11/07/2013 10:59AM

Balmoral: Ryder confident in I Luv The Nitelife for the American National and beyond

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Derick Giwner
Trainer Chris Ryder (far right) has guided I Luv The Nitelife to a nearly flawless record.

At this stage of the racing season every contest is important. On Saturday night, I Luv The Nitelife, the brilliant three-year-old pacing filly, hopes to run her winning streak to 13 in the $161,000 American National, race seven at Balmoral Park.

A daughter of the late Rocknroll Hanover, I Luv The Nitelife will be making her first start since capturing the Breeders Crown at Mohegan Sun at Pocono Downs on October 19.

“We shipped her out this morning (Wednesday),” said Chris Ryder, trainer of I Luv The Nitelife. Ryder says that the filly is in great shape and he is expecting her to race at the level fans have become accustomed to this year.

[DRF HARNESS: Watch the stars of Harness Racing in the American Nationals at Balmoral Park - LIVE on DRF!]

“I thought she was very sharp in the Breeders Crown and she came out of that race in good shape,” said Ryder.

Despite not racing for three weeks, I Luv The Nitelife has still managed to make industry news. Though ranked third in the polling for Horse of the Year, owner Richard Young proposed a match-race between his filly and the leading pacing colt Captaintreacherous.

“I didn’t find out about that until five minutes before it went public,” said Ryder of Young’s challenge.

“Sure I’m behind it as well.”

Does Ryder actually think the filly can beat the colt?

“Absolutely. In a two-horse race it would be a sprint the last quarter mile,” Ryder said.

While the challenge is not likely to come off, Young and Ryder will have a chance to move up in the rankings with a victory on Saturday night. Bee A Magician and Captaintreacherous, both rated ahead of the pacing filly, will also compete in American Nationals on Saturday, with Bee A Magician in race eight and Captaintreacherous in race nine. Perhaps that’s as close as I Luv The Nitelife and Captaintreacherous will get to meeting on the racetrack.

Ryder is looking ahead, having shuttled back and forth between his stable in New Jersey and Harrisburg this week to collect more yearlings for the coming season, he was able to reflect on next year for I Luv The Nitelife.

“I think there’s room for her to fill out some more and mature. Just look at her pedigree they all seem to improve with age,” said Ryder, referring directly to the late-blooming aged pacing star Lis Mara.

While Luv The Nitelife (post seven) has been the dominant filly in her division, Saturday’s contest could put her up against a new rival in the improving Charisma Hanover. The Ron Burke-trained lass is riding her own winning streak entering the American National. The daughter of Dragon Again has won three straight, including most recently an elimination and final of the Lady Maud at Yonkers Raceway. Yannick Gingras will drive her from post eight.

Ryder also has an interesting prospect in Bushwacker, a $135,000 yearling purchase last year by Craig Henderson’s Henderson Farms. The gelded son of Rocknroll Hanover emerged with a 1:51 4/5 victory in last week’s American National elimination race.

“We qualified him early at the Meadowlands but I just wasn’t happy with the way he was going. It took us some time to get him set and then we made the decision to geld him,” said Ryder, admitting that decision was not an easy one considering the horse’s pedigree.

Bushwacker is from a Camluck half-sister to Put On A Show, so essentially he’s got the same bloodlines as the $2.4 million winning mare that is owned by Henderson in partnership with Richard Young.

“I would like his chances a little more if he were inside,” said Ryder, concerned that post 10 may be a little difficult to overcome in the $113,000 fourth race American National division for juvenile pacing colts.

“We had to find races for him and that’s why I sent him down to Lexington,” said Ryder. “He’s shown improvement in every race.”

Tim Tetrick will drive both of Ryder’s entries on Saturday night.

Following the American National and providing no match race takes place, I Luv The Nitelife’s next and final sophomore start will come on November 30 at the New Meadowlands in the $200,000 estimated Nadia Lobell.