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Ideal Matters Steps Into Spotlight

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Published: June 14, 2010 7:38 pm ET

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Woodstock’s loss was his stablemate Ideal Matters’ gain.

Ideal Matters won one of three $100,000 Burlington Stakes divisions on June 12 at Mohawk Racetrack, beating Stonebridge Tonic by 2-3/4 lengths in 1:50.1 in a final tune-up for Saturday’s Pepsi North America Cup eliminations.

But it was only after Woodstock’s sixth-place finish in the June 5 eliminations for the Anthony Abbatiello New Jersey Classic at the Meadowlands that Ideal Matters’ connections decided to send Ideal Matters to the Burlington. Had Woodstock advanced to the $500,000 Classic final, which also was June 12, Ideal Matters would have remained home in New Jersey.

“We were going to give (Ideal Matters) a couple weeks off and maybe just qualify him,” said Noel Daley, who trains both horses in New Jersey before sending them to Mike Vanderkemp in Canada. “Then when Woodstock didn’t make the Classic final, and we were going to send him up anyhow, we thought we might as well send Matters up there too. They’re going to go (1):50 in a qualifier anyway, so you might as well get a check.”

Ideal Matters earned $50,000 for owners Brittany Farms, Adam Victor & Son Stable, Melvin Hartman and Island View Partners; essentially the same ownership group as Woodstock.

Woodstock finished fifth in his Burlington division, which was won by Keystone Raptor in 1:50.3.

Ideal Matters, a son of Western Ideal-Art Matters, was purchased as a yearling for $60,000 at the Lexington Selected Sale. His grandmother is world champion Hit Parade and his family tree includes millionaires Mystical Maddy and Lotta Soul. Ideal Matters was unraced as a two-year-old, but debuted in February and made a splash by winning four of his first five races, including the $67,000 Matts Scooter Series final. He has won six of nine starts and $144,057.

“He had a little paddock incident (last year) and he came in a little ouchy, which cost us a little bit of time,” Daley said. “It put him behind schedule and then it was getting a little late in the year to have a serious crack at the good ones, so rather than chase them, I was lucky I had a group of owners willing to put him away and try again.

“We always liked the horse. You don’t know exactly what quality they are until they get there. That’s why we had to start him earlier (in the year), to kind of find out what we had. You hope you’ve got the goods, but you don’t know. Can they go (1):50? Can they go (1):48? There’s a big difference.

“You’ve got to try to keep your feet on the ground a little bit because you see it time and time again when one comes out in those early series and you think you’ve got something special, but no matter how flashy you look, you just never know until you’ve got to race the genuine horses. It appears he’s made the jump.”

Prior to the Burlington, Ideal Matters finished third behind Rock N Roll Heaven and Shoobees Place in the $200,000 New Jersey Sire Stakes championship at the Meadowlands on May 29.

“I was a touch disappointed he was only third in the New Jersey Sire Stakes final, but he’s come a long ways,” Daley said. “He didn’t get the foundation of the others from getting their starts last year. It looks like we haven’t seen the bottom of him, and that’s good. If he’s not in the top two or three (of the division), he’s not far off them from what we’ve seen so far.”

Entries for the $1.5 million Pepsi North America Cup will be accepted until 10:30 a.m. Tuesday. The elims are June 19 and the final is June 26 at Mohawk.

“I think it’ll be a very interesting weekend to see which ones put their best foot forward,” Daley said.

In addition to Ideal Matters and Woodstock, Daley will be sending another highly regarded pacer north. All Speed Hanover, who won five of seven races last season, including the $720,860 Breeders Crown to prevent Sportswriter from completing a perfect campaign, will be heading to Ontario on Tuesday for the Pepsi North America Cup.

All Speed Hanover is coming off a second-place finish, beaten by a nose by BGs Folly, in the $500,000 New Jersey Classic on June 12 at the Meadowlands.

“He kept running out – that was his fault – but the other horse (BGs Folly) was very good and held on to beat us,” Daley said. “(All Speed Hanover) used to wear a pole on the outside and was trying to get away without using it. We’ll just put it back on. It doesn’t appear to be a lameness issue. I’d have liked to pick it up, but I’m not devastated he got beat. He got beat an inch and the other horse raced really good. The Pepsi North America Cup and Meadowlands Pace are the two races he needs to be ready for.”

All Speed Hanover has won six of 10 career races and earned $636,968 for the Adam Victor & Son Stable and John Fielding.

“I’ve been real happy with him,” Daley said. “He digs in when he has to; that’s the important thing with him. He’s a little more relaxed this year than last year. He’s a quality horse. We’ll see if he’s the best one.”

This story courtesy of Harness Racing Communications, a division of the U.S. Trotting Association. For more information, visit

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