Mark Herschberger got his start in racing the past few years under the guidance of the Joe Putnam Stable. Now, the Midwesterner has relocated to the East Coast and picked up a win at Freehold Raceway Sat. Feb. 10 with Keep Us Happy in the $4,000 conditioned pace to close out the day’s action.
Keep Us Happy had post one and used that to his advantage, rallying out for the early lead and heading to the quarter in :30.1. Horses remained single file behind him through the half in 1:01.2 before Whata Twist and Austin Siegelman moved first up, taking his time to reach Keep Us Happy at the three-quarters in 1:31.3. Midway through the turn, it was evident that Whata Twist was not going to be able to overtake Keep Us Happy and began to fade, giving Here Comes Red and Tyler Miller the opportunity to pull the pocket and go after Keep Us Happy.
Despite having a perfect trip, Here Comes Red could not get the best of Keep Us Happy, who was strong all the way to the wire in 2:00.4. Here Comes Red finished a half length back in second followed by Count Mara and James Foley.
Keep Us Happy paid $4.20 for the win as the favorite of the field. The five-year-old son of Keep it Real earned his first win of 2024 in his fourth outing for owners Jose and Christine Ramos. Dennis Watson trains the gelding, who was bred by Samuel Samples of Indianapolis.
Keep It Real has only produced 28 registered foals since 2014. The Real Artist stallion has never bred more than 15 mares in one season, with Samples as one of the main breeders of the horse. Keep Us Happy began his career in Indiana and took a mark of 1:57.2 as a two-year-old at Harrah’s Hoosier Park. The richestt foal of Keep it Real is Schwartz Bros Pat, who has more than $174,000 and a mark of 1:51.3. His quickest is Keep Score with a mark of 1:51.1.
Earlier in the day, another Indiana veteran scored a win at Freehold as Tie Your Shoe Ed was a winner in 1:57.3. The 12-year-old son of Jereme’s Jet sat along the inside before waiting for the stretch and powering to the lead to score the win by one and one-half lengths over Mansertive and Jeff Dauplaise. Needless to Say and Eric Davis finished third.
Tie Your Shoe Ed paid $2.40 for the win. He is owned by Frank Budzinski and trained by John Bavosi. Vincent Ginsburg drove the veteran to the win, his 30th trip to the winner’s circle. Overall, he has more than $215,000 in earnings with a career best time of 1:51.4 taken at five at Harrah’s Philadelphia. Tie Your Shoe Ed was bred by Genesis Racing Stable and Ciara Stable. His current connections have owned him since his five-year-old season.