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Tetrick opines on Sire Stakes final drives
Saturday, September 22, 2018 - by Brandon Valvo, for the SOA of NY

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Yonkers, NY --- Yonkers Raceway will host eight finals of the New York Sire Stakes Saturday night (Sept. 22) worth a combined $1.8 million. Tim Tetrick will drive seven of the 64 statebreds who seek championship titles, and the 36-year-old is confident in his horses.

“The New York program is great. The New York breeding program is very strong and when you have that much money, you get better bred horses. It’s good for them to showcase their breed,” Tetrick said. “It could be a really good payday.”

Tetrick’s name tops the earnings list of North American drivers with his horses taking home $9.5 million so far this year. Tetrick drove Shartin N to victory this spring in the $373,000 Blue Chip Matchmaker Series final, Yonkers’ signature race for mares, and finished fourth in the Hambletonian final with Crystal Fashion. The latter leads all Standardbreds in earnings this season with $908,207 in the bank while the former is ranked seventh with $759,111 earned.

“It’s been very good. I was close to getting my second Hambo there, winning the first heat and coming up short in the final,” Tetrick said. “Shartin has been a very good mare in the aged group and I’ve got some nice 2-year-olds that are racing good. All in all, it’s been a pretty good year.”

Tetrick will look to add to his impressive tally in Saturday’s finals and the star driver took time to catch up with the SOA’s Brandon Valvo about his chances.

Race 2-$225,000 NYSS Final for 2-Year-Old Trotting Fillies-Hanna Dreamgirl–Post 8–20-1: Daughter of Chapter Seven won in the $10,000 Kindergarten Classic at The Meadowlands July 20 with Tetrick in the sulky and earned a spot in the Sire Stakes final with a victory in the series at Vernon Downs Aug. 23 for Jim Morrill Jr. The Linda Toscano trainee has another six seconds and thirds from nine starts with $97,164 earned.

“She’s pretty nice. Kind of a big mare. A half probably isn’t the best spot for her, but she has raced good and done OK on the half. She likes to trot, and you never know with the 2-year-old trotting fillies. You might say it’s a bad spot, but three or four might run and then you’re sitting in the right spot to pick up the pieces. She’s a nice filly, got a lot of quality. I’ll just play it by ear. When I’ve driven her, she hasn’t been the biggest leaver. I’ll probably just look over to my left and hopefully some people make mistakes and she’ll definitely have to win from the back, that’s for sure.”

Race 3-$225,000 NYSS Final for 2-Year-Old Trotting Colts and Geldings-Chapter Fashion–Post 7–7-1: Jim Campbell trainee won from post seven locally Aug. 20, doubling up on a 1:56.1 score in the Tompkins-Geers at Tioga Downs Aug. 10. Tetrick drove in the latter race and looks forward to getting behind the son of Chapter Seven again after Jason Bartlett chose rival Thunder. Chapter Fashion enters off a break in stride in his last start Sept. 14, but Tetrick isn’t concerned about the miscue.

“I’ve only driven him one time and he raced really good that time. I left out of there a little bit, floated, got away third. When I pulled him, he trotted right by the front-end horses and raced really well. He did it right. Jim’s having a great year, his horses have all been doing really, really well and I think the horse is definitely a player. If we had drawn in one or two spots, I would have liked him even more, but he’s still going to get a shot to get good money. Jim asked me if I was going to be there, I said yeah and he said, ‘I’m putting you back on that horse.’ He’s a little squirrelly in the post parade. You think he’s going to be really aggressive, he wants to pull and lug on you but when you go to the gate, he says, OK what am I going to do here, and he lets me do my job. He’s all trot and doesn’t want to make breaks, so he’s pretty nice. I’m not worried about that. Jim will have him right. Who knows what happened, maybe he just got in a bad spot or took a bad step, but Jim said he didn’t really have an answer for it.”

Race 4-$225,000 NYSS Final for 2-Year-Old Pacing Colts and Geldings-Hickfromfrenchlick–Post 6–9-2: Tetrick will take the lines for the first time behind the Ray Schnittker-trained colt. The So Surreal son recorded a blowout 14-1/4 length win in the Landmark at Goshen in his debut June 29 and won the $100,000 Lawrence B. Sheppard Pace July 14. Hickfromfrenchlick posted two wins in Sire Stakes company in his next four starts, including a 1:51.3 lifetime best at Vernon Sept. 3.

“I’ve seen him race. He looks like he’s pretty tough, he looks like he can leave the gate good and he’s very versatile. He won the stakes race earlier in the year with Ray driving and I’ve always done good for Ray and Ray’s always done good for me, so I’m excited to get to drive him. I’ll talk to Ray and watch some replays and go from there. Mainly just feel the horse out when I get out there.”

Race 5-$225,000 NYSS Final for 2-Year-Old Pacing Fillies-So Awesome–Post 6–2-1: Tetrick drove the daughter of So Surreal to three wins, including her maiden-breaking score in Sire Stakes at Yonkers July 6, another local leg of the Sire Stakes July 24, and a Sire Stakes split at Saratoga Aug. 31. The freshman filly also earned a Sire Stakes win at Batavia with Morrill in the sulky. She’s earned $176,190 to date, the most of any 2-year-old on the card, and all four victories have come in wire-to-wire style.

“She’s been awesome. She’s a professional, she goes out there and does her job. You want to leave, you want to duck, she’s got tons of speed and she’s been at the top of her class all year. I think she’s definitely the one to beat in there. She’ll be going forward. When you’re one of the better ones, it’s hard to give up three or four lengths early whenever you think you have the best horse. She’ll definitely be looking left when you go out of there. She’s all professional, she does what she’s supposed to do. She acts like she’s six years old and acts like she’s done it more than me.”

Race 6-$225,000 NYSS Final for 3-Year-Old Trotting Fillies-Repentance–Post 8–9-1: Tetrick returns to the bike behind Diamond Creek Racing’s homebred Chapter Seven filly. She finished sixth with Tetrick in the Mary Reynolds at the Meadowlands July 7 and fourth in the Frank Zanzuccki on Hambletonian Day. The Linda Toscano trainee went 3-for-4 in Sire Stakes this year, winning at Tioga, Batavia, and Saratoga in her most recent start Sept. 7. Toscano sends out two other trotters in this race while Åke Svanstedt will start five.

“I’ve raced her a few different times and she is a talented mare. She’s well bred. I know the eight hole is going to be tough for her, especially with the entries. We’ll just have to play it by ear and hope somebody makes a mistake. We’ll have to get into the race somehow late in the mile. A couple times she’s raced good for me and a couple times she hasn’t. When I’ve gotten to drive her, it’s been against open company. That makes a difference, sometimes it’s a little tougher.”

Race 7-$225,000 NYSS Final for 3-Year-Old Pacing Fillies-Wisdom Tree–Post 4–7-5: After going 3-for-11 as a 2-year-old, Wisdom Tree drew post eight in the Sire Stakes final and made a break, finishing seventh. Now 3, the daughter of Betterthancheddar out of the Artsplace mare Wisdom has 10 wins from 13 starts and $274,851 earned this year. Wisdom Tree’s crowning achievement to date came when she beat open stakes rivals in a 1:49.4 score in the $142,000 Nadia Lobell at Hoosier Park July 6. Trainer Ed Hart will hand Tetrick the lines for the first time since last year’s Sire Stakes final.

“I drove her last year in the 2-year-old final. She had go, but she made a break or got run into. She’s come back and been a great 3-year-old. I’m excited to get to drive her again. It just worked out because Scotty (Zeron) and Matt (Kakaley) both had to leave and I was in the right place at the right time to get her back. They told me she’s just one good drive away from winning, so if she gets beat it’s my fault.”

Race 8-$225,000 NYSS Final for 3-Year-Old Trotting Colts and Geldings-Cruising In Style–Post 5–8-1: The Andrew Harris-trained colt has just one win this year in a Yonkers overnight, but made the Sire Stakes final with five seconds and thirds in the series this spring and summer. Jason Bartlett drove the son of Muscle Mass to victory in last year’s $50,000 Sire Stakes Consolation at Monticello and was named to drive in the final, but Tetrick picked up the drive when Bartlett opted for rival Clive Bigsby.

“I’ve never driven him. That was a pick up after they saw me on the sheet. He’s a good trainer, the kid does good. We’ve got the five hole, I know Åke’s horse and Linda’s horse are pretty tough, but hopefully we can get a good piece of it.”


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