Q & A with trainer PJ Fraley
How did you first get involved?
When I was growing up as a kid in Michigan, I raced there through my teens. My old man had a couple of horses which let me get involved a little bit. I turned 19 and moved out to the East Coast to [get more involved] and I’ve been out here ever since.
I worked for Ron Gurfein and he taught me a lot about trotters. I gained a little bit more experience with Grand Circuit racing, [instead of the fair circuit]. I raced a lot more claimers and race horses every night of the week at the Meadowlands, Pocono Downs, and Yonkers.
What was your most exciting win?
My most exciting win is probably my Levy win recently with a horse that wasn’t supposed to win. That was pretty neat. That was a good win.
Most proud moment I have is actually as a groom. I took care of a horse named Gryffindor when Noel Daley trained him. I was racing against Rocknroll Hanover and he was like 25:1 and he beat Rock and Roll Hanover down at Dover. That was a proud win.
What’s your favorite moment in harness racing history?
My top moment in harness racing history would be racing Mr. Muscleman in the Maple Leaf Trot. That night he opened up maybe 10 lengths around the turn and just dominated the field. That was the most impressive mile I had ever seen. Back in like 2004, he opened up on the field and beat good horses the way he did.
What does harness racing mean to you?
It’s everything, you know. It’s life. Life in general. Getting up seeing the horses every day. The different horses, the way they act. I’ve got so many different horses, they all have different personalities. I love going to the barn every day and seeing that.
This interview is part of our new weekly features of faces in the sport, from fans to owners, trainers to grooms.