Gui, who won her Miller elim on July 6 in 1:54.1 by a neck over Michelle’s Angel, isn’t ready to wave the white flag.

Lisa Photo

Granny Gui was a neck winner over Michelle’s Angel in their Delvin Miller elimination.

“It’s tough competition, but I think they have as much to be concerned about as I do,” Henick said. “It would be no fluke if we won this race. Optimism is one of the strongest components for being a horse owner. I had a very good feeling about her going into the elims. This is very exciting.”

Granny Gui, trained by Sam Fava, has won three of eight races this year and earned $61,859. She won two preliminary legs of the New Jersey Sires Stakes and finished fourth in the final, just 1-1/2 lengths behind Possess The Magic. She won once last year, in eight starts, but benefited from work done to her feet and knees by trainer Bob Stevenson while racing at Harrington earlier this season.

“Every time she wins, I call Bob and thank him,” Henick said. “Right now, she’s just sparkling. You can have a great horse, but if she’s not handled right, she’ll never come into her own. Granny is handy, she’s tough, and she’s got an attitude. Once she gets to the top, she doesn’t want anyone to pass her. I couldn’t sleep (Friday) after she won; she won in such a spirited and competitive way.”

Henick and his family are no strangers to racing. They previously owned Thoroughbreds before getting into harness racing, and in 2002, their Emergency Status won the Grade 3 Jersey Derby at 55-1 at Monmouth Park. Henick grew up in Westbury and often went to the races at Roosevelt Raceway.

Granny Gui is named after Henick’s mother, Elinor, in reference to the way she is addressed by her grandchildren. His stable name, Sophia Stable, is after his 5-year-old daughter.

“I like to name horses after people I love, friends and family,” Henick said. “It’s sort of a fun little aspect of the game. It’s entertaining and it brings people into it.”

Rounding out the field for the Miller are Sing Me To Sleep, Right On Renee, Apecs and Fuego. The connections of elim winners selected their post positions; Pampered Princess, trained by Jimmy Takter and driven by John Campbell, got post three. Driver Brian Sears and trainer Trond Smedshammer selected post two for Falls For You, while Granny Gui will start from post four.

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