Day At The Track

Lindy's Tru Grit seeks to repeat in Chicago

05:49 PM 15 Nov 2013 NZDT
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Lindy's True Grit, harness racing
Lindy's True Grit

Lindys Tru Grit will be seeking his second consecutive victory on a Chicago oval when he steps behind the gate in Friday’s $110,000 Galt Stake for sophomore trotting colts.

Last week the son of Cantab Hall took a career record of 1:53.3 en route to capturing the $235,000 American National Three-Year-Old Colt Trot at Balmoral Park. Tim Tetrick steered the brown colt to his fifth seasonal victory for trainer Frank Antonacci, who conditions the youngster for his family’s Lindy Racing stable of Enfield, CT.

“That was my first American National win and very exciting,” said Antonacci. “We love racing in Chicago and I think it’s a great test for a horse to go to different venues, different sized racetracks and do well. It’s a good opportunity for us this late in the year.”

A winner of $291,924 in his career, Lindys Tru Grit came out of his American National victory in fine shape, Antonacci acknowledged.

“He seemed fine after the win,” Antonacci confirmed. “There’s only six days in between starts and he’s plenty fit, so all week we’ve just concentrated on keeping him happy and jogging.”

Lindys Tru Grit made only one start at two, but did take a qualifying mark of 2, Q2:00.1 in Lexington in late fall with his trainer at the lines.

“Last year he was always battling bad allergies,” Antonacci explained. “He had terrible skin allergies and then would get sick. He battled back and forth with this problem all year long and it was a real struggle to keep him healthy. When he was feeling okay, he would show quarters in :28, and those sparks of speed were enough for us to keep him over the winter and try him again this year as a three-year-old.”

In the end, Antonacci used an aggressive treatment to “de-sensitize him to his allergies.”

“Him getting better could just be a natural function of the aging process, too,” Antonacci admitted. “It’s hard to say. But it was really a troublesome issue to deal with.”

With his allergy problem behind him now, this year Lindys Tru Grit has secured victories in the $121,737 Simcoe Stakes at Mohawk; in the $75,000 Zweig at Vernon; and in a pair of Pennsylvania overnights—one at Pocono Downs and the other at Harrah’s Philadelphia — in addition to his Am-Nat triumph last week.

“He’s great gaited, doesn’t wear (trotting) hobbles, and goes with a low head,” Antonacci said. “He’s got a little attitude — but just the kind that you like to see a horse have. He’s a very comfortable horse to be around and to have around in the barn.”

Antonacci said he focused on getting Lindys Tru Grit confidence up early in the season, before sending him in against better horses.

“For a horse like him that didn’t race at two, I look at the first half of this season like I would a horse’s freshman season,” he stated. “I let him run through the ranks at Pocono and let him progress there. It wasn’t until the third or fourth leg of the Pennsylvania Sire Stakes that we started to get serious with him and he started to get confidence under his belt. He was also just a touch below the top horses but now is really coming into himself. He’s pretty fresh, especially for this late in the season.

Lindys Tru Grit has drawn post six for the Galt Stake, but Antonacci thinks his versatile sophomore will be able to handle the task over the twice-a-rounder.

“He’s got plenty of gate speed or can race off the pace,” Antonacci stressed. “I think whatever David (driver Miller) wants to do with him, he‘ll be able to with him. He can win on the front, be first-over, or race from off the pace. If he’s good, he’ll do it anyway he can.”

Antonacci, 30, has conditioned 307 winners to $7,233,078 in earnings, and driven 100 winners to $906,022. His family’s name is synonymous with the trotting gait, as they have owned some of harness racing’s finest diagonally-gaited specialists, including Speedy Crown, Lindys Pride and $5.5 million dollar earner Moni Maker, to name just a few.

A Boston College graduate, Antonacci first stepped into the spotlight in 2008 with the world champion Crazed, who earned more than $1 million at age three and won a Hambletonian elimination and finished second in the final. His other noteworthy trotters include Peter Haughton Memorial winner The Lindy Reserve and world champion filly Highscore Kemp. His father “Sonny” Antonacci established Lindy’s Farm in 1965, and to date the Antonacci family has assembled one of the finest trotting broodmare bands in North America.

by Kimberly Rinker for Maywood Park

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