Day At The Track

Two-year-olds move into Meadowlands spotlight

08:11 AM 01 Jul 2015 NZST
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New Jersey Sire Stakes
New Jersey Sire Stakes

MANALAPAN, NJ - June 30, 2015 -- Harness racing two-year-old New Jersey-sired trotters and pacers step into the spotlight on Friday night, July 3, 2015 at the Meadowlands.

Fifty are entered to go postward in six New Jersey Sire Stakes races on the card, most of them making their pari-mutuel debuts.

Twelve trotting colts and geldings have been split into two $20,000 divisions, carded as the second and fourth races. Each features a trainee from the Ron Burke trainee: Southwind Frank in the second and Southwind Flash in the fourth. Both are coming off of victories in qualifiers at Gaitway Farms on June 22.

Southwind Frank, a son of Muscle Hill out of the mare Flawless Lindy, won in 1:55.3 over a track labeled "good."

"He was very good and he was very good in his first qualifier [finishing second]," Burke said. "He's funny. He was a horrible colt all the way until 2:30, but he's just gotten better and better. The faster you go, the better he gets. He couldn't trot in three minutes to save his life. He was horrible gaited and didn't have a great attitude. But every time we trained him he got a little better and then at like 2:30 it clicked.

"He's been a completely different horse since then. Either we were doing a very bad job at first or we're doing a great job now," Burke told Harness Racing Communications. "Horses learn at their own rates. You can push them all you want; some of them are going to do it quick, some you're going to have to wait on."

Southwind Frank was purchased as a yearling for $100,000 at the Lexington Selected Sale, which was to the colt's benefit.

"He was a $100,000 baby so we didn't just cut him loose," Burke said. "I thought I had to give him a chance, and I kept making stakes payments, and worried I was throwing just good money after bad, but for once it worked out."

Southwind Flash, a son of Muscle Hill-Friendly Amigo, won his qualifier in 1:58.4.

"He's a real horse, too, I think," Burke said. "He's just got to mind his manners. Today [June 22], he was good. He let somebody go, he came back; he had multiple moves. He did everything you're looking for in a horse."

A field of eight pacing fillies vying in the $25,000 first race while 10 pacing colts and geldings will face off for $25,000 in the fifth race. All are offspring of the late Rocknroll Hanover, except LL Jackpot who is by Philos Hanover

The largest response came from trotting fillies with two 10-horse $20,000 divisions - the sixth and ninth races. All are daughters of Muscle Hill or his sire, Muscles Yankee.

After two weeks of preliminary legs, the finalists will meet in $100,000 championships on July 17, 2015.

--Quotes & Photos courtesy of Ken Weingartner, Harness Racing Communications

By Carol Hodes for the SBOANJ



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