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The other day a New Jersey life insurance salesman traveled out to Colts Neck, N.J. to pay an unwanted call on harness horse driver Carmine Abbatiello. After an exchange of sharp words, Abbatiello screamed, "I'm gonna turn my dog loose on you if you're not out of here by the time I count to 10."
"But Carmine..." pleaded the insurance salesman.
"Two, four, six, eight, 10," bellowed Abbatiello. And with that, he did turn loose his dog, Gus, a Rottweiler so mean that he snarls at the rising sun, and the race was on. The salesman vaulted atop his car just in time, leaving Gus to go nuts down below.
This vignette in the high-speed life of Abbatiello, one of his sport's best drivers, speaks volumes. You may have noticed that he counted to 10 by twos; Abbatiello prefers not to waste time and is always looking for an edge. And you may have noticed that he turned his dog loose. Abbatiello is solid brass and doesn't make idle threats—or boasts.
How good are you, Carmine?
"Oh, I'd say on a scale of 10, I'm an eight."
Only an eight?
"Yeah, but there aren't any nines or 10s."
So you're the best?
"Well, when you're good, you're good."