There’s another Shady McCoy who has flashed some speed in the Meadowlands.
This one, however, does it at the harness track across the street from MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, N.J., a place where the real McCoy faces the AFC East rival Jets once a year.
The 5-year-old trotter is named after the Bills All-Pro running back, dating to his time with the Eagles.
Breeder David Wade and wife Delores currently live outside of Pittsburgh, where LeSean went to college with Delores handling the duties of naming the foals.
"LeSean was an Eagle when she named the horse," David said. "Soon thereafter, he was traded and she was very disappointed. We are Eagle fans and she names horses after football players.
“McCoy was one of my wife’s favorite players, and of course he went out here to Pitt. We’ve moved out to this end of the state near Pittsburgh, so we’ve followed his career."
Horses that have run for the Wades in the past include Bettis, named for Jerome Bettis, the former Steeler; and I.B. Westbrook, after the flashy former Eagles back. Their current bloodstock includes a couple of yearlings named Carson, for Carson Wentz, and another named Real McCoy. They’re hoping both make their way up the trotting ranks.
Horses being named after pro athletes is not uncommon. Gronkowski -- named for the Patriots tight end and Western New York native -- finished second at the Belmont Stakes.
After Shady McCoy won the Pennsylvania 3-year-old colt Trotter of the Year honors in 2016, the Wades sold the horse at the Harrisburg auction to the owner of the Meadowlands and prominent harness racing entrepreneur Jeff Gural.
Gural flipped him after a few months at auction, and he is now owned by Allister Stables LLC, principally owned by Dave Offenberg, who will occasionally drive Shady in the amateur races at the Big M.
Shady is a workhorse that has raced 90 times in his career with 20 wins, 11 placings and 9 times shown. Recently, he ran a career-best winning June 15 at the Meadowlands in a conditioned trot in 1:53.2.
Current trainer/driver Eric Abbatiello said Shady has the looks that go along with his ability. “He’s a big chestnut, a beautiful horse," said Abbatiello.
“You don’t see that many chestnut horses around, so he’s rather on the large side. He’s like a big puppy dog, a big Labrador. He’s very, very nice. Everyone looks forward to seeing him, when he gets in the winner’s circle he gets a few extra looks and a few extra pictures,” Abbatiello said.
Like LeSean on the football field, Shady the horse knows how to change gears.
“He’s versatile, he can be on the lead and win on the front, or he can come from behind. He’s a pretty handy, well-mannered versatile horse. I’m lucky to have him,” Abbatiello said.
Offenburg and Abbatiello are happy with the acquisition of Shady. “We plan on having him for a long time, and we’re happy with him and that he continues to make us some money,” said Abbatiello.
Ironically, the horse has a special interest in a certain companion, a mare that he spends time with in the field with every day.
Her name? Priceless Possession.
I’m guessing the real Shady has a priceless possession he is seeking.
A Super Bowl ring, that is.
Gene Kershner, a Buffalo-based turf writer, is a member of the National Turf Writers and Broadcasters Association and tweets @EquiSpace.