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Hambletonian Within Reach For Ryder

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Published: July 13, 2011 7:01 pm ET

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Chris Ryder has never started a horse in the Hambletonian, but that could change this year with Charlie De Vie. Still, the longtime trainer is not focusing on trotting’s $1.5 million prestigious event, which is approaching quickly.

“It kind of crept up on me a bit,” Ryder said. “As a trainer, I just try to focus on the horse and leave it at that. If I’m going into the Hambo, I’m going into the Hambo. Obviously, it’s a big plus and I’m excited about it, but I’m just trying to concentrate on the horse more than the race.”

Charlie De Vie, who has won five of six races this year for owner Joie De Vie Farm, faces seven rivals in a $166,000 division of the Stanley Dancer Memorial on Saturday at Meadowlands Racetrack. It will most likely be his final start prior to the Hambletonian eliminations, also at the Meadowlands, on July 30. The $1.5 million Hambletonian final is August 6.

“He has the [New Jersey] Sire Stakes the following week, but if he’s good on Saturday it will be his last race before the Hambo elims,” Ryder said.

A son of Yankee Glide out of the mare Knickers Hanover, Charlie De Vie was purchased for $90,000 as a yearling (under the name A Gliding Star) at the Standardbred Horse Sale. He was fifth in last year’s $500,000 Peter Haughton Memorial and won a division of the Simpson Stakes this season at Vernon Downs as well as a division of the New Jersey Sire Stakes at the Meadowlands.

Charlie De Vie, who joined Ryder’s barn after his two-year-old campaign, has won six of 12 career races and earned $89,458.

“I liked him from day one,” said Ryder, who trained 2007 Trotting Mare of the Year Mystical Sunshine. “He’s a good looking horse and I knew he could go. I trained him down through the winter, which was uneventful, and here he is. He’s getting a little better as I race him, too.”

Charlie De Vie went off stride in his Earl Beal Jr. Memorial elimination race on June 18 at Mohegan Sun at Pocono Downs, but bounced back with driver Tim Tetrick to win the Three-Year-Old Open by three and three-quarter lengths over Fawkes in 1:54.2 on July 1 at the Meadowlands.

“Honestly, we don’t know what happened [in the Beal],” said Ryder, who drove Charlie De Vie in the Beal elim. “That was a little bit of a shocker. We didn’t expect him to make a break. We checked a lot of things out and couldn’t come up with much. He usually doesn’t make a break. It was a bit of a surprise. But he came back good. Tim was happy with him. Getting good reports from the driver helps.”

Saturday’s Dancer Memorial could provide a tough test for Charlie De Vie. His split includes Beal winner Dejarmbro, last year’s divisional champion Pastor Stephen and 2010 Breeders Crown winner Manofmanymissions, as well as stakes winners Broad Bahn, Live Jazz, and Luckycharm Hanover.

“That’s OK. That doesn’t worry me,” Ryder said. “I’d rather be in against good ones than easy ones because if they’re the ones you’re going to have to race against, you might as well race them.

“I’m happy with the horse I’ve got. I’m just trying to keep him good.”

Here is a look at the two $166,000 divisions of the Stanley Dancer Memorial, in post position order, with listed drivers and trainers.

Division #1
1. Live Jazz, Brian Sears, Scott Andrews
2. Broad Bahn, George Brennan, Noel Daley
3. Whit, Tim Tetrick, Homer Hochstetler
4. Charlie De Vie, Tim Tetrick, Chris Ryder
5. Dejarmbro, Trond Smedshammer, Smedshammer
6. Manofmanymissions, Andy Miller, Erv Miller
7. Luckycharm Hanover, David Miller, Thomas Haughton
8. Pastor Stephen, Ron Pierce, Jimmy Takter

Division #2
1. Mythical Hall, Yannick Gingras, Tony Alagna
2. Evil Urges, Jimmy Whittemore, Homer Hochstetler
3. Chapter Seven, Mike Lachance, Linda Toscano
4. Big Rigs, Tim Tetrick, Kelly O’Donnell
5. Big Sky Storm, David Miller, Chris Marino
6. Mr Web Page, Brian Sears, Roman Lopez
7. Pegasus Blue Chip, Ron Pierce, Blair Burgess


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

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