Summer Camp Tackles Next Winter Series

Published: February 3, 2011 08:21 pm EST

Summer Camp, whose lengthy winning streak got snapped last week, looks to rebound in the first leg of the Exit 16W Series on Friday night at Meadowlands Racetrack


Summer Camp had won six straight races, including a career best 1:49.3 in the Escort Final, before his defeat as the favourite in the $62,600 Clyde Hirt on January 29. He left hard to take the lead but folded at the three-quarter pole and faded to fifth as Meirs Hanover roared to victory.

"I was very disappointed with him last week," said his trainer, Josh Green. "He was used pretty hard from post 10, but he was done early anyway. I scoped him because I thought he might have been sick, but he wasn't. He scoped clean. I wasn't going to enter him this week. He actually tied up, so we put him on a program to address that. Hopefully, he'll be better this week. I really like the horse. He's got a lot of try to him. He's not the greatest gaited going slow, but his 1:49.3 mile in the Escort Final served notice."

Summer Camp will face Meirs Hanover again Friday night in the second of two $20,000 Exit 16W divisions on the card. Rated at 7-2 on the morning line, he will start from post six in the third race with Andy Miller in the sulky. Co-owned by Larry Baron and the VIP Stable, the son of Rocknroll Hanover-Roman Art reached the winners circle nine times in 23 starts in 2010, earning over $80,000.

"Larry Baron bought Summer Camp as a yearling [for $28,000 at the Standardbred Horse Sale in Harrisburg, PA]," Green said. "John Butenschoen had campaigned him as a 3-year-old. John went to Florida, so I got him [at the end of October]."

Green will also send out Shacked Up in the opening round of the Cape & Cutter Series for open mares on Friday night. She will start from post five in the first of the two $40,000 divisions, race five, also with Andy Miller in tow.

The five-year-old daughter of Western Terror-Sapphire Dawn was a $140,000 purchase by Baron at the November 2010 Mixed Sale at Harrisburg. As with Summer Camp, Vip Internet Stable also bought into the mare. A career winner of $1,166,177, Shacked Up earned more than $876,000 as a sophomore in 2009. She banked $131,190 last year.

"We went there with the intention of buying her, and we got lucky," Green said. "We thought she'd go in the $200,000 range. We were actually bidding against broodmare buyers. She had a back leg that was huge so a lot of trainers shied away from her. My veterinarian was there, and he said it was just a bump and not to let it scare us. She's got a million on her card and a mark of 1:49.4. I like her a lot. She's not real big, a little grabby, but has a lot of speed."

A dominant trainer in his home state of Delaware, Green has 50 horses stabled between Dovington Training Center in Fulton and Winner's International in Chesterfield, NJ. His partnership with Larry Baron began with Big Business, who won the 2007 Matron Final at Dover.

"Larry Baron was active buying some 20 yearlings [last fall]," he said. "I've got four for him here, and about 13 or 14 in Florida. Those horses will get divided up among other trainers, but I'm going down there next week to take a look at them. Having good owners like him behind you is everything in this business.

"I'm down a little as far as top end horses go," he continued. If I could expand, that's where I would head. Of course, it's hard to get those kind of horses. I would take one top three-year-old or even a free-for-aller. You always want more, better quality, but I can't complain. I'm a blue-collar guy. I race a lot of claimers, and it's kind of tough because of the lingering uncertainty at the Meadowlands. I'm optimistic. I love racing there and Jeff Gural [who has negotiating rights to lease the track] is great for the business. Everything seems to be going in the right direction."

In 2010, Green cracked the nation's top five with $4,031,819 in earnings and 257 wins. He won his sixth training title, and fifth in a row, at Dover Downs, where he currently leads the standings.

"We were down a bit last year, but it wasn't a bad season," he said. "I didn't have quite as many starts in 2010 [1,209 vs. 1,336 in 2009], but I did well at Yonkers and Chester. We barely hit $4 million, and I'm actually a little disappointed because we had such a big year before."

Drennan, Miller In The Sulky This Weekend

Trainer Nik Drennan will be the featured In The Sulky guest on Friday night at Meadowlands Racetrack.

Drennan will recap Alexie Mattosie's stunning upset in the Presidential Final last week and also discuss his starters for the weekend. Fans can e-mail questions for Drennan to answer on-air to [email protected]. The broadcast begins at 6:30 p.m. on the Paddock Level television set and also airs live on Click Live Video under the Racing menu and choose a connection speed to watch.

On Saturday, David Miller will take the hot seat to discuss his driving choices on the card and more.

(The Meadowlands)