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Shartin N looks to rebound in Matchmaker final
Saturday, April 21, 2018 - by Brandon Valvo, for SOA of NY

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Yonkers, NY --- New Zealand-bred mare Shartin has proven to be aggressive by nature since arriving in the stable of Jim King late last fall. Described by her former trainer Dean Braun as a bit bossy, Shartin’s eagerness finally got the better of her in the last preliminary leg of the Blue Chip Matchmaker Series April 13 at Yonkers Raceway.

Established as the 1-5 favorite off three impressive series victories in the preceding weeks, Shartin surprised punters and her trainer when she broke into a gallop as the wings of the gate folded. Although she recovered her stride as the field entered the first turn, Shartin became rough-gaited and again rolled off stride just before the half. She finished eighth beaten 7-1/4 lengths, her first finish outside the exacta in nine stateside starts.

Darragh Riordan photo
Shartin is the 1-5 tonight in Saturday's Blue Chip Matchmaker Series final despite two costly breaks in stride in the final leg last week.

“She was overly aggressive. I don’t have a real good explanation about what happened, I sure know it wasn’t very pleasing,” King remarked. “The first one I could explain because she was overly aggressive and just had a gate problem, which we can work with. The second break, I was a lot more concerned about that.”

Although Shartin’s streak of wins in the first three legs of the series earned her a place in the final and boosted her record to 14-for-22 with $182,492 earned, it may have also contributed to her mishap last week. With enough points accumulated, King gave the 5-year-old daughter of Tintin in America a week off, skipping leg four. Shartin came back too fresh and aggressive last week. The ease of her wins has also means King doesn’t truly know how well Shartin can handle the half-mile track.

“At this point, we really don’t know quite what she is. I certainly don’t think we’ve seen her limit,” King said. “We don’t know what she thinks of a half-mile track that much because she’s never been out of the handholds; she’s been in-hand at all times. Timmy’s given her such wonderful trips that she hasn’t had to go to work yet.”

Shartin and regular driver Tim Tetrick will start from post one as the 8-5 favorite in tonight’s $373,000 Matchmaker Series final. She will face seven rivals: Sell A Bit, Medusa, Lady Shadow, Motu Moonbeam, Dudesalady, Twinkle, and Lakeisha Hall.

King took several steps this week to have Shartin primed for the final. First, he adjusted her new hopples to more closely match the set that shipped with her from Australia. Next, after consulting with down under conditioners, he trained Shartin Friday morning (April 20) to expend some of her pent-up energy.

“I actually did take her hopples up a little. They were pretty new hopples, so not the ones she came with. I got the hopples out that she came to this country with and measured them up and they were a smidgen longer, not much, so I took them up a little. We made a little adjustment on her head, nothing major,” King explained.

“I actually trained her some (Friday) to try to take some of the spitfire out of her where usually I train horses three days out and leave it at that,” King continued. “It’s been ok for the weeks we were racing weekly, but this time she was just awfully fresh. She was really eager, so I’m just trying to do something a little different that I think might suit her. That is one of the things they’ll do down under is give a horse a little work the day before to try to take the edge off them.”

With the final looming and adjustments made, King hopes he has Shartin poised for a top effort tonight. Most of all, he wants to put last week’s breaks in the rear-view mirror and look forward to the races ahead.

“We really have got to try to put that behind us. We really can’t go in with a fear factor, that’s for sure. At the same time, we’ve got to be concerned and know that she’s capable of making a mistake,” King said. “I don’t think there’s anybody in there who’s stronger than she is. From here, it’s all her and Timmy.”

In addition to Shartin, King will start Christen Me in the $100,000 George Morton Levy Series consolation. Although Christen Me seeks his first win of the year, an inside post position draw off a pair of good races earned him morning line favoritism at 9-5. King will also start Newborn Sassy in a $40,000 Mares FFA Pace for Matchmaker Series eligibles. She is the 8-5 early choice.

“We have a great opportunity tomorrow,” King said. “The stage is set for us to have a really happy night or a really disappointing night, but we’re expecting the best.”

First post time Saturday night is 6:50 p.m. For entries to the million-dollar card, please click here.

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