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Drennan has strong Meadowlands contenders

January 20, 2011

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Hot off a hat trick, trainer Nik Drennan will send out a quartet of stakes contenders this weekend at Meadowlands Racetrack.
Sniper Seelster, one of Drennan’s three winners on January 14, looks for back-to-back victories in the $18,000 second leg of the Clyde Hirt Series for 4-year-old pacers on Friday night. The Woodbine shipper announced his arrival last week with a huge stretch rally to win his Clyde Hirt division in a career best 1:50.4. Sniper Seelster will start from post nine (program No. 8) in the second race Friday night with John Campbell at the lines.
The son of Western Maverick is campaigned by Will Alempijevic, the general manager of Portland Meadows in Oregon, and Ontario partners Donald Lindsey and Paul Kleinpaste. Unraced at two, Sniper Seelster hit the board in 13 of 19 starts last season toward earnings of $64,780.
“I wasn’t really surprised with Sniper Seelster the other night,” Drennan said. “I had the horse for a week and he had tough trips in his last two starts at Woodbine. He’s green and didn’t really know what he was doing. Donald Lindsey told me he would be ready to go. They usually step up coming from Canada to the Meadowlands and he did. Donald always buys a couple of green 3-year-olds out of the Grass Roots Ontario Sires Stakes, and it looks like he was a good find, just like Alexie Mattosie.”
A winter series standout last year at the Meadowlands, Alexie Mattosie is one of Drennan’s two contenders in the $50,000 second leg of the Presidential Series on Saturday night. The 5-year-old son of No Pan Intended will start from the rail in the third race, the first of two Presidential splits, with David Miller in the sulky. Alexie Mattosie finished third in his Presidential division, won by Real Celebration in 1:49.2, last week. With the addition of Dennis Mavrin, Alexie Mattosie shares the connections of Sniper Seelster.
Alexie Mattosie made seven trips to the winner’s circle in 2010. At the Meadowlands, he won both legs of the Four Leaf Clover series before getting nosed out by Lisagain in the $130,000 final.
“Horses like Alexie Mattosie need to be raced tougher,” Drennan said. “I mean, look at the way he raced last Saturday compared to his previous starts at Woodbine. I don’t like the whipping rule in Ontario. You need to get after a lot of them, and that helps wake up horses like Alexie Mattosie immensely. He rested up at the end of 2010 and he seems to have come back good. He likes the style of racing here.”
Mr Saratoga makes his second start for Drennan in the fifth race Presidential division. The 7-year-old Million Dollar Cam horse rallied off cover to finish fifth in the series opener, just two lengths behind winner Western Shore in a 1:49 mile.
“He was all right and that’s the fastest he’s paced [1:49.2],” Drennan said. “We need another trip like the one he got. He’s a nice veteran. I don’t think he can go to the front and beat those horses, but he can threaten them with a trip. I was certainly liking the :53.2 half [in the first leg]. There are about five horses that can win that series.”
Mr Saratoga is owned by Onlineharnessowner.com 7 of Uxbridge, Ontario.
“Dan Clements and his son run this, and there are about 30 or 35 owners on this horse,” Drennan explained. “There’s a web site they run and they get people to buy small percentages of a horse.”
Drennan’s final series entrant of the weekend is Ise The By Boy, who will face undefeated St Elmo Hero in the $20,000 second leg of the Complex Series. Ise The By Boy will start from post three in the tenth race Saturday with Ron Pierce slated to drive. The 4-year-old son of Mach Three, also campaigned by Lindsey, Kleinpaste and Alempijevic, finished sixth in the first round of the Complex.
“Ise The By Boy wasn’t very good last week,” Drennan said. “He sat behind a slow pace, but was rank, running over the guy in front of him and he had three weeks off. He needed that race, and there’s a lot of work to be done with him. He needs to calm down a bit and learn how to follow horses better. He’ll get some bridle changes, and I expect him to be better this week.”
Drennan, a 28-year-old native of Burlington, Ont.,, has 13 horses in training at White Birch Farm in Allentown, NJ. His girlfriend, Therese Lindgren, who also owns several members of the stable, assists him. Drennan followed his father, trainer John Drennan, into the business and is currently racing trotter Celebrity Hercules for him at the Meadowlands.
“I’ve been down here in New Jersey for the last five years as assistant trainer for Tony Montini,” Drennan said. “Usually, every year when the Meadowlands summer meet is over I go back to Canada, but I decided to stay this time. One of my owners, Joe Davino, wanted me to stay. Racing here and on the WEG circuit is like night and day. There’s more action in a race here, and it’s more single file in Ontario, and I’m not really sure why. That’s why I’m here, because I like the way they race. They maximize their earning potential.”  (Meadowlands)
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