Sent off at 33-1 odds in Thursday’s second round of the series for 4-year-old trotters, Volare De Vie and driver Jim Meittinis won by 2-1/2 lengths over Pittstop Ruthie in 1:55.1. Real Babe, the 3-5 favorite, was third. It was Volare De Vie’s first victory of the year, but the gelding has a total of five on-the-board finishes in six starts.
The $47,800 Singer Memorial final is part of a Saturday card at the Big M that includes the $86,700 Winter Survivor Series and $60,200 Exit 16W finals.
|Volare De Vie was a 1:55.1 winner in the Singer Series on Feb. 14.|
“He deserved that one,” trainer Henrik Lundell said about Volare De Vie’s triumph. “He’s been rock solid this year, except for one start when he bled and we put him on Lasix. Since then, he’s been doing good. He really earned that win with the way he’s been racing.”
Volare De Vie finished second to Helios in his first start this season, then bled in the first round of the Super Bowl series at the Meadowlands and finished ninth. On Lasix a week later for the second round, Volare De Vie finished third behind Wisenheimer and Helios.
In his next start, a conditioned race at the Meadowlands, Volare De Vie started from post nine and finished third, beaten by one length. In the opening round of the Singer series on Feb. 7, he again started from post nine -- at 59-1 odds -- and was second to Sequin Hanover. Volare De Vie’s time for the mile was 1:54.
Last week, Volare De Vie got to the lead with a :27.1 opening quarter-mile before yielding to Deck The Halls on the backstretch. Volare De Vie remained in the pocket until the field turned for home, when Meittinis tipped him out and repelled a challenge from Real Babe -- who raced on the outside for the entire mile -- on his way to victory.
“He has so much gate speed that he’s able to get in good position,” Lundell said. Volare De Vie has been no worse than third at the quarter-mile point of any start this year.
“Jim gave him a perfect trip last week, as well as the week before. He’s done a great job and has been really taking care of this horse. He deserves credit.”
Owned by Joie De Vie Farm, Volare De Vie is a son of stallion Yankee Glide out of the mare Only Dreaming. Sold under the name Wishimaywishimite, he was purchased for $25,000 as a yearling. He was selected by Oyvind Hegdal, who was Lundell’s predecessor as head trainer for Joie De Vie Farm.
Hegdal trained Volare De Vie’s full sister, So You De Vie, who was the New Jersey Sire Stakes fall champion as a 3-year-old in 2009.
“He really liked (So You De Vie),” said Lundell, who took over from Hegdal in the fall of 2011. “She was a pretty good 3-year-old, but she had some soundness issues. But she was very tough.”
Volare De Vie was unraced as a 2-year-old and gelded because of immaturity. Last year, he won three of 18 races and earned $26,530. He won two of his last three starts of the season, though, with his only setback -- a fourth-place finish -- coming from post No. 8 at Harrah’s Philadelphia.
“He was still very green last year, very immature,” Lundell said. “He kept running in, running out, making breaks. He was like a 2-year-old in a 3-year-old horse. But he’s improving all the time. He used to be a little grabby, but now he’s more relaxed.”
Volare De Vie will be pointed toward the Horse & Groom series at the Meadowlands following the Singer final. Lundell was uncertain of Volare De Vie’s potential, but is pleased with the horse as he gets ready for Saturday’s challenge.
“I don’t want to guess at what he could be (in the future) because that always comes back to bite you,” Lundell said with a laugh. “But I don’t want to trade horses with anyone (Saturday).
“As long as he is improving, I’m happy.”