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Muscle Hill Prepping


Published: March 9, 2009 3:01 pm ET

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After some well-earned time off, Muscle Hill, widely acknowledged as one of the early-season favourites for the Hambletonian, is back on track.

“He’s doing very well,” trainer Greg Peck was quoted as saying in a Harness Racing Communications article. “He had 30 days of turnout at Southwind Farm (co-owners of the colt with Thomas and Louis Pontone and Jerry Silva). He came back in great shape from Southwind. I read about every three-year-old, how much they (trainers) say they grew and they filled out, but (trainer) Harry Harvey told me one time that from yearling year until they’re fully grown, they grow about 10 per cent. He’s right about that.

“Yes, he did get a little taller and a little wider, but it’s not like he was out in the field and came in a size bigger. He grew some, but I don’t want to exaggerate it. The other reason they come in a little wider is because they haven’t worked, so they’ll be a little fatter, too.”

Peck is stabled at White Birch Farm, near Allentown, New Jersey, where Muscle Hill gets paddock time every day.

“But I’m going to stop that soon, because I’m not a big turnout guy,” Peck said. “You have to be careful with them, especially at a public training centre where there are other horses out next to them. Remember, there were a lot of good horses around in the days that they all stabled at the racetrack and they didn’t get turned out. He was not turned out during his racing season at all last year.”

Peck is looking about 10 weeks down the road for the 2009 debut for the son of Muscles Yankee.

“He won’t start until Memorial Day or after,” Peck said. “I don’t have the schedule in front of me, but that’s usually when the New Jersey Sire Stakes for three-year-old trotting colts starts, that Monday (the first round is Memorial Day, May 25). It will be then or after, might be the second round or something like that.

“That’s why I like the New Jersey program so much, because you have access to the Meadowlands. If he was not a New Jersey-bred, you wouldn’t have that. You’d have to go elsewhere and I feel very strongly about the Meadowlands. So that’s what he’ll do; he’ll qualify a couple of times and then go from there.”

(Harness Racing Communications)

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