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Invaders Ready to Shine in Inaugural $50K Schvaneveldt Handicap

October 2, 2007     E-mail this page to a friend!

By Orlando Gutierrez

The siblings Sold On Special and Fames First Wrangler will run against each other for the first time in their careers when they compete in the inaugural running of Friday's $50,000 Schvaneveldt Handicap at 400 yards. The Schvaneveldt is designed for horses that have made at least three starts in the intermountain and northwest regions in 2007 and it will feature a solid list of contenders headed by Boise Derby runner-up Hodge Money Crunch and the stakes winning Diamonds Tiny Effort. The latter finished second against $50,000 claimers at Los Alamitos but earlier this year she won the $29,700 Gary Waite Memorial for owner Bob Alan Pence at Wyoming Downs.

Then there's Gary or Jeralyn Messenger's Sold On Special, a three-year-old filly by Special Leader out of the Messenger's beloved mare Sold On Fame.

Trained by Bret Vickery, Sold On Special won the Idaho Cup Derby two races back while also finishing in the money in both the Northwest Derby Challenge and Bitterroot Derby, in which she lost to Todd Thurston's Hodge Money Crunch. The opportunity to have a rematch against the likes of Hodge Money Crunch in a $50,000 race is a big attraction according to Jeralyn Messenger.

"That's what makes it a fantastic race," she began. "It's hard to come to Los Alamitos and face the outstanding California horses, but in the Schvaneveldt, our horses will go against horses that they've faced before. That makes it a neat event."

Jeralyn believes that Sold On Special gives them their best chance to win the Schvaneveldt. "I think she's a better runner, but we'll see because she's never faced Fames First Wrangler before. I don't know how my husband and I will be able to watch this race because she's in post 10 and Fames First Wrangler is in post three. We'll have to be looking back and forth just trying to keep up with our horses."

The Messengers, who have been married for 40 years, have bred and raised Quarter Horses since the 1970s. The couple from Idaho Falls, Idaho, consider themselves small-time owners, as they manage a compact broodmare band at their five-acre ranch.

"We have regular jobs during the day," she added. "I run a beauty shop at my home and my husband is a heavy equipment operator at a government facility. My husband's uncle trained horses and I rode horses at the Tetons and in the hills. We breed and raise our horses and it's a lifestyle that we absolutely love. We have four children and eight grandchildren and growing up around the horses have taught them so much. Cleaning stalls has taught them good work ethics and responsibility and watching the birth of foals have been a wonderful experience for them. Growing around the horses has been good for our family."

Sold On Fame, the dam of the Messenger's two contenders, is also the dam of five-time stakes winner Go For Fame, who competed in the 2005 MBNA America Challenge Championship. Sold On Fame's second dam is Good Intention, which the Messengers purchased in California. "Go For Fame is now one of our broodmares," the owner added. "This has been a good line for us and it's been fun to keep it going. Our horses have provided us with a lot of fun and thanks to (trainer Bret Vickery) we've enjoyed a lot of success."

Lesley Joyner, wife of former major league baseball player, Wally Joyner, owns Wild Man Ronnie, a four-time winner in his career, who will race in the Schvaneveldt. The Reeds Dash gelding ran fourth against Fast Red Leggs in his last start and he's hit the board in 19 of 35 career outings. Kenneth or Vicky Ellison's Fast Red Leggs does an edge over the field, as he's fresh off a solid effort over this racing strip. The Red gelding finished second to Royal Bridlewood in the 550-yard Newport Beach Handicap and the latter has since return to finish third in last Sunday's La Palma Handicap.

David Waddell's Weber, Brad McKinzie and Mark Smith's In Between Dreams, Earl or Lucille Pepper's Bedazoom, and Jerald Davenport and David Payne's Splash Talk complete the field.

The $50K Schvaneveldt Handicap field in post position order, with jockey assignments:

1 Hodge Money Crunch (UT), Alejandro Luna
2 Weber (CA), Juan Andrade
3 Fames First Wrangler (ID), J. R. Ramirez
4 In Between Dreams (KY), Cesar DeAlba
5 Bedazoom (ID), Samuel Harold Thompson
6 Splash Talk (UT), Eddie V. Garcia
7 Wild Man Ronnie (ID), Ramon Sanchez
8 Fast Red Leggs (ID), Alex Bautista
9 Diamonds Tiny Effort (UT), Cody Jensen
10 Sold On Special (ID), Rodrigo Aceves
AE Royal N Flashy (ID), Saul Ramirez, Jr.