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WHEN SAL T Collins trots . . . er, pardon me . . . paces on to the track in Wednesday night's season opener at Buffalo Raceway, it will mark another chapter in the career of the 5-year-old trotting-bred horse who was converted by trainer Jim Mulcahy.

He won five races in a row at Batavia Downs, where he moved up from $3,500 claimers to the $5,000 bracket. There, he won three of his last four starts with Mulcahy's son, T.J., driving. T.J. has returned to work with his father after five years with trainer Serge Dubord.

"Sal T had surgery for bone chips on his hock as a 2-year-old and after that we converted him to a pacer," said Mulcahy, a 48-year-old veteran conditioner from Churchville. "His fastest mile was 2:02 2/5 and he's earned about $24,000 on the pace."

Mulcahy also noted that Sal T Collins' mother, Vinassi, is remembered as one of the best trotting mares around and had lifetime earnings of about $170,000. His sire is Texas, who formerly was at Dan Gernatt's Farm in Collins.

Mulcahy and the family tree of Sal T Collins go back a long way.

"I've raced every one of Vinassi's foals except the youngest, a half-sister named Kathy S. Collins who went for $20,000 at the Harrisburg Sale," said Mulcahy. "She's from the first crop by Sir Taurus, a trotting stallion who replaced the exported Texas at Gernatts."

Mulcahy, who was bidding on Kathy S. Collins, added that Sir Taurus' offspring averaged $17,500 at the sale.

Probably the best-known of Vinassi's offspring was T.P. Dazzle, a trotting mare who had 31 wins over her five-year racing career with a mark of 2:04 2/5 . Her other offspring include Sandazzle (who won in 2:03 at Vernon Downs) and Vindazzle.

T.J. Mulcahy, 28, who drives mainly for owners and/or trainers like Don Gutzmer, Stu Kester, Phil Harvey and Margaret Butler, has a Universal Driver Rating System percentage of about .245. In 133 starts at the Downs, he has 16 wins, 22 second-places and 13 third-places.

Both T.J. and his father enjoy the racing competition and the friendship of the horsemen and other personnel at the track. "That's what it's all about," said Jim.

L Dees Trish sets mark

L Dees Trish, rated one of the most consistent filly pacers in New York Sires Stakes history and a New York Sires Stakes leading money winner, set a Yonkers track record of 1:54 4/5 for aged pacing mares by winning the $75,000 Clare Series final with Mike Lachance driving. She won by 6 1/2 lengths over Delinquent Account, a Buddy Gilmour-driven filly that has raced at Batavia and Hamburg. . . . Also at Yonkers, Dorunrun Bluegrass continued his comeback by winning a $35,000 Invitational in 1:55 4/5 with Herve Filion driving. He beat North Tonawanda's Ray Schnittker with Covert Action by 2 1/2 lengths. Filion also won the $25,000 co-feature with Gold Town in 1:57 1/5 .

Model finds Pompano home

Model Home, driven by Berndt Lindstedt, won the $75,000 Matron Stakes 3-year-old trotting filly final in 1:57 4/5 , beating Caspian. Happy Diamond was third and Me Maggie, part of a favored three-horse entry, was fifth.

Trotter's streak ends at 30

A Worthy Lad, a 3-year-old trotting colt who had a 30-race winning streak over two years in Canada before being exported to Europe, lost his first race when he finished sixth in the $270,000 stakes final at San Siro in Milan, Italy. The son of Worthy Bowl was fourth in a qualifying heat.

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