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Ritchie's Hopes For Goodtimes

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Published: June 18, 2010 11:58 am ET

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If there would be an underdog winner or feelgood story in harness racing this year, it could come out of this year's edition of the Goodtimes Trot.

Trotting ace Trevor Ritchie, who is the only driver to have won this race on more than one occasion, has horses in each of the three eliminations for the $400,000E final. Two of those are for longtime friend Harald Lunde, who has battled health issues and adversity while training down colts the likes of Goodtimes hopefuls Hard Cider and Brother Glide.

"My choices had a lot to do with the trainer," Ritchie told Trot Insider. "I've known Harald for 10 years, we're good friends and he's done me a lot of good."

Ritchie and Lunde have clicked in the past with the likes of Banker Hall, Rotation, Cincinnati Kid, and Birminghim. With trotters the likes of these, it's easy to see why a driver could feel a sense of obligation even if that means picking off horses like Zorgiwjk Kingpin - which Ritchie did for Hard Cider (Race 1, PP8, 8-1) in the first elimination.

"He raced very well in his last start and closed super strong, not at all tired at the wire," said Ritchie of Hard Cider . "He shows some talent but he's going to have to crank it up another notch against these colts."

Lunde and Ritchie will also team up in the third elimination with Brother Glide (Race 4, PP1, 8-1), who, in Ritchie's words with respect to his stablemate, "will have to pick it up more than one notch" to make it into the final. Ritchie had the choice of Southwind Wrangler or Brother Glide.

"He's a big, strong, good gaited colt. I trained him a few times for Harald over the Winter and I loved the way he trained" stated Ritchie of Brother Glide, "but I thought he should have been more competitive in his last few starts."

Perhaps the dark horse among the entrants is Rock Hollywood (Race 3, PP2, 7-2), an Illinois-bred gelding who has six wins in 10 starts and has yet to finish out of the top three. Now in the care of Torgeir Hagmann, Rock Hollywood and Ritchie qualified together on May 13 at Mohawk. That mile, a 1:56.1 17-length winning effort, was followed up by an unstressed 1:55.1 seasonal debut at Mohawk on June 5.

"I really like him, in the qualifier he impressed me," said Ritchie. "He raced very well through the mile in his first start and I'm pretty convinced he hasn't reached the bottom yet."

With divisional heavyweights such as Lucky Chucky and Holiday Road not shipping North, Ritchie feels that the Goodtimes is a wide-open affair.

To view the entries for Saturday, click here.


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