01/19/2012 5:39PM

Itrustyou heads Meadowlands Saturday card

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Itrustyou looks for his ninth straight win in the Complex Series on Saturday

The Complex series for 5-year-olds and under, and the Presidential for Free For All horses take center stage on Saturday at the Meadowlands. There are many potential stars but the spotlight will clearly be on Itrustyou, who is looking for his ninth straight victory.

Itrustyou began his prolific streak on October 10, 2011 at Colonial Downs for trainer Dean Collins. He would win one additional race for Collins before switching barns.

“We tried to make a deal for [Itrustyou] all year,” said current trainer Ron Burke. “We watched him race at the Meadows and thought he would really take to a big track.”

In his Burke barn debut, the 4-year-old gelding immediately set a new lifetime mark of 1:50.2 in a conditioned event at Chester. Following two more wins at Chester, Itrustyou was sent north to take a shot in the Valedictory series at Woodbine.

“We sent him to Chester and he beat better horses. That made us think that maybe we underestimated him,” said Burke.

Canada proved no obstacle as Itrustyou took home over $40,000 in purse money while winning both his north-of-the-border races. He was now ready for the Complex series at the Meadowlands, his biggest career test.

Starting from post 10, Itrustyou tucked early and overcame a first-over trip in gutsy fashion to find the wire first in a new lifetime best time of 1:50.

“He’s way better than we imagined. We thought last week (Complex leg 1) he was beat for sure. The way he dug in to win the Complex, that really impressed me,” said Burke, who admits that he is still leery of Itrustyou because of his subpar breeding.

“For the most part, the good ones who last a while as top horses are well bred. He has been good so far but who knows how he will stack up as the better horses return,” said Burke.

The Third Straight-Dynamic Lady product has exceeded expectations and will get the chance to continue to prove breeding experts wrong when he faces six other betting interests and his entry mate in the second leg of the Complex series on Saturday (race 2).

Itrustyou’s main competition is sure to come from Stonebridge Rocket. The Rocknroll Hanover-sired gelding was used hard while making two moves in leg one and only lost by a couple of lengths. That was his first start in 26 days and one would expect he will be even better with that race under his belt.

A wildcard may be Keep Going. The 5-year-old was a non-factor last week but gets a major driver change to Brian Sears, who actually picked Keep Going over Stonebridge Rocket. The previous time trainer Thomas Cullinan called on a catch-driver, Keep Going lived up to his name with a lifetime best 1:49.3 mile.

Burke sends out three more from his powerful stable in the first division of the Complex (race 1). Risk Management, who just missed versus Itrustyou last week, is the lead dog of the trio which also includes Arsenal and Major Belle.

“I like all five of my horses in the Complex. I think any of them could step up,” said Burke.

Hardly playing second fiddle to Itrustyou on the Saturday card is Golden Receiver in the second round of the Presidential series (race 10). The 7-year-old Village Jove gelding blasted down the road in the first leg of the series to post the fastest January mile in harness racing history – 1:48.

The tough six-horse field also features River Shark, who hung a similarly awesome 1:48.4 mile on the same night, and Rockin The House, who finished with pace at both ends of his mile last week despite a bad shuffle.

“Golden Receiver looks unbeatable right now, but he is not going to be left alone (on the lead) in the final,” said Burke, trainer of Rockin The House.

“Yeah, Golden Receiver went a great mile last week, but when you put it in perspective, everyone went a second or a second and a half faster than the previous week. The track was wonderful; it was firm,” continued Burke, who commented that his $3.7 million earner Won The West was doing “great” in preparation for his 8-year-old campaign.

The first split of the Presidential (race 4) serves as another Burke showcase. The Trainer of the Year for 2011 sends out Annieswesterncard and Fred And Ginger. They will tackle five others including Silent Swing, who has won both of his starts this year in wire to wire fashion.

Post time for the 12-race Saturday card at the Meadowlands is 7 pm.

Friday Night Quotes

Three divisions of the Clyde Hirt series are on tap for Friday. Thebestofjoel (race 3), Real Flight (race 5), and Mickey Hanover (race 7) are the morning line favorites. Here are a few thoughts from some of the trainers of possible contenders:

Thebestofjoel (Ron Burke) – “He has started to come around. As long as he doesn’t have to leave too hard he has a good shot. His effort exceeded my expectations in the first leg.”

Cam B Zipper (Noel Daley) – “We have only had him for a week. They gave him to me to race in this and maybe one more series. We did a little bit of vet work and will move his hobbles up. Not really sure why he broke (in leg one) but he set himself quickly so I’m not concerned. He seemed fine training down on Tuesday. He looks like he can go with these.”

Cruznwithdabigdog (Burke) – “His trainer at the Meadows asked us to take him for the series. We were pleased with his effort last week considering he had a screwed up trip. I think he has a slightly better chance than my other one (Thebestofjoel) in the series.”

Sonic Dancer (Kevin Mc Dermott) – “We bought him for $135,000 because we think he has a ton of ability. I’m at the same farm as Linda (Toscano, former trainer), so I know the horse. I trained him in 2:12, but coming out of the sale I don’t think he’ll be 100 percent. A lot of the sale horses are typically rested for a few days before the sale and are not in top form. I’m thinking we will race him from behind while aiming for the Exit 16W series and the Cam Fella at Woodbine.”

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