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“I Think He’s The Real Deal”

Published: May 10, 2018 10:02 am ET

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Mark Harder is hoping Wes Delight can provide a lot of joy this season.

The three-year-old male pacer will race this Saturday (May 12) in a $23,066 division of the W.N. Reynolds Memorial Stakes at Yonkers Raceway as he tunes up for a North America Cup bid next month. Last year, Wes Delight won three of 11 starts and earned $124,077 for owners Harder, Rick Phillips, and Deena Frost.

So far this year, the colt beat older horses in his seasonal debut and finished second to Dorsoduro Hanover in a division of the Pennsylvania Sire Stakes at the Meadows despite traffic trouble around the final turn.

“I think he’s the real deal,” Harder said. “He showed a lot of talent last year at 2, but just struggled with his gait a little bit. He’s come back good and strong this year. He was very good at the Meadows last week. He sat behind (leader) Pedro Hanover and he stopped and took us out of the race. But when he got free, he had a lot of pace late.”

Wes Delight is a son of Bettors Delight out of Maid West, a half-sister to stakes winner Gimmebackmybullets. Wes Delight was purchased for $55,000 at the 2016 Lexington Selected Sale. He is the 5-2 morning line favourite in his Reynolds division, which is the first of three for the three-year-old male pacers, and will have Corey Callahan in the sulky.

“He will have a couple of races before we head off to the North America Cup,” Harder said. “Big plans, but I think he can go with those horses. He’s not a big horse, but he travels like a bigger horse. He gets over the ground [well] and has good desire. He’s got a personality and is just a nice horse to be around. He’s just a happy horse.”

Harder also will send out horses in the other two Reynolds divisions, 4-1 Iluvtomakemoney in the third and 12-1 Major Offense in the second.

Iluvtomakemoney, a son of Well Said out of millionaire Symphony In Motion, has won six of 15 career races and heads to the Reynolds off a victory in a division of the Pennsylvania Stallion Series. He has earned $93,901 lifetime and is owned by breeder Joseph Jannuzzelli. Tim Tetrick will drive the gelding.

“He’s just a good little hard-hitting horse,” Harder said. “He’s not overly abundant in talent, but he goes to the races and makes money. He’s always right there. We’ll keep him away from the big boys. You’re better off being a big fish in a little pond than a little fish in a big pond.”

Major Offense, who is eligible to the upcoming Art Rooney Pace at Yonkers, won twice in his first three races this year but is winless in three starts since then. For his career, the son of Art Major-Northwestern has won two of 12 races and earned $29,056 for the same ownership group as Wes Delight. George Brennan will drive Major Offense; his first opportunity in the bike behind the gelding.

“It seems like he’s tailed off a little bit, like he doesn’t really like it (at Yonkers) much,” Harder said. “We decided to give this race a shot and I made a driver change just to see if it made a difference. He’s just not getting away in good spots and he’s gapping off. We’ll see if George can light a fire in him a little bit and get him involved.

“How he races will determine whether we go to the Rooney or not. It’s doubtful at this stage.”

Rob Harmon’s Kwik Talkin is the 5-2 morning line favourite in the second Reynolds division and Harmon’s Mach N Cheese is the 5-2 choice in the third.

In addition to the Reynolds action for the boys, Yonkers hosts three divisions for the three-year-old female pacers as well.

First race post time is 6:50 p.m. (EDT).

(USTA)


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