The Exit 16W series, for 4-year-old male pacers, begins Saturday night with three $18,000 divisions. The $74,600 final is Feb. 23. Holdingallthecards, who is 4-for-4 this year and won the $67,400 Clyde Hirt series final on Jan. 26, was among the 24 horses entered in the series.
Yo Cheyenne Rocky was unraced as a 2-year-old because of immaturity. At 3, he had difficulty racing on the half-mile oval at Yonkers, but showed potential when given the chance to compete on the five-eighth-mile tracks in Pennsylvania. So far this year at the Meadowlands, he has a win, a second and a third among four starts.
|USTA/Ken Weingartner photo|
|Trainer Robbie Siegelman will start Yo Cheyenne Rocky in the Exit 16W series.|
“He’s a pleasant surprise,” said Siegelman, who trains Yo Cheyenne Rocky for breeder/owner Barry Rubenstein Farms. “He’s looking like he could be the real deal. He’s another lesson in patience; I’m glad Barry waited on him. I’m thinking he’s legit.”
Yo Cheyenne Rocky is a son of Rocknroll Hanover out of the stakes-winning-mare Cheyenne Adrienne. His dam is a half-sister to stakes-winner Up Front Bethann and the family also includes $2-million-earner Camtastic.
Last year, Yo Cheyenne Rocky won two of 27 races, hit the board a total of 11 times, and earned $36,275. But he only made five starts away from half-mile ovals -- four at Mohegan Sun at Pocono Downs and one at Harrah’s Philadelphia -- and picked up a win, two seconds and a third.
“He didn’t like the half-mile (track) and was showing ability on a bigger track, but he wasn’t Pennsylvania owned or sired so I had trouble getting him in,” Siegelman said. “He never went a bad race in Pennsylvania.
“He’s showing improvement all the time. Since he began racing at the Meadowlands he’s even started to leave a little. You watch some of his earlier races and it’s almost comical; he had trouble keeping up early.”
Yo Cheyenne Rocky finished second in a conditioned race at the Meadowlands on Jan. 5 and then missed the first round of the Clyde Hirt series because of illness. In the second round, he drew post No. 10 in an 11-horse field and was never able to get into the race.
A week later, Yo Cheyenne Rocky won in conditioned company by 7-3/4 lengths in 1:51.2. Last weekend, he was third in a 1-1/16th mile race from post nine -- and raced with a flat tire after the quarter-mile point.
“You have to be cautiously optimistic in this business, but if you get your hopes too high you’re setting yourself up for disappointment,” Siegelman said. “But after his last start I’m excited about him. I’ve got my fingers crossed. He’s not let us down in his last three or four starts.”
Yo Cheyenne Rocky will start his eight-horse Exit 16W division from post No. 8 with Brandon Simpson in the sulky. Holdingallthecards begins from post eight in the second division and Clyde Hirt runner-up Man He Can Skoot starts from post seven in the third.
If all goes well in the Exit 16W series, Siegelman could send Yo Cheyenne Rocky to the Aquarius series, which begins March 2 at the Meadowlands.
“We didn’t think the Aquarius was realistic a month ago, but we’re starting to consider it,” Siegelman said. “Those are the best 4-year-olds in the country and they’re tough. But if (Yo Cheyenne Rocky) is good in the Exit 16W, I think we have to look at it.”