By Dick Jerardi
When the newly turned 3-year-old filly My Best Friend passed the eighth pole with a clear lead in the seventh race at Aqueduct on Jan. 6, 2019, her trainer Harry Wyner could have been excused if his mind started to wonder to what the New York bred owned by John Fanelli might be able to conquer next.
Then, My Best Friend started to shorten stride. She wasn’t getting tired. When you watch the replay now, you can tell something was going wrong. The filly had suffered a major leg injury.
“She spiral fractured a cannon bone,’’ Wyner said, “She still finished second. We had to van her off. We gave her a year and a half off and it’s healed.’’
Dr. Patty Hogan explained to Wyner that surgery was not an option for the injury. So it was just all about time.
“John was a fantastic owner with this horse, lots of patience,’’ Wyner said.
And there was My Best Friend well in front at the eighth pole in the sixth race at Parx on July 7. She kept on running right through the wire, 5 3/4 lengths clear at the finish.
It was a very emotional win for obvious reasons. But not nearly the only win. Wyner’s horses won another race that day and two more the next day.
“It’s an unbelievable feeling,’’ he said. “We went through the coronavirus. We never ran a horse. I kept these horses training and my help kept with me and did a tremendous job. Without them, I wouldn’t be able to do this. My horses just came back firing.’’
Wyner, originally from Manchester, England, rode steeplechase horses for Michael Dickinson in his native country. When Dickinson moved his operation to America in the late 1980s, Wyner came with him as a groom and exercise rider.
His riding background really helps as a trainer. He tries to get on each of his horses at least twice per week.
Wyner has had some very nice horses in his training career which began in 2004. He had English Manor at the beginning of his career. The horse ended up running an incredible 115 times, with 15 wins, 20 second, 13 thirds and earnings of $344,650.
“He always wanted to be second,’’ Wyner said. “We must have made $100,000 with that horse just being second.’’
English Manor did have seven seconds in the two years Wyner had him before he was claimed in 2014 He also had four wins.
“He was an iron horse,’’ Wyner said.
Winter Ride won six races for Wyner in 2015 and 2016.
“Winter Ride was a beautiful horse,’’ Wyner said. “I bought him for $10,000 off Andrew Simoff. He was a big horse. He just needed time. We gave him time and he just went on and progressed to be a real nice horse. I think he made like $300,000 for me.’’
The trainer’s memory is excellent. Winter ride raced 42 times, with 10 wins, three seconds, nine thirds and earnings of $319,973.
Wyner trained the top 3-year-old Ny Traffic for Fanelli at the beginning of his career last year.
Wyner and Fanelli liked the colt at a sale. He did not bring the sale price so they went back to see what the owner would take. They agreed on $22,000.
“I just liked the way he was built,’’ Wyner said, “He was a late-developing foal. They didn’t break him until December and his rear end hadn’t really developed. I said `John, we give this horse some time, he’s going to be okay.’
“I brought him back here and started doing our work with him. I was getting on him every day. I said to John after the second time I breezed him, `this is going to be an exceptional horse for you, a Derby horse.’ He just laughed and said `from your mouth to God’s ears.’’’
So far in 2020, Ny Traffic has finished third in the Risen Star, second in the Louisiana Derby and second in the Matt Winn. The colt is on target to run in the July 18 Haskell at Monmouth Park, with a trip to the Kentucky Derby after that.
Wyner said he had the option of going to Florida when the colt was shipped south last winter. But he has 25 horses at Parx so Saffie Joseph, who also has horses for Fanelli, now trains Ny Traffic.
Ny Traffic will ship from Florida to New Jersey with $365,470 in earnings, another Harry Wyner success story that he was a big part of at the very beginning.