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'Desire' To Make It Three Straight?

Published: November 18, 2010 11:51 am ET

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Coming off back-to-back scores in the $127,000 American National elimination and final at Balmoral Park, Let It Ride Stables, Robert Cooper Stables and Angie Nessa’s Mystic Desire will look to close out his 2010 campaign with a third straight victory when he squares off with eight other two-year-old pacing colts in Friday’s $116,700 Abe Lincoln Stakes, which closes out the Friday night stakes action as Race 9 on the 14-dash program.

In one of the most impressive performances on the American National night program last Saturday, the son of Real Desire--Cannes Festival demolished his rivals in route to four and a quarter-length romp in 1:53.3 with Tim Tetrick at the controls.

Despite heading right into the teeth of a 20 mph wind on the wide-open far turn, Mystic Desire put things to rest with a wicked :28.1 third quarter. It helped him open up an insurmountable lead on his rivals which were struggling to keep up at that point.

“I know how the wind can affect horses on that turn since I grew up driving here,” said Tetrick. "There’s no grandstand or buildings to block any of it around that bend and you never know how some of these young horses will react to it. He was pacing perfectly though so I just let him keep rolling and simply paced away from them on that turn.”

A bargain buy for just $15,000 in the Lexington Select Sale, the Shawn Nessa trainee comes into Friday’s Abe Lincoln Stakes with a record of eight wins, one second and two thirds in 12 starts. Along with his win in the American National, the good-looking bay colt has captured a division of the Bluegrass Stakes, a division of the Elevation Stakes and several Pennsylvania Sire Stakes.

“We started pretty early with him on the Pennsylvania Sire Stake circuit and he faced some pretty tough horses there,” said an excited Nessa after the colt’s American National score. “I’ve always tried to keep him fresh though and he’s been good from day one for us. He was as sharp in the American National as he has been all season long. I’m really anxious to see him on Maywood’s half-mile oval because he’s perfectly gaited and I think he’s going to get around it very well. That will be his last start of the year and then he’ll get a well-deserved couple of months off and hopefully come back even better as a three-year-old.”

Flex The Muscle Looks To Do Just That In Galt Trot

Looking to live up to his name, Flex The Muscle, the winner of a division of the Old Oaken Bucket on Jug Day at Delaware, has been installed as the 8-5 morning line favourite for Friday’s $97,900 Galt Stakes. The event for three-year-old trotting colts has been carded as Race 5 on Maywood Park’s biggest night.

One of many great trotters developed over the past few years by conditioner Ray Schnittker, the son of Muscles Yankee--Alix Hall was a $140,000 Harrisburg yearling purchase and has more than paid his way with a career bankroll that now sits at $436,001 for the partnership of Schnittker, Jerry Silva and the Arden Homestead Stable.

Whereas many trotters seem to struggle on half-mile ovals, Flex The Muscle, who is a full brother to the 2002 Dan Patch Award winning filly Pizza Dolce, seems to excel on the smaller surfaces. His winning time of 1:54.4 in the Old Oaken Bucket was the fastest mile trotted by a sophomore colt on a half-mile track this season.

“He’s a very good horse and he showed it that day in Delaware,” said Schnittker. “He’s always done well on a half-mile track winning some New Jersey Sire Stakes, the Dexter Cup and the Charles Smith Memorial at Freehold which is where he set the track record.”

Those sire stakes victories seemed to instill a lot of confidence in Flex The Muscle who went on to five straight victories this season before struggling recently against the very best in the business in the Breeders Crown, Kentucky Futurity and Matron Stakes.

Although those troubles could be a bit of a concern for some, driver Tim Tetrick who will be handling the driving duties does not seem the least bit worried about the current form of Flex The Muscle.

“I’ve only driven him once before but I know he’s a very, very talented trotter,” said Tetrick. “Everything that Ray (Schnittker) sends out for these big races is always sharp and ready to roll. For a trotter to go as fast as he did in Delaware that day was just an amazing effort. I’m sure he’ll show up at his best on Friday night.”


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