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She Keeps Herself Surrounded by Royalty

SPECIAL TO THE TIMES

Sabina Knight, the only female driver at Los Alamitos, nicknamed One To Top “Princess” after earning the first victory of her career behind the trotter in 1993.

“It was my sixth drive . . . in a $15,000 stakes race here,” recalled Knight of the now 6-year-old mare.

Trainer-driver Knight has recently unleashed One To Top’s 4-year-old sister, Trytotopme, on the local scene with consecutive victories and nicknamed her “Little Princess.”

Knight hopes the Princesses will top their rivals in trotting events Friday and Saturday and enhance her reputation in the male-dominated sport.

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“Most of the guys are real professional here,” Knight said. “Only once in a while do you come across a guy who thinks a woman belongs in the kitchen.”

Knight never thought she belonged there.

“I always wanted to do this,” she said, reflecting on her youth in Gardena. “I had a horse, and I can never remember not wanting to do this.”

Knight began pursuing her dream by attending horseshoeing school in 1974. She worked as a blacksmith at Cecil “Butch” Adams’ ranch in Hemet before moving to the track in 1989. Two years later, she earned her training and driving licenses.

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Her stable has grown to 10, mostly horses she owns or leases, or are owned by track veterinarian Harvey Stein.

“I’ve got so many horses, I cut down on my shoeing for other stables,” she said, not minding the trade-off in the least.

Knight tips her hat to breeders Jon and Frances Hanson, who were responsible for the mating of Hunter’s Star and Jaicelena to produce One To Top and Trytotopme.

One To Top has earned more than $25,000. Trytotopme made it to the races only last month.

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“She was two weeks away from qualifying in June at Sacramento when she got real sick with distemper,” Knight said.

Knight is training a third sister, an unnamed 2-year-old of whom she expects the same as from herself. “I just try to be the best that I can be,” she said.

Harness Racing Notes

Hi Ho Silverheel’s is expected to race again Feb. 3 after an auspicious return in the $10,000 feature last week with a two-length victory in 1:54 1/5 as the 3-10 favorite. After a 14-month layoff, the 5-year-old pacer took the lead approaching the first quarter and covered the final quarter in 27 4/5 seconds. “He might be the best pacer I have ever driven,” Rick Kuebler said. “I wanted to race him off the pace but things didn’t set up the way I planned leaving the gate. Still, all I had to do was shake the lines at him in the stretch. He was awfully good.”

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Driver Ken Williams is a ball of fire when it comes to the Fireball Series, the $8,000 final of which he won for the third time last week with He Has Rhythm. The 4-year-old gelding is one of the few free-legged pacers--he races without hobbles--on the grounds. Williams won the Fireball final previously with Browngate Mister and First Mate. . . . Driver Steve Wiseman, 28, won his first Los Alamitos race with Rewind Willie, a $43.20 longshot. Wiseman, a native of Bellingham, Wash., has been driving for three years after an apprenticeship under Joe Anderson.


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