Day At The Track

Trainer Mike Deters' first Crown trip is 'Ideal'

03:48 AM 18 Oct 2018 NZDT
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Mike Deters, harness racing Ideal Feeling, harness racing
Mike Deters
Skip Smith photo
Ideal Feeling and driver Jason Bartlett
Paul White photo

As trainer Mike Deters prepares for his first start in the Breeders Crown, he's got a good feeling about Ideal Feeling.

Deters sends out Ideal Feeling in Saturday's first of three $25,000 eliminations for 3-year-old male pacers at The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono. The colt is out of the family of Hall of Famer Rainbow Blue and a three-quarter brother to stakes-winner Zero Tolerance, who races Friday in an elimination of the Breeders Crown 2-year-old filly pace.

Ideal Feeling and driver Tim Tetrick start their elimination Saturday from post two in a field of seven. The field also includes Adios winner Dorsoduro Hanover, Max C. Hempt Memorial champ Springsteen, and Carl Milstein Memorial winner Thinkbig Dreambig.

The top-three finishers from each elim for the 3-year-old male pacers return Saturday (Oct. 27) for the $527,500 final.

"I'm pretty excited," said Deters, a Florida resident who is in the state's harness racing Hall of Fame and also operates a stable in upstate New York during the summers. "I think he will put in a very good effort. I think he can go with them. Is he an absolute contender? I think he has to have a trip to do it. I don't think he can do the heavy lifting, but he's shown where he can be highly competitive with them."

Ideal Feeling, by American Ideal out of Feelinglikeastar, has won six of 18 races in 2018 and hit the board a total of 12 times for Deters and owner Rick Berks. His most recent five starts featured a three-race win streak, which included the consolation final of the New York Sire Stakes, before finishing fifth in a division of the Bluegrass Stakes and sixth in a division of the Tattersalls.

In the Bluegrass he finished 1-3/4 lengths behind winner Stay Hungry. In the Tattersalls, he was a parked-out first in an opening quarter-mile of :26 and second through three-quarters in 1:20.1.

"He'd never been three-quarters in 1:20 before and I think it was a little more than he could handle," Deters said. "Hopefully he'll come off of that with a good effort (Saturday).

"He's only gone a couple shaky races all summer," Deters added about Ideal Feeling, who in his five most lucrative races this year never started inside of post six. "I would say post position had a lot to do with it. It wasn't really that he raced bad, he just really didn't have any luck. This is the first time we've had a favorable post position when we've had a chance to go for money, so hopefully it pays dividends."

Ideal Feeling got a late start last year at age 2, debuting with a third-place finish at Vernon Downs in mid-October. He only raced three times last season, capping his brief campaign with a win in a conditioned class at The Meadowlands.

"He had some issues early where we didn't know if he was even going to make the races," Deters said. "I got him straightened out and he qualified real well here at Pocono. At Vernon, he paced the back half in like 54 seconds and just raced tremendous. Right then we knew he was a pretty nice horse."

Deters, who is stabled at Tioga Downs during the summer, is more than pleased with Ideal Feeling's development.

"There is nothing not to like about him," said Deters, who has won four training titles at Tioga. "He's a big, good-looking, great gaited colt. He's got gate speed, he doesn't mind coming first up, he's great off a helmet, he's a perfect gentleman; he has no faults."

The second elimination for 3-year-old male pacers includes Meadowlands Pace and Little Brown Jug winner Courtly Choice as well as Tattersalls division winner American History. The third elim finds returning Breeders Crown champion Stay Hungry, whose victories this season include the Cane Pace and Messenger Stakes, plus North America Cup winner Lather Up (a supplemental entry for $62,500) and Tattersalls division winner Grand Teton.

Racing begins at 7 p.m. (EDT) Saturday at Pocono. For the night's complete entries, click here.

by Ken Weingartner, for the Breeders Crown

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