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Can My MVP Rise To The Top?

Published: September 4, 2013 7:02 pm ET

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Trainer Tony Alagna believed My MVP could hold his own against the best older trotters in North America.

After watching My MVP defeat Top 10-ranked Sevruga and Market Share last week at Harrah’s Philadelphia, he hopes the four-year-old is ready to prove him correct. My MVP will get that chance in Friday’s $214,000 Credit Winner at Vernon Downs in New York, where he will face a field that again includes Sevruga and Market Share, plus several other stakes-winning stars.

My MVP won the Winners Over handicap on Aug. 29 at Harrah’s Philadelphia, beating Sevruga by three-quarters of a length in 1:52.2. Market Share was third. Market Share is ranked No. 8 in harness racing’s Top 10 poll, followed by Sevruga in ninth.

It was My MVP’s fourth win of the season in 10 starts, and second victory in a row following a three-week layoff and a few equipment changes.

Last year, My MVP won the Kentucky Futurity -- one of the three jewels in the Trotting Triple Crown -- and earned $721,999 for Alagna and owners Brittany Farms, Joe Sbrocco and Modern Family Partners.

“He started off the year well, but then he just got on a streak where he wasn’t racing up to our expectations,” Alagna said. “I didn’t think he was sharp. We made some adjustments to the horse shoeing-wise and changed his bridle. We gave him a couple weeks off to freshen up and with those changes he’s come back and responded very well.”

In addition to winning the Kentucky Futurity last year, My MVP won two divisions of the Pennsylvania Sire Stakes and finished second to Magic Tonight in the championship. He was third in the Hambletonian behind Market Share and Guccio, with the three being separated by a neck, and picked up a paycheque in 19 of 21 starts.

The Credit Winner field features a group of multiple stakes-winners, including Market Share, who was last season’s three-year-old division champion in the U.S. after winning the Hambletonian, Canadian Trotting Classic and earning $2 million. This year, his three victories include the Maple Leaf Trot.

Sevruga won this year’s John Cashman Jr. Memorial and Arthur J. Cutler Memorial and Wishing Stone captured the Maxie Lee Memorial. Also in the field are Arch Madness, who is nearing $4 million in career purses, and Mister Herbie, who won last year’s Maple Leaf Trot.

Rounding out the field are Intimidate, who won last season’s Breeders Crown for three-year-old male trotters and was named Canada's division champion, and Guccio, who won last year’s Matron Stakes for three-year-old male trotters.

“It’s not that [My MVP] can’t compete at that level; we’ve been disappointed that he hasn’t been able to go at that level,” Alagna said. “He showed enough glimpses last year that I thought he would go to the next level at [age] four. Now he’s starting to show that he could be that kind of horse.”

My MVP, part of a three-horse entry with Market Share and Wishing Stone, will start from post two with Corey Callahan driving. The entry is 3-1 on the morning line, the second choice behind Arch Madness at 9-5.

Callahan will be the horse’s fourth different driver in his last four races. Mike Lachance drove My MVP regularly until August, when he had conflicts with drives at Lexington’s Red Mile. Tim Tetrick and Yannick Gingras also drove the horse, but Tetrick is committed to Market Share and Gingras to Wishing Stone for the Credit Winner.

“I think Corey is a nice fit,” Alagna said. “[My MVP] drew an inside post, which is nice over there. He’s tactical; he can leave or come off the pace. I think his best game would be closer to the pace. There are some nice horses in there, but if he races like he has been, he should be very competitive in that bunch.”

$214,000 Credit Winner Open Trot
#-PP-Horse-Driver-Trainer
1-2-My MVP-Corey Callahan-Tony Alagna
1A-3-Market Share-Tim Tetrick-Linda Toscano
1B-5-Wishing Stone-Yannick Gingras-Ron Burke
2-1-Arch Madness-Trond Smedshammer-Trond Smedshammer
3-4-Sevruga-Andy Miller-Julie Miller
4-6-Guccio-Jimmy Takter-Jimmy Takter
5-7-Intimidate-Ron Pierce-Luc Blais
6-8-Mister Herbie-Jody Jamieson-Jeff Gillis


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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