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Redneck Riviera hopes to sparkle in New Jersey Classic
Monday, June 08, 2009 - by Ken Weingartner, Harness Racing Communications

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Ken Weingartner

Freehold, NJ --- Redneck Riviera still has some growing up to do, but trainer Erv Miller believes the 3-year-old pacing colt has a bright future.

A son of Red River Hanover out of the dam Cape Matteras, the 3-year-old pacing colt has won four of seven lifetime races and earned $67,668. He raced only once as a 2-year-old, winning in 1:54 at Balmoral Park, before being turned out. This year, he won his first three starts before finishing third, fourth and fifth.

On Saturday, Redneck Riviera will compete in the $500,000 Anthony Abbatiello New Jersey Classic at the Meadowlands Racetrack.

“He’s pretty green,” said Miller, who trains the horse for Heidi Miller, Carol Reynolds, Benita Simmons, and Nick Barbieri. “We’ll have to see how he progresses. He seems like he gets around any sized track. By the time he gets some racing in him, he might be alright. We’ll see how it goes.”

Redneck Riviera finished fifth as the favorite in his New Jersey Classic elimination race on June 6. Passmaster Hanover won the race, followed by Vintage Master, Riding The Rapids, and Poker Shark. The time of the race was 1:50.3, with the first half being contested in :56.1 while the second half went in :54.2.

 

USTA/Ken Weingartner photo

Trainer Erv Miller will start Redneck Riviera in the $500,000 New Jersey Classic final on Saturday.  
“He wasn’t quite as good as I thought he might be (last weekend). We scoped him afterward and he had some mucous and bled a little, so they’re going to put him on Lasix,” Miller said. “But I think what really hurt him was the fractions. He just couldn’t close into those fractions too easy.”

Redneck Riviera was purchased as a yearling for $37,000 at the Standardbred Horse Sale. His mother is a full sister to 1993 Breeders Crown runner-up Sable Matters and fourth dam Sandy’s Sable was the mother of multiple stakes-winners Dragon’s Lair, Bruce’s Lady, and Cole Muffler.

“I bought him on looks a lot,” Miller said. “His maternal side is pretty strong and he’s a great looking horse.”

As a 2-year-old, Redneck Riviera won his only start by nearly eight lengths.

“We jogged him after that, and he didn’t seem quite as good as he was,” Miller said. “He was still a little immature. He didn’t seem quite as good as when he went into (the race) so I just turned him out. I really liked him a lot; I thought he was a nice horse. I didn’t want to take the chance of having something go wrong.”

This year, he won a leg of the New Jersey Sire Stakes and finished fourth in the May 30 final, beaten by less than two lengths from post No. 10.

“He got caught in the 10 hole, but he closed up strong. It was just a bad spot for him,” Miller said. “He wanted to go a little too much the whole mile, rather than relax a little and be ready to go on the end of it. He was just a little keyed up.”

Redneck Riviera is eligible to many of the division’s major races, including the North America Cup and Little Brown Jug.

“He’s the kind of horse that seems like he keeps getting a little better every day,” Miller said. “And he’s got a great attitude.”


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