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Root wakes up in ’06

January 13, 2006     E-mail this page to a friend!

Miss Bliss and Juan Gutierrez win the fourth at Portland Meadows Jan. 9
(photo by courtesy Portland Meadows)
By Patrick Kerrison
Portland, OR – As 2005 began to wind down, few looked forward to the New Year quite like trainer Ben Root.

Off to a sharp beginning, then tapering off a bit in November, Root suffered through the holidays with a dismal month in December. However, with the new year his barn seems to have a new attitude and he is back on track, repeatedly finding himself in the winner’s circle.

In the past three days, the 29-year-old conditioner saddled 11 horses. He strung together an impressive six wins, including three in a row on Sunday’s race card, January 8. Additionally, he posted a second and a third place finish with his starters.
He began the meet well, posting a 3-4-3 record from 13 starts through the first six days of racing. He tapered off in November with a 3-9-9 record in 35 tries.

Root couldn’t wait for December to be over with a 1-4-6 record in 28 attempts.

In the month of January, Root is 7-1-1 from 16 starters.

With his win rate this past weekend at 55% and ITM 73% of the time, Root improved his overall numbers to 14-18-19 from 92 starters. His win percentage through 32 days of racing has improved from 10% entering the weekend to 15% currently. His ITM rate remains notable at 55%.

Root won with Little Eiffel on Saturday with rider Twyla Beckner. On Sunday he won three in a row with Tewkin and Juan Gutierrez, Take My Heart and Felipe Valdez, and then A Colt Named Sue with Gutierrez again.

Monday offered two more pictures taken with Miss Bliss and Gutierrez in the fourth race, and Rubiano Ridge with Javier Ortega aboard in the sixth.

·Clark Jones won more than all other riders last weekend with five victories, including the Mt. St. Helens Stakes with Lawanda and the Solda Holme Invitational Handicap aboard Chancy Chancy.

Juan Gutierrez, who was the leading rider during the 2004-05 race meet, returned to Portland Meadows this past weekend for the first time since his victory in the Inaugural Handicap on opening day, October 22. Gutierrez had four wins from 10 mounts over the three day set.