Farber Reflects On Racing

Published: May 10, 2021 10:10 am EDT

Breeder/owner Scott Farber of Runthetable Stables admires horses with a competitive spirit. It comes as no surprise given that Farber was a fierce competitor as a pitcher at William Paterson University, where he was an All-American and still owns the best career win percentage (.952, 20-1) and earned-run average (2.13) in school history.

Scott Farber when playing for William Patterson University (Photography by Steve Smith and Phil Mazzo Jr.)

Farber’s top moment came in 1992 when he helped WPC to the NCAA Division III national championship. Farber tossed a six-hit complete game in a 3-1 victory over California-Lutheran, striking out the side in the bottom of the ninth inning to clinch the title.

“The only thing I really like to see from my horses is heart,” Farber said. “I like to have horses in my stable that want to race, that want to compete, because that’s what I was. I was a competitor. I like that quality in my horses.”

Farber’s introduction to racing came through his father, Sandy. Father and son would spend their weekends together going to the New York City-area tracks. His dad eventually got involved in harness racing as a horse owner when Farber was in his mid-teens.

“I loved it so much, being a part of it, that I asked to get a job on the backstretch at The Meadowlands,” Farber said. “I got a job with (trainer) Alan Kirschenbaum and my interest in horses only got greater from there.”

The first horse to impact Farber’s life was a female pacer named Steady Margaret.

“I spent a lot of time in the stall with her, a lot of extra time, just loving on her and her loving on me,” Farber said. “I had a real connection with that horse. I really enjoyed her. She was a lot of fun to be around. She hooked me immediately on horses.

“I rooted for her when she would race, but the connection we had one-on-one was more important to me than how she performed on the track.”

If Steady Margaret ignited Farber’s love for the sport and horses, pacer Run The Table cemented it. Run The Table was Sandy Farber’s best horse, winning 14 of 24 races and $904,022 as a three-year-old in 1987. He was the first horse to defeat future Hall of Famer Jate Lobell, snapping the colt’s win streak at 18, in a race at The Meadowlands.

“Seeing my father’s success with Run The Table only made me want to do more,” Farber said. “I was only 17 years old when that was going on. Just to be a part of that, 50 people in the winner’s circle and the excitement before the horse races, the adrenaline rush, I fell in love with it.

“Jate Lobell was an outstanding horse. For us to knock him off for the first time, it’s a feeling I’ll never forget. But Run The Table gave us a lot of those type feelings. He was a tough one. He was in with a tough group of horses, but every week he came to play. Run The Table certainly was a competitor.”

Sandy Farber died in 2004, but Scott continued in the sport. He got his first taste of his own Grand Circuit success as an owner with the trotter Opening Night, who was third in the 2011 Hambletonian and was a Pennsylvania Sire Stakes champion.

In the mid-2010s, Farber started a small breeding operation. It pushed his stable to new heights last year when homebreds Next Level Stuff won the Breeders Crown for three-year-old trotting fillies, Hobbs captured the New York Sire Stakes championship for three-year-old trotting males, and Take All Comers won on the Grand Circuit in an event two-year-old trotting males.

Hobbs winning the 2020 New York Sires Stake Final for three-year-old trotting males

Farber’s Runthetable Stables, which in 2020 topped $1 million in earnings for the first time, was nominated for Breeder of the Year by the U.S. Harness Writers Association. Brittany Farms captured the award.

“It was an unbelievable experience,” Farber said of the nomination. “But I don’t do this alone. I’ve had a lot of help. I work with Joell Arnold from Turbot Acres in Pennsylvania. She handles all my broodmares and does a fantastic job. She’s a big part in the breeding success that my stable has been fortunate enough to have.

“There are two other people that I really lean on, and whose opinions I really respect, and that’s Steve Stewart and Dr. J (Dr. Bridgette Jablonsky). They have been extremely receptive to my questions, phone calls, emails, my smoke signals, you name it. They’ve really been great. I would not have had the success I’ve had without a lot of luck and without their input.”

Farber also has a longstanding relationship with trainer Jim Campbell, who began training horses for his father with Run The Table in 1987.

“I feel that when you work with the best people, you’re going to get results,” Farber said.

When Farber won the national championship at William Paterson, after the game he jumped into the stands and gave his father the game ball.

“That was the most satisfying feeling that I got out of it,” Farber said. “I wasn’t the greatest kid growing up. I wasn’t in any major trouble, but I was a little difficult to deal with. I kind of feel like that wiped the slate clean between us for all I put him through.”

After Farber watched Next Level Stuff win her Breeders Crown last October, his father again was foremost on his mind.

“My father was my idol, I think I made that pretty clear,” Farber said referring to his comments in the winner’s circle following the filly’s victory, when he stated:

“My stable is named after my father, who I loved with all my heart. He was my best friend in the entire world. I just miss him so much and I hope that I made him proud.”

Next Level Stuff is back racing at age four and Farber knows it can be a difficult transition for horses when they have to race against older foes. Farber has no expectations, but also knows his mare possesses his favorite quality.

“She is a real competitor,” Farber said. “She wants to race. She wants to go a hundred miles an hour at all times and I admire that. She gave me a thrill of my lifetime and nobody can take that Breeders Crown away from her. I’ve watched the video of that race hundreds of times. If it shows a thousand views, 976 of them are mine. It was a wonderful feeling.

“To me, everything now with her is icing on the cake.”