Punters were stunned into silence at Caymanas Park yesterday following a huge upset by LARUSA at 95-1 in the seventh race over 1300 metres for five-year-olds and up, non winners of two.Ridden by 4.0kg claiming apprentice Jerome Innis for trainer Rudolph Hardial, the six-year-old mare, whose form over the past year had been dismal, to say the least, emerged from the doldrums to hold off 4-5 favourite OMEGA and 9-5second favourite GIRSHOMin a driving finish. This ensured there would be carryovers to Saturday in both the Pick-9 and late Super-6.Both the jockey and trainer werepleasantly surprised despite not being too optimistic about the chances of LARUSA based on her indifferent form.Hardial disclosed that the chestnut mare by Tracking out of Yourpointismade finished lame in her last race behind Awesome Marque over the straight ($180,000 claiming) on January 31, but got significantly close (91/2 lengths ninth) that day and he anticipated an improved performance.”I told the rider to put her in the pace from early and see where it takes her. When I saw her in front entering the straight, I knew then that she could hold on and just barely made it. That’s the nature of racing … a horse can throw the form out the window at any time and surprise everyone,” said Hardial, who had his fair share of challenges with his string of horses in recent times.FIFTH CAREER WINInnis, a past student of Eltham High in St Catherine, said he rode LARUSA to the trainer’s instructions and things just fell into place.”She turned for home full of running with Omega in chase and responded well to the right hand stick for the victory,” said the 27-year-old apprentice, who notched up his fifth career win since graduating from the Jockeys’ School last September.On a day when top jockeys Dane Nelson and Shane Ellis rode two winners each, the 2014 champion sprinter POTCHEEN, running on strongly at odds of 5-2 with Jevanne Erwin aboard, out-finished the highly-fancied PUDDY POOH by half a length over the straight to win the open allowance feature in the good time of 57.2.
Vanacore, as mentioned earlier, is a top-rated television composer and the man behind the music for such successful shows as “Survivor,” “The Apprentice,” “Joe Millionaire,” “Nanny 911,” “Big Brother,” “The Contender” and “American Chopper.” In fact, Vanacore has been dubbed by television music insiders as “The King of Reality” and he humbly accepts his role in creating this new genre of music. Neumann has traveled the world singing for big bands, presidents (inaugurals for Presidents Reagan and Nixon), the Governor’s Ball at the Emmy Awards, at Disneyland and for movies and television shows. She recorded and released a CD of her own titled, “This is My Lucky Day.” Indeed, that is what Neumann was thinking when she got word Vanacore’s recording of the Blessed Kateri Children’s Choir was the one chosen for the new show. The “Are you Smarter Than a 5th Grader?” song can be heard throughout the broadcast, (look for the credits at the end of the show) and has even received some air time on the radio. Eleven-year-old choir singer Sidney Haefs, a fifth-grader at Mountainview Elementary, was thrilled with the experience and says she wants to pursue singing as a career. “I think we all did a good job, and we thank David and Madeline for the opportunity,” Sidney said. It must be noted here, that while only nine of Neumann’s choir students perform the theme song, the choir, in its entirety performs at many outside events, such as the Westfield Mall, Lombardi Ranch, and the Saugus High School Christmas Boutique. In addition to Haefs, other choir members who recorded the song include, Reilly Anspaugh, Hahna Brubaker, Giulia Faretta, Carley and Krista Fredrickson, Korinna Gee, Angie Meza and Emily Vanacore. The choir’s achievement is particularly meaningful, because it coincides with the commencement of construction on a new 1,000-seat church. Up to now, Mass has been held in a 10-year-old multipurpose room, and the choir has had to rehearse and perform in less than optimum conditions. When the producers of Fox Television’s breakout hit “Are You Smarter Than a 5th Grader?” went about casting voices for the show’s theme song, did they choose a) members of the Vienna Boys Choir b) children from the Blessed Kateri Tekawitha Children’s Choir in Santa Clarita or c) Hollywood cartoon voice-over actors who specialize in children’s voices. If you selected b, you may be smarter than a fifth-grader! Here’s what happened. Blessed Kateri’s choir accompanist, David Vanacore, a musician whose repertoire includes a number of television shows, came up with a catchy tune he felt would capture the fun and spirit of a fifth-grader. Step two. He asked longtime cohort and parish choir director, Madeline Vergari Neumann, to help him record the composition. To that end, Neumann gathered up three sixth-graders, five fifth-graders and one fourth-grader for the task. The nine students gathered and sang like songbirds at Vanacore’s recording studio, and three hours later, Vanacore was ready to submit his demo. But he still had to wait a couple of weeks to see if his rendition was chosen, because other composers had submitted music and lyrics as well. Says Neumann, “I told the kids no matter what happens, this is a great experience for them to be in a recording studio and this is something you will always remember. We never thought they would pick us, but they did!” Both Vanacore and Neumann are accomplished musical professionals who give generously of their talents by providing the liturgical accompaniment for the Sunday 9 a.m. Mass. Nevertheless, “It has been so rewarding for me to work with all the children that have come through the choirs in the past eight years,” Neumann said. Adding, “I remember when I was their age, a choir director had such an influence on me that I knew that music and singing was going to be my profession for life. After recording two CDs with our choirs, `Christmas Time Is Here’ and `Walking By Faith,’ and personal appearances with the kids and now this TV show, it has been a wonderful experience that these kids will never forget, whether they decide to make music their life or not. I have had so many talented kids in my choir over the years, that it will be interesting to see what each of them do in their lives.” She also praised Vanacore. “Working with David has been such a pleasure that I feel lucky that he ended up at Blessed Kateri Church. There is such a musical connection that I feel blessed. I also appreciate all the freedom I have been given by the church to create a music program that can grow for you years to come. God has been looking down on us!” Vanacore shares Neumann’s sentiments. “Having this show be such a big success for me is sharing it with the kids in the choir and with Madeline. The theme has been submitted for an Emmy, so keep your fingers crossed…and say your prayers.” And come what may, these talented choir members will never forget the following verse: Are you smarter than a fifth-grader? `Cuz there’s gonna be a test later. Teacher, teacher, now we’re back in school. Are you smarter than you used to be? Are you smarter than a fifth grader? Grab a pencil and a piece of paper. Teacher, teacher, now we’re back in school. Are you smart enough for the fifth grade? Madeline Vergari Neumann is the choir director at Blessed Kateri Takewitha Catholic Church in Valencia. She posted this story May 1 on the Santa Clarita hub on valleynews.com. 160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set!