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Invoking The Might Of Secretariat

Published: July 19, 2013 9:32 am ET

Last Comment: July 19, 2013 11:48 am ET | 1 Comment(s) | Jump to Comments

“I watched the movie Secretariat, it was so inspirational. Eddie Sweat spent 16 or 18 hours a day with Secretariat; he never left the horse’s side. I thought, if I ever had a good horse, I would name him for Eddie Sweat, and this is by far the best horse I’ve ever had.”

When Eddie Sweat leaves from post 4 in Saturday’s second elimination for the $600,000 (est.) Delvin Miller Adios at The Meadows, he’ll be invoking the might of one of the greatest Thoroughbreds of all time. That’s because he’s named for the groom of Secretariat as well as his Kentucky Derby-winning stablemate, Riva Ridge.

Ed Zubkoff, Jr., a Michigan native who recently relocated to The Meadows, picked up Eddie Sweat — then known as Pancake Hanover — for the bargain price of $10,000 at the 2011 Hanover Adios Yearling Sale and had a chance to profit on the purchase before leaving the tent.

“Two people offered me $20,000 for him before I’d even signed the cheque,” Zubkoff recalls. “I could have made $10,000 right there. Thank goodness I didn’t do it. He’s sturdy and rugged and looks beautiful on the track.”

Eddie Sweat’s pedigree suggests he can develop the talent needed to compete at racing’s top levels, as Popcorn Penny banked $624,539 in her career and won the 2000 Breeders Crown at 3, the year she took the Dan Patch Award for sophomore pacing fillies. (Wasn’t Secretariat’s owner named Penny Chenery? Hmmm.) He also boasts a lifetime mark of 1:50.3 earned this year in a NW5 at The Meadows.

“It’s a strong maternal family, so I plan to breed him to all our mares,” Zubkoff said.

For all that, Zubkoff knows Eddie Sweat has his work cut out for him. His only stakes victory this year came in a PA Stallion Series event against lesser competition than he’ll face in the “Pace for the Orchids.” Moreover, in his two most recent starts — a PA AllStars division and a Hanover split at Balmoral Park — he finished well up the track.

“He was sick for those starts, full of mucous,” said Zubkoff, who trains the son of Allamerican Native-Popcorn Penny and owns him as part of LaSalle Racing Group. . “He’ll be sharp now.”

Even though Eddie Sweat will be sent off an underdog, Zubkoff doesn’t expect driver Brett Miller to duck and hope for a minor award.

“He loves The Meadows, so he has the home-field advantage,” Zubkoff said. “He’s going right to the front because they can’t beat him out of the gate. They’ll all come at him and what happens, happens.”

And if Eddie Sweat and his beloved "Big Red" are helping from on high, what happens might be special, indeed.

The Adios elims go as Races 6 and 7, with first post at 6:55 p.m. The Adios Day card July 27 begins at 12:20 p.m.

On July 20, The Meadows, in association with HorseTourneys.com, will conduct a “Pick & Pray” handicapping contest, with the winner earning a berth in the 2014 World Harness Handicapping Contest. (Those interested in registering or learning more should visit the Web site horsetourneys.com and check out the free past performances at TrackMaster.)

In addition, in cooperation with the United States Trotting Association’s Strategic Wagering Program, The Meadows will offer a Pick 4 (races 4-7) with a guaranteed $7,500 pool.

(Meadows)

July 19, 2013 - 11:48 amGo get them Mr. Zubkoff and

Go get them Mr. Zubkoff and good luck


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