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Saturday Big M card another strong one

January 05, 2011

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Thursday morning was another busy one at the Meadowlands as 161 horses dropped in the box for the Jan. 8 Saturday card, while another 129 entered Friday’s qualifiers.  The second Meadowlands’ card of 2011 is another strong one.

“We’re encouraged by the interest in our product,” said Peter Koch, director of racing.  “For Saturday we have all but two 10-horse fields and those races have nine in them.”

Koch said that while some of the late closer entries were down - as anticipated - others were actually up from last year.

“The Presidential was up, the ones for older mares were also up,” he noted. “It just seems like some years some divisions are stronger than others.  It didn’t seem as though there were a lot of aged mares around last year, but some of the 4-year-olds who raced against them, like On The Glass, ended up doing pretty well against them, so maybe that had something to do with it.”

“The Invitational (with Presidential eligibles preferred) has a three-horse Jeff Bammond-owned entry of Blatantly Good, Real Celebration and Smellthecolornine, they’re a pretty good bunch,” said Koch. “Bettor Sweet ($1.3 million) is in there too. Then there’s (millionaire pacer) Western Shore, who qualified in 1:51 the other day, he’s in another race and so is Vlos, who has been racing well ($1.1 million). We’ve also got St. Elmo Hero in the Complex prep and he was 19 for 19 last year. He’s just one of quite a few good horses that will be racing here.”

As for the 100-plus horses entered for Friday’s qualifiers, Koch said that he was not surprised and that the barn area’s equine population is on par with year’s past.

“It’s usually that busy during qualifiers this time of year.  Guys are coming in in dribs and drabs, but they are coming. People want to be optimistic, but it’s a very complex thing to get done,” he said, referring to the privatization of the track.

Koch admitted that he is keeping an eye on the weather, as another possible weekend snowstorm is predicted.

“But we’re happy to be back with a strong product,” he said.  “We hope that our local fans will be here with us in person and our simulcast fans will be with us, too.”


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