The following is from Harness Racing Update written by Chris Lomon. Please click here to read the full article.
His first pari-mutuel track win didn’t require a photo, but that’s not how Case Bateson saw it develop from the driver’s seat.
The 19-year-old horseman from Ohio put the bay 5-year-old pacer Rock N Randy V, in a perfect spot just seconds after the starter car zoomed away from the field on the night of Nov. 1 at Hollywood Dayton Raceway.
Crossing over from post seven, Bateson and the gelding he co-owns with his father, Ohio Harness Horsemen’s Association president Steve Bateson, was a half-length in front after an opening panel in :27.1. Although the duo gave up the lead soon after, the pair was still in a prime spot and were 1 ½-lengths behind the pacesetter, 2-5 favorite Starthimup, after three-quarters. A length behind at the stretch call Rock N Randy V, at 14-1, was rolling under emphatic urging from Bateson.
At the wire, the son of Pet Rock, trained by Jason Brewer, and his pilot were 1 ¼-lengths the best.
There was no wave of the whip, fist pump or celebratory outburst of emotion from Bateson after the finish line.
The reason why?
“I’ve never been really good knowing if I got it or not,” said Bateson. “And I really didn’t know if I got it. I was 85 per cent sure that I held on. A few steps after the wire, [driver] Tyler Smith pulls up and asks me if I won. I told him, ‘I thought I did, but since you’re asking me, I don’t really know.’ I scored way far down the backstretch and waited for Tony Hall (driving the favorite) to pull up in the paddock. When he did, I finally thought, ‘I think I got it.’ I was so zoned-in on that approach of ‘keep driving,’ that it didn’t really sink in.”
That victory, aside from a treasured milestone score, was also meaningful in what it represented, goal-wise, for Bateson.
“Getting that first win at a pari-mutuel track was something I wanted to achieve before the end of the year. And it was so great to come back and see Jason and my dad waiting there. They were ecstatic. It was pretty special to bring the horse back and see them waiting for me.”
The young reinsman, who works in the Brewer barn, couldn’t have scripted it any better.
Well, with perhaps one exception.
“It would have been even better if we would have bet him,” quipped Bateson.
Although he’s just starting out, Bateson sounds very much like a seasoned pro whenever he talks about his career.
One of the big keys to his early success is keeping an open mind when it comes to his work in the sulky.
“I learn something new every single day. I could walk around the paddock and ask the same question to 100 people and potentially get 100 different answers. Advice is not tough to come by and that’s something you really appreciate. I’ve been really, really blessed. God has dealt me a pretty fair hand. I have lot of great people behind me, and they’ve been the wind beneath my sail.”
There’s no doubt the up-and-coming star has charted a course towards a successful career.
A wealth of good advice has helped him navigate the ups-and-downs in his rookie campaign.
“I think the one thing that really stands out for me is that you need to turn the page in this sport and in this particular role. You can’t let things bother you too much. Obviously, that’s way easier said than done – you’re going to lose more than you win – but I think about that approach often. Being able to shake off a bad result is so important. You just keep reminding yourself that you can go out and chase the outcome you want.
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