Day At The Track

Iron has 'got a big runway ahead of him'

08:09 AM 12 Jun 2015 NZST
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Iron and driver Domineco Cecere
Iron and driver Domineco Cecere

Freehold, NJ --- Harness racing trainer Frank Antonacci hopes he can get pumped about Iron, particularly if the 3-year-old trotter sees a favorable change in his fortunes.

Iron was a stakes winner in 2014, but also suffered from some bad luck with post position draws and missed a month of action because of complications from what was believed to be a spider bite. This year, the colt jumped a partition in his trailer on the way to a qualifier, but avoided serious injury.

“Luckily, he came out of it fine and he’s been doing well,” Antonacci said, adding with a laugh, “If his luck has changed this year, moving forward we’ll be in good shape.”

Iron is one of the 13 horses entered in the Goodtimes Stakes for 3-year-old trotters at Mohawk Racetrack in Ontario. The field was divided into two eliminations, to be contested Friday, from which the top five finishers in each group will advance to the C$233,000 final on June 20. Iron and driver Tim Tetrick will start from post one in the first elim and are 6-1 on the morning line.

Jimmy Takter’s Canepa Hanover, fresh off his lifetime-best 1:51.1 victory in the New Jersey Sire Stakes championship on May 30 at the Meadowlands, is the 2-5 morning line choice in the opening division. Takter’s French Laundry, a stakes-winner in 2014 who finished second in the New Jersey Sire Stakes final, is the 3-5 favorite in the second elimination.

Friday’s card also includes two eliminations for the C$272,000 Armbro Flight Stakes for older female trotters. Bee A Magician -- taking on the ladies for the first time this year after going 4-for-5 against male rivals -- is the 6-5 morning line favorite in the first division. Classic Martine, who won the Armbro Flight last season, is the 2-1 second choice.

Shake It Cerry, the 2014 Trotter of the Year, is the 9-5 pick in the second elimination, followed by Frau Blucher at 4-1 and Charmed Life at 9-2. Shake It Cerry started the campaign by going winless in three races, but enters her elim off back-to-back victories over male foes in the Graduate Series.

Iron has started only once this year, winning a conditioned race for 3-year-olds in 1:53.4 at the Meadowlands on June 5. Last season, the colt won the American-National Stakes at Balmoral Park and finished third in a division of the Kindergarten Series. He finished fourth in a division of the Bluegrass Stakes, beaten by 2-3/4 lengths by Uncle Lasse.

For his career, the homebred Iron has won two of seven races and earned $53,762 for the Antonacci family’s K R Breeding and Robert Rudolph.

A son of Cantab Hall out of Ivory Lindy, Iron is a full brother to stakes-winner Lindys Jersey Boy and his family includes Breeders Crown champion Musical Victory as well as Higher Love, who is the dam of Hambletonian Oaks winner Lookout Victory.

“He’s got the pedigree and he’s a fantastic looking horse with a great gait,” Antonacci said. “I’m hesitant to say what I think his potential is, but he was a pretty nice horse last year and I think he’ll be a better horse this year. It’s tough. There are a lot of nice horses out there. We’ll just have to see where he falls in. He’s got all the tools to be right up there near the top.

“He’s just a physically impressive horse. He really is. That accompanied with his athleticism; for a horse his size, he’s got that 26-second speed, which you need nowadays. As big of a horse as he was, and lanky, he was a pretty good 2-year-old. He’s an improved 3-year-old. He’s got a big runway ahead of him.”

Iron is eligible to the $1 million Hambletonian Stakes on Aug. 8 at the Meadowlands. The other Hambletonian eligible trotters in the Goodtimes field are Canepa Hanover, French Laundry, The Bank, Win The Day, and Infiniti As.

“Going to the Goodtimes was one of those things we really weren’t sure (we were going to do) until we saw how he came out of the last race and looked at the list of eligibles,” Antonacci said. “I thought it was going to be two short (elimination) fields -- and that actually happened, which is nice.

“Hopefully he’ll get two weeks in Canada. We’ll bring him back to the farm and let him miss a week or two and then rev him back up again. Historically most of the horses that win (the Hambletonian) go in with five or six starts under their belt.”

Iron is not Antonacci’s only stakes hopeful racing at Mohawk this weekend. On Saturday, the 31-year-old trainer sends Lindys Old Lady to the eliminations for the C$479,000 Fan Hanover Stakes for 3-year-old female pacers.

Lindys Old Lady and driver Scott Zeron got post 10 in the second of two divisions, where Happiness is the 2-1 morning line favorite and Solar Sister is the 5-2 second choice. The first group is headlined by 2014 Horse of the Year JK She’salady, who is 2-5 on the morning line. Bettor Be Steppin is next at 4-1.

Unraced at age 2, Lindys Old Lady won her first two starts this season before finishing fifth in the New Jersey Sire Stakes championship on May 30. Happiness, who was the favorite in the sire stakes final, finished fourth as The Show Returns won at odds of 40-1.

“We were disappointed,” Antonacci said. “I think the two horses that everybody thought would finish right next to each other did -- but we were fourth and fifth.

“She came out of it good. She’s been sound. I hesitate to make any excuses. I think she’ll probably have a different kind of race this week from the 10-hole. That was only her third lifetime start. Sometimes that lack of experience kind of comes out.”

Antonacci is making an equipment change in the hopes of getting Lindys Old Lady to relax.

“We changed her bridle a little bit,” he said. “She had closed blinkers last week; we’ll use some blinkers with holes on it because she kind of got revved up behind the gate and had to slam on the breaks (early in the race) and then move to the front. She had to do a bunch of different things and sometimes that’s hard on a green horse.”

Also on Saturday’s card at Mohawk are three eliminations for the C$1 million North America Cup for 3-year-old pacers and two eliminations for the C$350,000 Roses Are Red Stakes for older female pacers.

Wiggle It Jiggleit, In The Arsenal and Artspeak are the morning line favorites in the Cup elims.

Radar Contact is the choice in the first elim for the Roses Are Red, followed closely by Anndrovette, Weeper, Lady Shadow and Yagonnakissmeornot. Anndrovette, a four-time Dan Patch Award honoree, has won the last three editions of the race.

Venus Delight is the favorite in the second elimination, followed by Krispy Apple, Table Talk, and Color’s A Virgin.

by Ken Weingartner, Harness Racing Communications 

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