Day At The Track

Weingartner conversation with Tony Alagna

09:09 PM 09 Feb 2011 NZDT
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Tony Alagna completed his first full year with his own training stable in 2010 with 91 wins and $1.37 million in purses, which was good enough to crack the harness racing sport's top 50. His .298 trainer rating also put him in the top 50.

His top horses last season included Foreign Officer, who won the consolation for the Meadowlands Pace, as well as Night Styles and White Ruffles winner Laughandbehappy, two-time Pennsylvania Sire Stakes circuit winner Caitrin Hall, and Circle City winner Tawesome More.

This week, Alagna has Mystical Diva and Turnoffthelights racing in the Tender Loving Care series and Foreign Officer in the Aquarius, both at Meadowlands Racetrack. The 38-year-old Illinois native recently took time to talk with Harness Racing Communications' Ken Weingartner.

HRC: Last year was your first full year on your own. How do you think it went?

TA: The racehorses were very strong. We didn't have the standout 2-year-old, but we've got some horses that we held over that we think will be nice 3-year-olds. They were put away the right way and they can come back and be nice 3-year-olds. We've got some horses that are a little bit unknown, but showed enough talent last year to come back and be OK this year.

HRC: Who are some of the 3-year-olds that people might want to watch for?

TA: We The People, the American Ideal colt from last year. He raced sparingly and was second in (1):53.1 in his last start at the Meadowlands, just beat, in November before we put him away. He just came back in from Brittany (Farms in Lexington) the first of February and looks great.

Tawesome More, the Muscles Yankee filly, she made nearly $50,000 last year in five starts. She's come back in good. Lindor, the Chocolatier colt we gave 250 (thousand dollars) for, won his first lifetime start in 1:58 in Lexington and immaturity caught up with him. We put him away after four starts.

HRC: What about the filly, Beautiful In Blue?

TA: She's back and doing good. She just resumed training and so far so good.

HRC: Any pressure from the owners there?

TA: The owners have been great. Believe it or not. (Laughs). They've all been good. They know that nobody wants to see her get there better than me. They've been very good. (For more about Beautiful In Blue, click here.)

HRC: You've got two horses in the Tender Loving Care. What can you tell us about them?

TA: Mystical Diva was a filly that I was very high on last year. When we raced her in the Countess Adios she finished fourth and John Campbell said she made a little noise after he pulled her up. So we had to do a tie-forward surgery on her. She qualified very good, but I wasn't happy with the way she raced her first start (this year). I thought she should have been a little bit better. We made a couple adjustments this week and we'll see if she's got a little more pace. I think she's a better filly than she showed.

Turnoffthelights was fourth last year in the Kentucky Sire Stakes final. We didn't want to wait for Kentucky Sires to get her back ready, so we wanted to race her in the Tender Loving Care a little bit to make sure we're good for Lexington.

HRC: And you've got Foreign Officer in the Aquarius.

TA: I'm very happy with him. I was encouraged by the way he qualified. We castrated him after the (Little Brown) Jug and gave him plenty of time. You can never really tell how much of a difference you make in their attitude when you castrated them until push comes to shove. Timmy (driver Tim Tetrick) was really happy with the way he responded the other night. He was very happy with his start (a win by a neck in 1:53.4).

HRC: What do you see for him this year?

TA: I bought him with the 4-year-old open in mind. He's very tactical. He can leave off the gate well, which has always been his forte. I was hoping we could make a little money in the Aquarius. It's a nice bunch of horses. Allthatgltrsisgold has come back very good, Whiskey Pete, there are a lot of nice horses. If we can hold our own and put a little money on his card, that takes a little pressure off us before we go to Yonkers or Chester or wherever else we go after that. I think he can knock it out in the 4-year-old opens and be a nice 5-year-old as well.

HRC: Is there anyone else you like in the barn?

TA: I've got a nice bunch of babies. They're coming along good. I've got a Muscles Yankee filly (Southwind Syrinx) I like, a 2-year-old that belongs to Bloodstock Farm. We gave $90,000 for her. She's a sister to Southwind Serena (3,1:55.2, $385,088). I've got a couple first-crop sires I like. I like my Tell Alls, I like my Shark Gesture. There are some nice horses there. We bought some with value, in the $10,000 to $20,000 range, that act like they're OK.

HRC: How many horses do you have now?

TA: There are 55 in the barn. It's a nice mix of 2-year-olds, 3-year-olds and racehorses.

HRC: Do you have any expectations or goals for the year?

TA: I think everybody has the same goal; we're looking for a superstar. But as long as we're giving a hundred-and-ten percent, hopefully we'll have a better year and keep going forward.

July 17, 2010 Meadowlands Pace- Consolation Race 6

by Ken Weingartner, Harness Racing Communications

Courtesy of the US Trotting Association's Web Newsroom

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