TODDLER’S PIGGYBANK TO INCREASE

08:20 AM 07 Feb 2007 NZDT
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My Boy David went a long way in funding young David Joseph Riff’s college education when he picked up the $250,000 second-place paycheck in last year’s $1 million Meadowlands Pace.

He will try to add to the piggybank of his two-and-a-half-year-old co-owner this season, beginning with the Aquarius Series on Saturday night at the Meadowlands. Trained by Homer Hochstetler, My Boy David will start from the rail in race three, the first of two $35,000 Aquarius divisions for four-year-old open pacers on the card. The three-week series concludes with an estimated $75,000 final on February 24.

David Riff is part owner – and namesake – of My Boy David, who was purchased for $9,000 by longtime horse owner Shirley LeVin at the Cottonwood Sale in August 2004. David is the 16th of 18 grandchildren for Shirley and her husband, Arthur. The LeVins decided it would be a nice birthday present to name the horse after their daughter’s first child and to make him a half owner.

Although he had only four wins in 2006, My Boy David hit the board in 17 of 24 starts for an impressive bankroll of $610,075. In his only two starts at the Meadowlands last year, he finished fourth in his Pace elimination and took home his biggest paycheck of the season when he finished second behind Artistic Fella in the $1 million final. The colt’s accomplishments also included a victory in the $180,000 Phil Langley at Balmoral, a second in the $250,000 Windy City Pace at Maywood and a third in the $450,000 Hoosier Cup at Hoosier Park.

"He had a pretty good year,” Hochstetler said. “He was very strong and made every race we put him in. He was never beaten by that much. It was a good campaign. He did not have a whole lot of time off. We gave him about 30 days off and then started him back up again.”

After a month long breather, My Boy David made his four-year-old debut in open company last week at the Meadowlands. He finished a strong second after enduring a tough first-over trip on a bitterly cold and windy night.

"He is a little stronger just by looking at him,” Hochstetler noted after last week’s race. “He basically went a good race tonight [Saturday, Feb. 3]. He came into the race pretty ready, but they all need a race. He always feels good. He plays every day when you bring him on the track. I don't think he needs more speed. I think he needs more toughness to go against the aged horses. If he stays sound I think he can go with them.

“Last year he raced a few times up front and got snapped on the wire,” he added. “Against the aged horses, he can go with the flow and, I believe, learn how to race better. I think he is better from off the pace. Tonight [Saturday, Feb. 3] he learned to race with them. He is tough on the front but he is at his best when he makes a move at the quarter pole. In the Meadowlands Pace [last year], he never got loose until the eighth pole, then came in second. Good horses will adapt.

Hochstetler, who trains a 65-horse stable in Illinois, is racing five horses at the Meadowlands this winter. He has not yet mapped out the season for My Boy David.

"By the time [the Aquarius Series] is finished, we should have it figured out what we want to pay him into and how he stacks up,” he said. “If he does well when this series is over, he might stay out here through the winter. If he gets beat up, we will take him home. There are a couple of stakes in Illinois and we will probably race him in some free for alls.”

Amy Silver

EWS from the MEADOWLANDS RACETRACK

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