Aged stars return in Meadowlands qualifiers

Profile Picture: Ted Black

Ted Black

March 4th, 2015

While thoroughbred racing fans are accustomed to following the workout tabs at the various tracks to see when the top three-year-olds and top older horses are posting their first breezes and drills before their seasonal debuts, standardbred racing fans have become accustomed to watching the morning qualifiers at various tracks.

This Saturday morning the Meadowlands in New Jersey will offer eight qualifiers - races that offer no purses and no wagering - that will help roughly 60 trotters and pacers prepare for the upcoming season. While there is no money on the line this Saturday for owners, trainers, drivers or bettors, the eight qualifiers feature some of the best older trotters and pacers in training and the group is card is virtually an early preview of the major stakes for the top free-for-all horses.

In the second qualifier on the card, Sevruga (Andy Miller) will compete in his second qualifier of the winter for trainer Julie Miller. The seven-year-old SJ's Caviar gelding won his previous qualifier on Nov. 26 at the Big M in 1:55.1. Last season he posted a 4-5-4 slate and earned over $185,000 and now sports a solid 30-19-10 slate and career earnings of nearly $1.1 million for "Team Miller" and the aged trotter could be poised for another good campaign.

Then in the fifth qualifier, Anndrovette (Tim Tetrick) makes her unofficial seasonal debut as she begins preparation for another stakes-filled campaign beginning with the Bluechip Matchmaker Series at Yonkers Raceway on March 20. Anndrovette, an eight-year-old Riverboat King mare trained by Jeff Bamond, Jr., shared the title of champion pacing mare last season with Rocklamation. But it marked the fourth straight year in which she has garnered the Dan Patch award for older pacing mare champ. She boasts 41 wins and earnings of over $3.1 million from 110 career outings.

Then in the very next qualifier, Bamond will send out another talented mare, Krispy Apple (Tetrick), who is also pointing for the Bluechip Matchmaker series. Krispy Apple posted a 3-5-4 slate and $180,000 bankroll from 24 starts last year and owns a 27-13-14 slate and $1.2 million in earnings from 92 career outings. Krispy Apple is one of only two mares in the group and will leave from post six just inside Rockin The House (Yannick Gingras) a Rob Burke trainee.

But the unquestioned "feature" on the morning program is the seventh which includes four talented aged pacers, one of which has already achieved legendary status.

Making his unofficial seasonal debut is Foiled Again (Gingras) the durable, venerable sort who continues to defy logic and time. Now at age 11 this Dragon Again gelding already owns numerous titles as champion aged pacer for Burke and he boasts an incredible 83 wins and record career earnings of $6.9 million from 224 lifetime tries. He has also finished second and third another total of 88 times and he will soon become the first horse of either gait to eclipse the $7 million plateau this spring.

Foiled Again will likely make his seasonal debut later this month in the George Morton Levy Memorial Series at Yonkers Raceway, as will fellow Burke trainees in this qualifier Annieswesterncard (Matt Kakaley) and Beach Memories. Aslan (Andrew McCarthy) who posted wins in the Open Handicap at Yonkers last fall and the A-1/Free-For-All at the Meadowlands for trainer Tony O'Sullivan.

Then in the final qualifier on Saturday, Burke trainees Bettor's Edge (Kakaley) and Clear Vision (Gingras) will also step onto the track for the first time this season. Bettor's Edge posted an 8-7-4 slate and banked almost $675,000 last year and sports 21 wins and $1.43 million banked in his 87-race career. Clear Vision posted a 6-7-6 slate and earned nearly $550,000 from 29 starts last season and boasts 29 wins and $2.3 million in earnings from 165 lifetime outings.

Looking to topple the Burke tandem on Saturday and throughout the season are Mach It So (Tetrick) and Lucan Hanover (David Miller). Mach It So posted a 9-4-1 slate and earnings of over $235,000 last year and he enjoyed plenty of success early in the season in the Levy series, which is likely the first stop for this Bamond trainee. He won two of his last three starts last fall, including a career best 1:48 score at Pocono Downs. Lucan Hanover showed flashes of brilliance at Yonkers in October for trainer Casie Coleman and is likely for the Levy series.