Jenny Melander ready for Altercation
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Jenny Melander knows Altercation likes to put up a fight when training. On Tuesday she will see for the first time how her 3-year-old filly trotter battles in a real race.
Altercation is one of three Melander horses that will compete in Tuesday’s opening round of the Bobby Weiss Series for 3- and 4-year-old female trotters at The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono. Altercation is in the fourth of four $15,000 divisions, at 3-1 on the morning line, and is joined by stablemates Meadowbranch Vicki (3-1 in the second division) and Cayenne Victory (7-2 in the third).
Altercation is a Diamond Creek Farm-bred daughter of Cantab Hall out of the stakes-winning mare Glide Power. She was purchased for $30,000 at the 2017 Lexington Selected Sale and enters the Weiss off a second-place finish in a qualifier at Pocono, timed in 1:58.4 with driver Marcus Miller.
“Last year she wasn’t ready; she was getting a little sore here and there,” said Melander, who owns the filly with Noonan Harness Racing, Clark Stables, and John Devito. “I’m glad my partners decided to go on with her this year. She seems like she’s pretty nice.
“Her biggest thing is she loves to race. In every single training mile as soon as we turn for home she just wants to go. She absolutely loves to win every time. That is by far her strongest asset. She is pretty good gaited, she’s long, and she is going to give all she’s got.”
Following the Weiss Series, Melander said Altercation is eligible to Pennsylvania-sired stakes as well as the Kentucky Sires Stakes.
“When they haven’t raced as a 2 year old, it’s really hard to put a lot of money into staking them, but she has plenty enough,” Melander said. “That’s a lot of races right there. There is plenty of reason for her to make money if she comes around and proves herself.”
Meadowbranch Vicki, a 3-year-old filly bred and owned by Hans Enggren, is making her seasonal debut. The daughter of Wishing Stone out of Wen-Mar’s Memo won one of 12 races last year and earned $44,785. Her victory came in a conditioned race, but she was second in divisions of the Simpson and Ohio Sire Stakes.
“She’s like all those Wishing Stones, kind of on the small side, but she really likes her job,” Melander said. “She put in quite a few good races but she also ended up with a lot of bad luck. It’s a lot of half-mile races in Ohio and every time we were on a half-mile (track) she ended up drawing on the outside, she was in with the toughest horses, just not much luck.
“But she’s an honest little horse and she did her best to make money. We were happy with her. She does what we ask, but she’s not one that shows off in any way. She is staked in Ohio and she’s got another couple races here and there, but not a whole lot.”
Rounding out Melander’s group is Cayenne Victory. The 4-year-old daughter of Cayenne Turbo out of Victory Connection is owned by Melander Racing and Noonan Harness Racing. She was purchased for $15,000 at February’s Blooded Horse Winter Speed Sale, then missed several weeks because of illness. She has started twice for Melander, with a third- and fourth-place finish.
For her career, Cayenne Victory has won four of 34 races and earned $32,124.
“We needed something more to race during the winter, so that was the main reason we bought her,” Melander said. “That didn’t work out because she got sick. But she’s all trot and that’s kind of what I liked about her. She’s very solid.”
Jim Morrill Jr. will drive Meadowbranch Vicki and Cayenne Victory.
The Weiss Series for female trotters features three preliminary rounds followed by a $30,000 final April 23. (Ken Weingartner/USTA)