Day At The Track

Shartin N sharp in qualifier

07:18 AM 02 Oct 2019 NZDT
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Shartin N, Harness racing
Shartin N
Lisa photo

Shartin N, the No. 1-ranked horse in harness racing's weekly poll, returned to action for the first time in a month on Tuesday, winning a harness racing qualifier in 1:52.3 at Harrah's Philadelphia with trainer Jim King Jr. in the sulky.

Following the race, regular driver Tim Tetrick texted King's wife Jo Ann and asked how big King was smiling when he came off the track.

"It was pretty good, you betcha," a laughing King said. "I never thought I'd drive a horse like her and I'm just thankful to have my hands on her now, for sure. She's pretty special."

King last drove Shartin N in a qualifier on Jan. 10, 2018 as the New Zealand-bred mare prepared to make her North American debut. At the time, Shartin N was known as much for her rambunctious behavior as for her potential. Since then, Tetrick has been credited with helping the 6-year-old develop into a more relaxed racehorse.

"She was really pleasing," King said about her qualifier on Tuesday. "Her manners have changed an awful lot since I drove her last. Timmy's handling has made a difference in her. She was just very kind out there and that's a long way from where we started. She did everything she was supposed to."

Shartin N was sidelined because of sickness but is ready to resume her chase for $1 million in seasonal earnings. She has won 14 of 15 races this year (with a current 13-race win streak) and banked $826,427 for owners Richard Poillucci, Jo Ann Looney-King, and Tim Tetrick LLC.

Last year, Shartin N became the first mare in harness racing history to reach $1 million, finishing the campaign with $1.05 million. She is being pointed toward Sunday's Allerage Mare Pace at Lexington's Red Mile, the Breeders Crown at Woodbine Mohawk Park, and the TVG championship at The Meadowlands to complete her 2019 season.

Shartin N, who won 19 of 24 races last year, was the 2018 Dan Patch Award winner for best older female pacer and runner-up for Horse of the Year to male pacer McWicked.

"Hopefully she can end up with over a million (dollars) again and we sure would like to be on the stage with her as Horse of the Year," King said. "But we know we have to finish up the year good. It's a big wish.

"She doesn't appear to have any health issues now, everything seems good. We gave her good recovery time and she got a good mile before her race coming up, so we feel pretty good about that. We're just hoping to finish up the year the way we started and get the old girl some notoriety and try to enjoy it."

The “first half of the Daily Double”  qualifiers was won by 2018 Yonkers International winner Cruzado Dela Noche, in likely his last prep before defending his title at the Gotham oval on Saturday, October 12. The son of Muscle Massive sat third at the race’s midpoint, then came his own last half in 56.2 to post a 4¼ length victory in 1:55.2. Marcus Schoen, who recorded his first lifetime driving victory at Philly last week, handled the horse for trainer Marcus Melander.

by Ken Weingartner, for the USTA

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