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Trainers Weigh In On Series Contenders

Published: January 26, 2011 7:04 pm ET

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Trainer Taylor Gower has traveled a long road with pacer Freddy Day Hanover, who is in the $62,600 Clyde Hirt series final at the Meadowlands on Saturday. Gower has trained the four-year-old since owner Sam Demchak purchased the son of Artiscape for $15,000 at the New Jersey Classic Sale as a yearling.

Until recently, Freddy Day Hanover was a work in not-too-much progress. His three-year-old season was two-for-29, with $43,340 in earnings, most of those in off-the-board finishes in the New York Sire Stakes. But this year, things are looking up. Freddy Day Hanover has a win in conditioned company, along with a fourth and fast-closing second in the first two legs of the Hirt series. In his most recent start, he paced the last quarter fastest of all, in :27, at 22-1 odds to finish second to Meirs Hanover.

Gower thinks there’s reason for optimism.

“Absolutely,” he said. “He surprises me every time he races. I had lost some confidence in him as a three-year-old, but he really looks good as of late. As a two-year-old, he got injured close to the season, so he missed his two-year-old year. We brought him back as a three-year-old and he would make breaks; it was really kind of a headache getting him straightened away. When we finally figured out his issues, he was a step behind everyone else.

“We went through the whole year and it turned out, he just wanted to be a gelding,” Gower added, laughing. “Once we gelded him [in early summer 2010], it was almost immediate. He started pacing all the time and not making breaks. The problem was, he was just a step behind by the second or third sire stakes and he just couldn’t catch up with the other boys. He came back and he’s kind of on an even par with the group he’s racing with. Each time, I kind of still hold my breath when he goes behind the gate. When you have a pacer that races really good and then makes a break, you’re never sure.”

Freddy Day Hanover has a win and three second-place finishes in seven starts at the Meadowlands.

“He’s just the easiest horse in the world right now,” Gower said. “He doesn’t hardly train at all. He goes out and jogs and goes out in the field every day. When he gets to the racetrack, he goes out there and looks really sharp.

“It looks like he’s got a super shot this weekend.”

Summer Camp, trained by Josh Green and driven by Andy Miller, won his first two legs in the Hirt series and has won six in a row dating to last year and seven of his last eight. Summer Camp, who will start from Post 10 in the final, is owned by Larry Baron and VIP Internet Stables.

Highland Rocks and Sniper Seelster also won Hirt first-round divisions.

Ron Pierce will drive Freddy Day Hanover in the final. He will be Freddy Day Hanover’s fourth different driver at the Big M.

“If [Freddy Day Hanover] can sit close to some of the other horses out there and go at them late, it seems like he’s got the guts to fight it out with him,” Gower said. “It’s just been a little tough to fight it out with them. We’ve been having a little trouble finding a driver for him every week. Jimmy Marohn’s done a great job with him and Andy Miller did a good job with him. It’s just tough sticking with one guy up at the Meadowlands right now.”

Here is the field in post position order: Buckeye In Charge, No Monkeys Allowed, Freddy Day Hanover, Royal Cam-Hall, Diablo Seelster, Sniper Seelster, Highland Rocks, Meirs Hanover, Touch The Rock, and Summer Camp.

St Elmo Hero Looks To Keep Streak Alive In Complex

St Elmo Hero, the one-time claimer who is undefeated in 22 career starts, will start from Post 5 for driver Tim Tetrick and trainer Charles Eustis III in Saturday’s $65,000 Complex series final at the Meadowlands.

The five-year-old, who was unraced until last year, won his first two outings in the Complex series. He won last week by two lengths over Windsong Gorgeous in 1:50.1 with a :26.4 last quarter-mile. The previous week he won by 1-1/2 lengths over Windsong Gorgeous in 1:50.3.

St Elmo Hero won races in Illinois, Indiana and Pennsylvania prior to making his last three starts at the Meadowlands. He has earned $165,000 for owner John Barnard.

Here is the field for Saturday’s Complex final in post position order: Unicorn Hanover, Born To Rockn Roll, Thunder’s Fury, Code Word, St Elmo Hero, McClelland, Urgent Action, Windsong Gorgeous, Southern Allie, and Get It Now.

Older Pacers Meet In Presidential Final

Vlos, who is a nose from being undefeated in four races this year, leads a field of 10 older pacers in Saturday’s $127,000 Presidential series final at the Meadowlands. He is coming off a 1-1/4 length win over Western Shore in his Presidential division last week. Driven by Brian Sears for trainer Eric Mollor, he was timed in 1:50.1.

Owned by Nancy Spaziani, the seven-year-old Vlos has finished no worse than second in nine consecutive races and has hit the board in 18 straight starts dating to last August. He has won a total of 16 of 36 races and earned $282,828 in 2010-11.

Last week’s other Presidential division was won by Alexie Mattosie – and Bettor Sweet. The two finished in a dead heat for first place. Western Shore and Real Celebration won opening-round divisions.

Here is the Presidential field in post position order: Alexie Mattosie, Golden Receiver, Vlos, Schoolkids, River Shark, Bettor Sweet, Blatantly Good, Handsome Harry, Western Shore, and Real Celebration. River Shark, Handsome Harry, Western Shore, and Real Celebration are an entry.

Miller Entry Favoured In Super Bowl

Trainer Julie Miller’s entry of Dolce Ducci and Ellens Isle was established as the 2-1 favourites for Thursday’s $58,000 Super Bowl series final at the Meadowlands. Dolce Ducci, to be driven by Miller’s husband, Andy, is two-for-two this year. He is coming off a 4-3/4 lengths victory in his division of the series last week. He won in 1:55.4. He won his opening round by 4-1/2 lengths in 1:57.1.

The Andy Miller Stable owns Dolce Ducci. He was purchased for $30,000 at the Tattersalls Mixed Sale last August.

“He showed some talent and he looked good at the sale,” Julie Miller said recently. “Andy and I thought he would be a nice complement to our barn. We have no long-range stakes plans with him. As long as he is trotting soundly, we’ll keep racing him each week at the Meadowlands.”

Ellens Isle, a mare, was beaten by a neck by Zeitgeist last week. She won her opening Super Bowl division by six lengths in 1:55.3. John Campbell will drive in the final. She is owned by Joseph Krizan, Jason Allen and Douglas Allen.

“She is very fast,” Miller said. “The only issue is her getting a little over excited when she races. She is the real deal. It is hard for a mare to go with the likes of Buck I St Pat, but I think it is attainable that she steps up. Right now, though, I am just hoping to get through this series.”

Zeitgeist, driven by Brian Sears and trained by Henrik Lundell, is 4-1 in the morning line. Lundell co-owns the horse with Peter Barbato. They purchased Zeitgeist for $20,000 at November’s Standardbred Mixed Sale.

The horse has won five of six starts for Lundell.

“As long as I’ve had him, he hasn’t let another horse pass him,” Lundell said. “He broke once [in a conditioned race on December 3, 2010] when he got a little rough near the end. He’s certainly caught the winning habit, yet he hasn’t got too hot. He's really nice to drive. He can race from anywhere. He’s very versatile and I like that. He seems to be getting better every week. He’s the star of my barn right now. It’s great to win races at the Meadowlands because that’s when people see you.”

Zeitgeist will start from post No. 1. The rest of the field in post position order is Fortissimo, Dolce Ducci, Willie Count, Ellens Isle, Doully, Political Muscle, Jeanie Marie, Alcarine, and Monsignor Flan.


This story courtesy of Harness Racing Communications, a division of the U.S. Trotting Association. For more information, visit www.ustrotting.com.

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