New Jersey Sire Stakes champion Lookinforadventure has already proven he has talent.
Now he is just looking for luck to go his way in the $400,000 Anthony Abbatiello New Jersey Classic on Saturday night at Meadowlands Racetrack. The 3-year-old colt, trained by Bruce Saunders, will start from post seven in the New Jersey Classic. He is rated at 12-1 on the morning line with Brett Miller listed to drive.
“There have been a lot of speed bumps this season,” Saunders said. “Nothing has gone the way we had hoped.”
Lookinforadventure enters the New Jersey Classic winless in four starts this season. With the exception of last week’s prep race, he has faced a setback nearly every time he has stepped onto the racetrack this season.
“In his 2011 debut [in morning qualifiers on March 25 at the Meadowlands] he got back to the gate late,” Saunders said. “When [Dan Dube] went to turn him to the right, there were some horses going by so he kind of shied from them. Dan wheeled him to the left and it kind of got him a little excited. Once he saw the gate he was very enthusiastic and just ran off. He went where we wanted him [winning in 1:54], but I wanted him to be more manageable. So we looked to reconstruct his demeanor a little bit, and to quiet him down.”
Saunders adjusted the colt’s equipment, adding earplugs and a mini bit, and was pleased with his effort the following week in a qualifier at Harrah’s Chester. However, his first pari-mutuel start of the season was again marked by misfortune.
“He had the rail and Dan didn’t want the earplugs in,” Saunders explained. “They kind of came out in the post parade so we took them out. Then he got a little rambunctious. It’s a very hard spot, the rail on a 5/8 track, because that starting gate will come back towards the horse’s face as they’re coming around the turn. The gate hit him in the face and he made a break. Then, Dan grabbed him and the bike hit him in the hocks so he was frantic again.”
With the break in stride, Lookinforadventure had to qualify a third time at Chester. He finished a strong second, clocked in 1:54. The colt made his second pari-mutuel start of 2011 the following week with Tim Tetrick in the sulky. He was a solid third after being forced to move three-wide around a horse with broken equipment.
Lookinforadventure also had to overcome interference in his first start at the Meadowlands this season when the horse in front of him, High Noon, broke stride in the lane.
“Brian [driver Brian Sears] did a great job keeping him upright,” Saunders said. “The horse stuck his toes in and the whole field scattered like bowling balls. So, he just hasn’t had any smooth journeys.”
Last year, the waters were much less choppy for Lookinforadventure. The son of Rocknroll Hanover-Student Driver won four races and $219,436. He set a mark of 1:51.3 in the Niatross.
“He’s bigger, he’s stronger and mentally he grew up,” Saunders said of the changes in the colt from ages two to three. “Last year he was much more mature physically than he was mentally.
“He can leave the gate like a runaway,’” he added. “He cut two miles out in Lexington in the fall and finished second and third after doing all the work pacing miles in 1:50 on the front end. He can do anything he wants. He’s a very versatile horse. He’s a very, very good horse, sitting on a good mile.”
The New Jersey Classic is carded as race six with an estimated post time of 8:44 pm on Saturday night.
The field for the $400,000 Anthony Abbatiello New Jersey Classic:
PP, Horse, Driver, Trainer
1, Shadyshark Hanover, Tim Tetrick, Erv Miller, 3-1
2, Roll'em Up, Andy Miller, Joe Holloway, 8-1
3, Lizard King, David Miller, Ross Croghan, 12-1
4, Ru Ready To Rock, Yannick Gingras, Chris Ryder, 20-1
5, High Noon, Ron Pierce, Jimmy Takter, 15-1
6, Doin Time Together, Simon Allard, Lou Pena, 15-1
7, Lookinforadventure, Brett Mer, Bruce Saunders, 12-1
8, Big Jim, Phil Hudon, James Dean, 8-5
9, Grams Legacy, Brian Sears, Jimmy Takter, 5-1
10, Jo Pa's Pe III, John Campbell, John Campbell, 20-1