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Harder Discusses Major Betts

Published: July 9, 2020 3:55 pm ET

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This Saturday (July 11), Major Betts will be making his first Meadowlands Racetrack appearance of the season, as he will be contesting the lone elimination for the 2020 Meadowlands Pace.

The Mark Harder-trained colt prepped with qualifiers at Gaitway Farm and Harrah’s Philadelphia before winning his only 2020 start in the New York Sire Stakes at Tioga Downs on June 28. In that race, Major Betts defeated favourite Splash Brother by three lengths in 1:49.4, the fastest mile of the young season by a three-year-old on a five-eighths-mile track.

“I trained him Tuesday morning and I thought he was super,” Harder said. “I couldn’t be happier with him.”

Harder had an opportunity to accept one of the two byes for the Meadowlands Pace, but decided against it. “I couldn’t be off three weeks going into the final, that would not make sense at all,” Harder said. “He needs the work.”

Major Betts, a son of Art Major out of Southwind Johanne, has won five of 12 lifetime starts and $153,390 for owners Harder, Joseph Jannuzzelli, and Deena Rachel Frost. His wins last year included divisions of the International Stallion Stakes and Tompkins-Geers.

“He was just always fast, he was just beautifully gaited,” said Harder, who won the 2004 Meadowlands Pace with Holborn Hanover. “He was a colt that had one of those gaits that he just didn’t work at it. He did everything pretty easy.

“A couple of times last year he did some silly colt things. This year, he acts more professional. He drives like an old horse. It’s probably a little bit of rigging, a little bit of growing up, a little bit of everything. Hopefully it’s a bit of good management. It might just be good luck.”

Harder wouldn’t turn down any good luck in the upcoming weeks.

“A lot of (the three-year-olds) are very impressive,” Harder said. “Tall Dark Stranger and Papi Rob Hanover are very good, Allywag Hanover has been very impressive. They’ve been racing at the Meadowlands and times there have been crazy.

“We beat a horse that looked pretty impressive, Splash Brother. It’s a completely different class, but it shows we’re there and we’re competitive. Tall Dark Stranger and Papi Rob Hanover are the two standouts for sure, but there are a lot of really, really good horses. Nothing is easy.”

Major Betts, pictured victorious at the Red Mile in 2019 during International Stallion Stakes action.

Racing will begin at 7:15 p.m. (EDT) at the Meadowlands on Saturday. The 13-race card also includes $250,000 Graduate Series finals for four-year-old pacers and trotters and divisions of the Reynolds Memorial for three-year-old trotters.

2020 Meadowlands Pace Elimination
(Post - Horse - Listed Driver - Morning Line Odds)
1 - Major Betts - D. Dunn - 9-2
2 - Captain Barbossa - A. McCarthy - 5-1
3 - Tall Dark Stranger - Y. Gingras - 3-1
4 - Manticore - J. Stratton - 15-1
5 - Captain Kirk - D. Dunn - 10-1
6 - Roll With JR - T. Tetrick 10-1
7 - Mocha On The Rocks - S. Zeron - 20-1
8 - Catch The Fire - M. Wilder - 15-1
9 - Capt Midnight - A. McCarthy - 8-1
10 - Papi Rob Hanover - D. Miller - 7-2


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