07/24/2014 4:04PM

Harness: I Luv The Nitelife ready to return to action

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Derick Giwner
I Luv The Nitelife is set to qualify Saturday morning.

I Luv The Nitelife, who was named the best 3-year-old female pacer of 2013 in both the U.S. and Canada, is ready to return to action after being sidelined last November because of a fractured knee. She will compete in a qualifier Saturday morning at the Meadowlands, with the hopes of returning to stakes action in September.

“Swim and train, that’s been her program,” said trainer Chris Ryder, adding happily, “Now we get to swim and race. That’s better than training.”

I Luv The Nitelife won 13 of 15 races last year and $1.25 million for Ryder and owners Richard and Joanne Young. Her triumphs included the Breeders Crown, Fan Hanover, Valley Forge, Lynch Memorial, Jugette and Mistletoe Shalee. Her 1:48 4/5 time in the Valley Forge is the world record for a 3-year-old filly on a five-eighths-mile track.

For her career, the daughter of Rocknroll Hanover-Lisjune has won 17 of 25 races and $1.94 million. No female pacer in history has won more money at ages 2 and 3.

Ryder hopes to have I Luv The Nitelife, who suffered a minor setback because of atrial fibrillation in early June, ready for the Milton Stakes in mid-September.

“She’s going to qualify a couple times and then we’ll look for an overnight or two,” Ryder said. “She’s training very well. Everything is good with her.

“It’s exciting. It’s tough to get a horse like this. It’s a little crushing when they go down. You get a little used to winning those big races; you can’t take it for granted. When it’s gone, you realize there’s a hole there. And it’s near impossible to fill.”

-Courtesy of Harness Racing Communications, a division of the U.S. Trotting Association. For more information, please visit www.ustrotting.com

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