05/22/2013 12:45PM

Hoosier Park: Bolt The Duer is ready to roll in $200,000 Dan Patch

Derick Giwner
Bolt The Duer paced a 1:47 4/5 mile as a 3-year-old last year.

Few would argue that the older pacing division in 2013 is one of the best assembled in recent years. Among that group is Bolt The Duer, one of the favorites to capture the $200,000 Dan Patch Invitational on Saturday at Hoosier Park.

Coming off a strong 3-year-old campaign where he earned $902,610, Bolt The Duer put in a trio of qualifiers leading up to last week’s $100,000 Meadowlands Maturity effort where he finished a good fourth. Regular driver Mark MacDonald was happy with the effort and even more satisfied with the way the son of Ponder has come back to the races this year.

“He’s really filled out and is more mature,” said MacDonald. “I was really happy with him the other night. I think he needed a start. He qualified well, but I don’t think he was really ripped and ready to go.”

Most horses have a distinct style and Bolt The Duer’s has been that of a tracker. While he scored victories from on and off the pace in 2012, the Peter Foley trained colt clearly did his best work when near the front and able to pounce on the leaders in the stretch.

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“He really is handy. He can race from anywhere,” said MacDonald on the colt’s versatility. “He sits in a hole with two fingers (in the handholds) and can go a quarter in 25 seconds and then back it down to 31 seconds.”

Bolt The Duer’s victories last year speak volumes about his natural ability to adapt to the situation. From Northfield Park’s half-mile oval to the five-eighths track at The Meadows, or even the mile track at the Meadowlands, Bolt The Duer scored wins regardless of track dimensions or surface.

MacDonald is confident about his chances on Saturday and very grateful to be driving Bolt The Duer on a regular basis.

“I wouldn’t trade him for anyone,” said MacDonald, who will start from post 7 on Saturday. “It’s nice to have an owner in John Como Jr. who is easy to drive for and understands racing. He just wants me to do the right thing by the horse and lets me do what I have to.”

Of course, with talented horses like Hurrikane Kingcole, A Rocknroll Dance, Up The Credit and Aracache Hanover signed on to the rich event, the waters will be deep for Bolt The Duer.

Hurrikane Kingcole (post 1) has speed which only the upper-echelon equines possess. He was brilliant in his 2013 debut, followed that up with a strong second place finish in 1:48 1/5, but tired in the stretch after brushing to the front and pacing a 1:21 4/5 three quarters at the Meadowlands in last week’s Maturity. Perhaps the presence of new driver Brett Miller will bring Hurrikane Kingcole a much deserved trip to the winner’s circle.

A Rocknroll Dance was the early season sensation in 2012 with Meadowlands Pace and Max Hempt victories. He made his first start of the year in the Maturity off only one somewhat pedestrian qualifier at Hoosier Park in 1:53 4/5 and improvement is certainly well within his reach in race number two. John Campbell is listed to drive A Rocknroll Dance leaving from post 8.

Despite over $1.2 million in career earnings and a 2011 North America Cup trophy on his mantle, Up The Credit (post 9) wouldn’t have been high on anyone’s list to score in the Dan Patch before his latest mile. But after a sizzling 1:48 3/5 wire-to-wire effort at Woodbine, the Carl Jamison trainee might be on the comeback trail.

Aracache Hanover (post 10) has been one of the trickier horses to predict throughout his career. Since reaching the older pacing ranks he sports just 11 wins in 53 starts. While that is a subpar total for a top pacer, Aracache Hanover has earned just over $1.5 million in his lifetime and has stepped up with some big miles at times.

Rockincam will try to repeat as Dan Patch champion. The 6-year-old scored a 10-1 upset in last year's event. He will start from post 4.

Rounding out the 10-horse field are fellow hard-knocking pacers Paco Labrook (post 2), Versado (post 3), Fred And Ginger (post 5) and Dancin Yankee (post 6).

Post time for the 14-race card at Hoosier, which features a $10,000 guaranteed pick four starting in race 8 and a $25,000 guaranteed superfecta pool in the Dan Patch (race 11),  is scheduled for 5:30pm EST. Approximate post time for the Dan Patch is 9:30pm.