When it comes to snatching horses out of claiming races (in which the horses are for sale), Bob Gruber III has been one of the most active and most successful trainer on the Western New York harness circuit this year.
And on Tuesday night (Sept. 22) one of his best claims --- a 7-year-old pacing gelding named KLW Clown --- was on display at Batavia Downs.
With regular driver Ron Beback Jr. in the sulky, KLW Clown won for the fourth time in six starts since Gruber and co-owner James Kustra claimed him for $4,000 out of a race at Buffalo Raceway on July 19. In six races since, KLW clown has won $8,900 in purse money and rewarded his betting backers with $2 win payoffs totaling $27.40 for a $12 investment, a return on investment of about 128 percent.
KLW Clown is just one of Gruber's success stories. A glance through some recent programs and the Web site http://wnyharness.tripod.com (click on Racing Information) shows many horses that won for Gruber shortly he and his clients bought them.
Shrewsbury Falcon: Claimed for $6,000 on Aug. 28, won two starts later and paid $4.60.
CL Bull Run: Claimed for $5,000 on Aug. 21, won a week later and paid $4.30.
Carli Dey: Claimed for $6,000 on Aug. 10, won her next start on Aug. 30 and paid $7.10.
She Goes All Duvay: Claimed for $4,800 on July 22, won her next start on Aug. 5 and paid $3.90.
Two On The Ace: Claimed for $10,000 on July 18, won seven days later and paid $6.60.
Clay Hill King Pin: Claimed for $3,000 on July 1, won his next three starts paying a total of $18.10 for three $2 win bets.
Long Live America: Claimed for $6,000 on June 28, won on July 18, paying $34.80. Since then he has also won twice more with payoffs of $6.60 and $8.70.
Joey Pants: Claimed for $3,000 on June 13, won his third and fourth starts after that, paying $3.60 and $4.60.
Bettors who ignore Gruber's recent claims, do so at their own peril.
--- Bob Summers