'Idol' Ready To Roll Saturday

Allamerican Idol, a bargain purchase who has blossomed under patient handling, bids for his second

Meadowlands stakes title this season in the $132,000 final of the Four Leaf Clover Saturday night.

The Complex Series champion, trained by Tom Fanning, is rated at 10-1 on the morning line from Post 3 in the Four Leaf Clover for older pacers. He faces a competitive field which includes Aquarius winner Southwestern Dream, Rocknroll Band and Its That Time, who scored in 1:49.4 last week.

After being scratched from the first leg of the Four Leaf Clover, Allamerican Idol finished fifth last week off a pylon-skimming journey. “He had an abscess in his foot and he had missed about four days of track work,” Fanning said of the scratch. “I felt that he didn’t have enough training that week leading up to the race. We got him good and sound to make this final. This time of year you see a lot of quarter cracks and abscesses. I call it a blacksmith’s dream. Last week, in the second leg of the Four Leaf Clover, he sat in and kind of got shuffled. In the stretch, he didn’t get a lane until late. Brian (driver Brian Sears) said the horse was very good and didn’t get a chance to get rolling.

“I think six or seven horses could win [in] the final,” he continued. “Our horse is pretty handy, so we can obviously leave from our inside post [three] and get a good spot. He’s proven that he can kick home, and of course Brian knows him like a book. He should be better than he was last week. Southwestern Dream and Its That Time complete my chalky exacta.”

Allamerican Idol was a modest $2,900 purchase in June of his two-year-old season from trainer Scott Norris. “Scott trained him down at Pinehurst and I had some babies with him at that time,” Fanning explained. “I was going down there to train him myself every few weeks and he was very good. He had been in about 2:18 and I asked if he was for sale. I approached one of my longtime owners, Joseph Smith, and I recommended him. Scott said that his dam, Art With Heart, always threw some runty looking kind of horses, but Allamerican Idol was the first one that really looked like a racehorse.”

The son of Pro Bono Best made just six starts as a two-year-old. Though he was a consistent money earner as a sophomore, it was not until his four-year-old season that Allamerican Idol began to blossom.

“He made breaks and it was very frustrating,” Fanning said. “He was very fast, would go a good mile, then make another break. I kept telling Mr. Smith this horse had speed, he was very fast and to be patient. Last year, about midway through the season, he started to come around, and he won in 1:50.2 at the Meadowlands. We gave him a lot of time out in the field when the Meadowlands closed last summer. He had two months off and that really helped him. He finished off 2008 winning two in a row, and we got him ready for the Complex Series.

“He came right out with a career best of 1:50.1 in round one of the Complex Series,” he continued. “We thought we had the best horse in that series, and Brian Sears basically just kept him out of trouble. He controlled each race of that series on the front end and the horse was able to kick home strong.”

After the Four Leaf Clover, Fanning will point Allamerican Idol toward the $250,000 Graduate for open pacers on May 16 at the Meadowlands.

“These days I think it’s more about managing and targeting for these events,” he noted. “There are a lot of opportunities, but the racing is a lot harder than it used to be. We’re a lot like thoroughbreds now where you have to pick your spots. You try to keep them from getting too beat up.”

Fanning, 50, is stabled at Gaitway Farms in Englishtown, New Jersey. A Jersey City native, he got his start in the racing business walking 'hots' at the Meadowlands. Though he switched over to harness horses when the meet changed, he still enjoys handicapping the races at Monmouth Park in the summertime.

“We have 23 horses here and five two-year-olds down at Pinehurst, South Carolina with Scott Norris,” he said. “I had my first million-dollar season two years ago and the last couple of seasons, things have picked up for me. We’re having a good year so far, percentage wise at the Meadowlands (22 win percentage). If a horse can’t do well there, we try to race them to their strength on smaller tracks. There’s a certain toughness you have to have to be a legitimate Meadowlands horse.”

$132,000 Four Leaf Clover

H, PP, Horse, Driver, Trainer, Odds
1, 1, Camshaft Hanover, Eric Goodell, David Pinkney, Jr, 15-1
2, 2, Its That Time, Daniel Dube, Mark Kesmodel, 5-1
3, 3, Allamerican Idol, Brian Sears, Tom Fanning, 10-1
4, 4, Lookout Hanover, George Brennan, Kevin McDermott, 12-1
5, 5, Get Out Of Dodge, Andy Miller, Mark Harder, 10-1
6, 6, Southwestern Dream, John Campbell, Bruce Saunders, 7-2
7, 7, Haverford Hanover, Ron Pierce, Mark Kesmodel, 15-1
8, 8, Lucky Man, Tim Tetrick, Casie Coleman, 9-2
9, 9, Rocknroll Band, David Miller, Ken Rucker, 5-2
10, 10, Dontloseyourdayjob, Yannick Gingras, Monte Gelrod, 20-1