Day At The Track

Big plans for Chris Ryder duo

05:31 AM 06 Oct 2017 NZDT
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This Is The Plan, Harness Racing I'm A Big Deal, Harness Racing
This Is The Plan
Nigel Soult Photo
I'm A Big Deal
Nigel Soult Photo

Freehold, NJ --- With a horse named This Is The Plan, it stands to reason that harness racing trainer/co-owner Chris Ryder would have a plan for the 2-year-old male pacer.

He does. Stay healthy, race well, and head to the Breeders Crown.

Of course, the plan is the same for Ryder’s 2-year-old male pacer I’m A Big Deal.

“That’s what we’re hoping as we speak,” Ryder said. “We’ll see what transpires. They’re in a good spot, they’re doing well.”

Both horses won Bluegrass Stakes divisions last week and return Saturday to Lexington’s Red Mile for divisions of the International Stallion Stakes. There are four International Stallion divisions for colts and geldings and three for fillies.

Saturday’s Red Mile card also includes the $136,000 Allerage Farms Open Trot and $119,000 Allerage Farms Open Pace.

Maple Leaf Trot winner Hannelore Hanover, who is making her Lexington debut, leads a group of nine in the trot. The 5-year-old mare is one of three former Dan Patch Award honorees in the race, with JL Cruze and Pinkman. Rounding out the field are Crazy Wow, Mambo Lindy, Centurion ATM, Crescent Fashion, Homicide Hunter, and I Know My Chip.

All Bets Off, coming off his win in the Hoosier Park Pacing Derby, is among the 10 horses in the pace. He drew post No. 10 in a field that includes former Dan Patch Award winners McWicked and Boston Red Rocks. Completing the field are Manhattan Beach, Split The House, Easy Lover Hanover, Dealt A Winner, Mel Mara, Check Six, and Wakizashi Hanover.

This Is The Plan is in the first International Stallion division. The gelding has won two of nine races and earned $149,149 for Ryder and co-owner Robert Mondillo. He has hit the board a total of seven times, including four second-place finishes.

Purchased for $90,000 at the Standardbred Horse Sale, This Is The Plan is a son of Somebeachsomewhere out of the mare That’s The Plan. His dam is a half-sister to stakes-winner Loving Caroline, who is the mother of Dan Patch Award winner Divine Caroline, and his family also includes Hall of Famer Western Hanover.

“We didn’t really want to geld him, but we had to,” Ryder said. “He was jumping all over the place.”

I’m A Big Deal has won three of eight races and earned $55,010 for Ryder, Mondillo and Craig Henderson. The colt’s three wins have come in his most recent five starts.

“He just took a while to come around, even though he’s doing fine now,” Ryder said. “He just took a while to become a racehorse. He just needed a little time. I believe he will keep improving. He’s still getting a few things together. He’s a bigger, heavier horse. It just took him a while to get his ducks in a row.”

I’m A Big Deal is a son of Somebeachsomewhere and the first foal out of the stakes-winning mare Big McDeal. He was purchased for $300,000 at the Lexington Selected Sale.

“He was a lot of money, but that’s OK,” Ryder said. “Those were good races last week. We drew well again (for Saturday) and they’re staying healthy here. We’ll see how it goes.”

In addition to the Breeders Crown later this month at Hoosier Park, both horses are eligible to November’s Matron Stakes and Governor’s Cup.

Click here for Saturday’s complete Red Mile card.

by Ken Weingartner, Harness Racing Communications

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