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"He’s Never Been Better"

Published: May 30, 2013 3:25 pm ET

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A horse sporting a resume that boasts 57 career victories and over $1.7 million in purse earnings usually strikes at least some level of fear into his competition. When the horse's trainer goes on the record as saying "He’s never been better," the competition usually can't help but take notice.

Those are the words of trainer Mark Harder, in reference to Golden Receiver. The eight-year-old hasn't taken part in a pari-mutuel tilt since earlier this month, but his conditioner couldn't be happier with the way he is heading into Saturday's TVG Free For All at the Meadowlands Racetrack.

The son of Village Jove captured a leg of the TVG Free For All at the Big M on May 11, and the 35 points each victory awards toward determining berths in the final.

Golden Receiver has had three weeks off, which should not be an issue given his history of coming back strong after a freshening. Harder thought about the Dan Patch at Hoosier Park last weekend before deciding to keep his star closer to home.

“We went out there last year and he got sick,” Harder said. “He’s a horse that stays away from small tracks. He looks great. He feels great. He was not over raced as a young horse. I’m not amazed but I’m happy that he’s still doing it.”

Golden Receiver has proven that he thrives at the Meadowlands, having captured a second consecutive Presidential Series final this past winter. The gelding was superb at the Big M in 2012, as he won the Graduate, the U.S. Pacing Championship and the William Haughton Memorial. Harder expects another terrific effort on Saturday.

“He hasn’t lost a step,” Harder told the Meadowlands Racetrack's publicity department. “I actually worked him up pretty good on Tuesday morning and I was very happy with him. I came in and said to the grooms, ‘He’s never been better.’

“It’s all racing luck, and what can happen. The way he worked the other day, I’m very confident the others have their hands full.”

Golden Receiver, who will have Tim Tetrick at his controls, will start from Post 7 on Saturday and has been installed as the 2-1 morning line favourite. The field also includes Sweet Lou, the winner of the Meadowlands’ Maturity, and a trio of talented four-year-olds that will be facing Golden Receiver for the first time (Pet Rock, Dynamic Youth and Bettors Edge).

The $500,000 final of the TVG Championship for Free-For-All pacers will take place November 30 at the Big M.

Big Saturday Night on tap at the Meadowlands

Anndrovette and Economy Terror top the divisions of the $183,400 Golden Girls for the Free-For-All pacing mares on Saturday night at the Meadowlands Racetrack, which will offer a stakes-laden 14-race card.

In addition to the Golden Girls and the aforementioned TVG leg, there will also be a quartet of $150,000 New Jersey Sires Stakes finals for three-year-olds. First post is 7:15 p.m.

In the first Golden Girls division, Anndrovette is the 6-5 choice in the morning line.

The champion older pacing mare the last two seasons in the U.S., Anndrovette had a brutal trip on Sunday in the $250,000 Betsy Ross at Harrah’s Philadelphia. Parked every step, she attacked the ambitious pace set by Drop The Ball. Anndrovette held on gamely, beaten only two lengths.

She has the outside post in the six-horse, $90,450 division that includes an uncoupled pair from trainer Ron Burke: Bettor B Lucky and Ginger And Fred, a career winner of over $1.8 million.

Economy Terror won the Betsy Ross at odds of 9-1. Her early assessment in the morning line for this week's tilt in the second Golden Girls division is 5-2.

Economy Terror was both lucky and good in the Betsy Ross, sitting right behind Drop The Ball as that rival fended off constant pressure. Economy Terror took the inside path in the stretch, scooting through for a three-quarters of a length win over Rocklamation, who is also in this $92,950 division.

The champion two-year-old filly pacer in 2011, Economy Terror will start from Post 5. Tim Tetrick will drive the favorites in both divisions of the Grand Circuit stakes.

The NJSS finals are sprinkled with horses nominated to the major Meadowlands events later in the season. One of the most intriguing is Smilin Eli, a perfect two-for-two in his brief career heading into the final for colts and geldings. Another victory at the Meadowlands could be a springboard to the $1.2 million Hambletonian on August 3, the closing day of the Meadowlands' Championship Meet.

(With files from the Meadowlands)

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