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Harder strong in Hempt

May 21, 2004

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Mark Harder-trained horses won two of the three Max Hempt eliminations last Saturday night at Pocono Downs, setting up the Meadowlands-based conditioner nicely for the $162,696 final this Saturday night (May 22). Harder, who leads the Meadowlands' trainer standings with more than $1.12 million in purse earnings in 2004, will send out Skydancer Hanover and Casey's Bonanza, who won their elims in 1:51 and 1:52.1, respectively.

"They are two nice horses. Casey's Bonanza is not really that staked up; the other colt (Skydancer Hanover) is North America Cup eligible and a few other things, but not the Meadowlands Pace," Harder told The Horseman.

George Napolitano Jr. directed both of Harder's charges to their Hempt elim victories, and he will stay in the sulky behind Skydancer Hanover in the final, leaving from post six. Sean Bier will get the call behind Casey's Bonanza from the seven slot.

"I think he's a natural killer," Napolitano told the Pocono Downs publicity department about the Western Hanover son Skydancer Hanover. "There's no question in my mind that he's the best in the race. He's got wicked speed. The horse is just so quick you don't even realize how fast you're going."

Both Skydancer Hanover and Casey's Bonanza will head next to Hoosier Park for the Hoosier Cup on Saturday, May 29. "They'll get their chance to butt heads with the real good ones here and there but pretty much they'll knock around PA and things like that," said Harder.
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