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Swick Shoots For Stakes Sweep

Published: May 28, 2009 8:49 pm ET

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Trainer Don Swick has a busy weekend ahead as he sends out his stable stars in a pair of rich stakes races.

On Saturday night, Special Sweetheart will go to post in the $200,000 New Jersey Sire Stakes Championship for three-year-old pacing fillies at the Meadowlands, while Lanson bids to upset Lucky Jim in the $250,000 Maxie Lee Memorial at Harrah’s Chester on Sunday.

Special Sweetheart drew post 10 in the NJSS filly championship, which is co-featured with the $200,000 final for sophomore colt and gelding pacers. A recent addition to Swick’s barn, Special Sweetheart is rated at 3-1 after a career best 1:50.4 victory in the second leg of the sires stakes on May 22.

“Special Sweetheart has been with us just a month,” Swick said. “I don’t really know why [trainer] Tom Artandi stayed in Florida, but he did and sent this filly to us. Tom pretty much had her ready to go and we have not changed a thing.
“She’s really an impressive filly, and it’s a shame she drew post 10 for Saturday’s final,” he continued. “I think if she can somehow get into the middle of the pack without getting used too hard, and get a positive flow, things could work out anyway. She was really strong last week coming uncovered as quickly as she did. She just blew right on by those fillies on the final turn and that level of speed showed a lot.”

The daughter of Western Ideal - Ladys Special has won six of 15 career starts and $215,000 for the 4 For 3 Stable of Bronxville, NY. The filly also has the $200,000 Thomas D’Altrui Miss New Jersey on June 13 on her calendar.

Lanson, who won the Su Mac Lad Final at the Meadowlands earlier this season, will tackle the formidable Lucky Jim in the $250,000 Maxie Lee Final for free for all trotters at Harrah’s Chester Sunday. He will start from the rail in the final after winning his elimination race in 1:53.2.

“He was confident winning his Maxie Lee elimination last week and he’s really good on a five eighths mile track,” he said. “The rail is not a really good place because you can’t leave real sharp, but last week he got a perfect trip. We got to pick our post, and I thought maybe we might want to be a little farther outside to get a chance to leave since he can’t leave real fast. In the end, we took the rail to save ground.

“Lucky Jim looked awesome last week [equaled the track record of 1:52.2], and he looked great on that five eighths mile track there,” he continued. “He hasn’t been asked to trot at all yet. If he makes the front, and we get left uncovered, we’ll have no shot. If somehow we can get in front of him we might be able to give him a good race.”

Lanson’s next stakes engagement is the $200,000 Titan Cup on July 4 at the Meadowlands.

“Lanson got off to good start for us [at the Meadowlands],” he said. “He’s raced really well and made some good money. I thought he’d be good in the Su Mac Lad Final [when he rallied to a $57.20 upset in a lifetime best of 1:53 back on April 10]. He prefers the cooler weather. He felt really good to that point and hadn’t had a decent trip. He was really only trotting a quarter of a mile each race. That was actually the best trip he was finally able to work out. He was close enough where he could reach them, and he got a chance to get through. It was absolutely a great drive by Mike Lachance. He needed that consistency because he’d had too many different drivers. The horse had been leading up to an effort like that.”

Ohio native Swick, 59, trains a dozen horses stabled at Continental Farms in New Egypt. His resume includes several world-class trotters and pacers, including millionaire filly Cam Swifty, who defeated Worldly Beauty in the Breeders Crown and Mistletoe Shalee in a stakes record 1:50. He also campaigned $800,000-earner Fast Photo, who won the Valley Victory Final as a freshman and the Breeders Crown in his final career start.

(The Meadowlands)

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