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Former Hockey Player Scoring Wins on the Racetrack

When Corey Callahan guided Elvis Cole onto the track at Dover Downs for the $85,000 Trotting Classic on April 9, 2007 he faced four drivers Ė John Campbell, Tony Morgan, David Miller and Brian Sears Ė with nearly 35,000 total wins in their careers. Callahan, in just his second full season of driving, hasnít even started 1,000 races lifetime and has 124 victories.

"This is the real deal," Callahan said prior to the race. "Itís all been happening pretty fast. Itís very exciting, but Iím a little nervous, too. Everyone will be watching. Iím looking forward to it."

Callahan, 28, from Annapolis, MD, is a late starter in harness racing, although his father, Nick, has been involved in the sport for years. As a teen, Callahan was an all-state soccer player at Easton High School in Maryland and was the stateís scholastic hockey player of the year in 1996. He attended the University of Kentucky, where he skated for the schoolís Cool Cats and earned a business degree.

Four years in Lexington, however, helped rekindle his interest in racing. He dabbled in the sport after graduation before deciding to leave his job as an IT recruiter in October 2004. A little more than a year later, he got his first win as a driver.

"Itís been an unbelievable ride," Callahan said. "Starting out driving, itís tough. I bought some cheap horses with my dad so I could learn and get my feet wet. I started doing well with them. Last year, I drove a horse named Cool Flying Fun for my dad and he won in 1:50.4 at Rosecroft and set a new lifetime mark; he still holds the track record at Rosecroft. That was a big race for me because people saw then that I could get some speed out of a horse."

Elvis Cole, a 5-year-old gelding, was purchased by Nick Callahan and Parker Callahan (no relation) in January. He has won five of nine races and earned $73,875 this year for his new connections. Overall, he has won 13 times and earned $151,912.

"Heís a phenomenal animal," Callahan said about Elvis Cole. "Heís a pleasure to drive and gives you everything heís got. When one comes to him, he doesnít want them to go by."

Although Callahan got a late start in racing, he has no regrets about his path. "Iím a little more motivated because I feel Iíve gotten a late start; I take it a lot more serious," said Callahan, who still plays hockey recreationally when he has time. "I think the maturity level helps and it gives me more of an appreciation, as well. People are surprised how patient I am. People also are surprised at my age; most think Iím 20 or 21 because Iím just getting started. They donít realize I went to college and sat behind a desk for four years.

"I didnít expect it to be like this, but Iím really glad it is. I hope it can continue. We shall see. Iím just glad Iíve been able to find my niche. My dad is a well respected horseman in the Mid-Atlantic and my brother, Shaun, is 10 times the horseman I am. At the barn, I clean the stalls and do most of the grunt work. Iím not any good at making rigging changes; Iím just lucky that I can make them go fast."

Courtesy: The HorseTV Channel News, http://www.horsetv.com


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