Chris Ryder might not be willing to guarantee a victory by Put On A Show in Friday's $218,850 Golden Girls for pacing mares at Meadowlands Racetrack, but the trainer believes his horse is ready for another top performance.
Put On A Show is coming off a world-record 1:47.3 win in the $253,700 Lady Liberty on Hambletonian Day at the Meadowlands. She faces 10 rivals in the Golden Girls, where she will start from post five as the 5-2 morning line favorite. Anndrovette, who won the Roses Are Red at Mohawk on July 21, is the 3-1 second choice from post two.
"I told the owners the week going into the Lady Liberty that I didn't know how she could get beat (because) she'd been feeling so well,” Ryder said. "She's still feeling just as good. Horses do get beat, I know that, but she's doing as well as a horse can do. She's doing great.
"Everything is the way we like it to be. We're happy.”
Put On A Show, who missed all of last season because of knee surgery, has won eight of 14 races and earned $352,224 for owners Craig Henderson and Richard and Joanne Young. The 5-year-old daughter of Rocknroll Hanover-Stienam's Place has won four of her last five starts and eight of 11.
She was the Dan Patch Award winner as the sport's best 3-year-old filly pacer in 2010. She has won 27 of 39 career races and $2.24 million lifetime, with her $1.89 million combined purses for her 2- and 3-year-old campaigns setting the record for a filly pacer.
"The layoff to me was never a problem,” Ryder said. "To me, it was a plus, the time she had off, because we knew she was getting better from the surgery. (The knee) had always troubled her a little bit. I knew she would come back because she's always been such a great athlete.
"She's the best horse I've had in my barn. I've had some pretty good ones, but I'm going to give her the top billing.”
In the Lady Liberty, Anndrovette led the field through an opening half of :53.2, with Put On A Show sitting second and Rocklamation third. Favorite Drop The Ball challenged first-over from fourth place and pulled even with Anndrovette as the field reached the top of the stretch.
As those two mares battled, driver Jody Jamieson looked for room to his outside before diving inside and guiding Put On A Show to the fastest mile in history for a female Standardbred. Put On A Show lowered the record of 1:48.1 previously shared by My Little Dragon and Anndrovette.
"She only had a mark of (1):49.4 and we always thought she deserved a much better mark than that,” Ryder said. "And here we got a world record.
"She got a nice trip, but she was very sharp. We were worried about Jody not being able to get room for quite a bit of the stretch, but it worked out. It was just a great result.” (HRC)