Australian-born trainer Peter Tritton sends out a pair of Down Under imports in his quest to upset the mighty Golden Receiver in Saturday's $103,500 Presidential final at the Meadowlands.
Second Wind N and Malak Uswaad N have drawn posts three and four, respectively, and the favorite Golden Receiver, going for his second consecutive Presidential Series sweep, will leave from post seven in the nine-horse field.
The Presidential has been carded as race 11 of 13, which also includes the $51,000 Super Bowl final (race five) and the $67,400 Clyde Hirt Final (race six).
Tritton, born in Sydney, Australia, settled in Delaware and has enjoyed the lucrative options of racing in the region, while continuing to tap into his sources in Australasia.
"I've been in America about 10 years and I'm pretty settled here,” said Tritton, 61. "I started in Indiana at Hoosier Park for a few months, but eventually came to Delaware. I ended up buying a farm in Felton, Del., about four years ago and got married. I trained back home, and when some of my horses reached the top classes I used to send them to America. At one point, I decided to come over with three of the horses I sent and I just liked the way of racing here. Of course, the main thing here was more money. You could make decent money back home, now it's tougher there, yet it is turning around a bit. My son, Shane Tritton is doing well back home, and he has won titles the past three years.
"It's about $20,000 to ship a horse over here now, which as much as it is to buy one,” he noted. "When I first came here it was about $9,000. You have to buy one that's pretty good value. I grew up with the guys who send them to me, so I know who to talk to. It's pretty hard at the moment with the exchange rate, plus the flight.”
Second Wind N is a 7 year old by Dream Away with a mark of 1:49.4 at Harrah's Philadelphia and career earnings of $196,892. He finished fifth and sixth in the two legs of the series. Eric Carlson will drive. Tritton has been both puzzled and concerned about the pacer's recent form.
"Second Wind N was a pretty nice horse over in New Zealand as a 4 year old, then his form went patchy and they couldn't figure out what was the matter with him,” he recalled. "You mostly have to buy horses like him with some problems and try to sort them out. Tim Tetrick was driving him recently and loved him. I think he's got an issue flipping his palate sometimes and he may need a procedure. I would have been real happy if he had come charging home fourth last week instead of sixth. He wasn't bad, but that's not as good as he can go. His last three starts haven't been like he was before. He hasn't shown that burst. He's just not 100 percent right now, and there's not much difference between him and Malak Uswaad N."
Malak Uswaad N is a 5 year old by Bettor's Delight with a mark of 1:50 taken at Harrah's Philadelphia and a career bankroll of $172,715. He has a fourth and a third in the series with Hall of Famer Ron Pierce driving. Tritton seems optimistic this half of his duo is poised to shine.
"I think Malak Uswaad N will be real good Saturday night,” said Tritton. "He was scratched sick on Dec. 20 and most of mine are getting better. I've had a lot of trouble with this one's feet and we've got that sorted out. He had pads on his feet last week, Ron Pierce said they didn't suit him, so we're going to take them off. We're going to have to be ready for Golden Receiver, who will be tough to beat when he goes in 1:48 on the front. We've got to be close to him with a chance to beat him. Malak Uswaad N has beaten every horse in that field except him, but I just might have him right now.
"He's the best horse I've ever trained, and I've raced in the Inter Dominion back home. He's just such a relaxed horse. He's not hard on himself. As we go through this year he's only going to get better. This race may be a stepping stone to see if he's good enough to go with these. Ron Pierce loves him.”
Tritton maintains a manageable, select number of top class pacers.
"I don't like to have a big stable,” he said. "I have 10 horses at the moment, six are Open class and only one is an American bred. It's tough to get them all raced. I've got another nice one called Mainland Key N, who I'll likely race in the Levy. He'd only won $21,000 when we bought him and he's got close to half a million now.
"I like to stick with the higher class horses. They are easier on themselves, often cost less to keep, they make more money and you can get a top driver.” (Meadowlands)