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Jay Bergman: Ryder's hopes are high for I Luv The Nitelife
By Jay Bergman
When one trainer can purchase two fillies by the same sire three years apart and capture the prestigious Shes A Great Lady with both as juveniles, people are going to draw parallels. In 2008, Chris Ryder struck gold when he purchased Put On A Show for $75,000 at auction. Three years later he went looking again and found another daughter of Rocknroll Hanover. This one, I Luv The Nitelife, cost $60,000.
Put On A Show had a brilliant two-year-old season in 2009, winning seven of nine races. She earned $732,306 and captured both the elimination and final of the Shes A Great Lady. She won the Eternal Camnation and finished second in the Breeders Crown final.
Last year, I Luv The Nitelife, like Put On A Show owned by Richard and Joanne Young, captured the elimination and final of the Shes A Great Lady. She won the Eternal Camnation, and, yes, she too finished second in the Breeders Crown. The Rocknroll Hanover-sired filly earned $689,530 while also setting a world record of 1:50 1/5. I Luv The Nitelife had a season’s scorecard of 10-4-4-1 on the year.
“Are there similiarities,” said Ryder, “Sure there are similarities. They’re both by Rocknroll Hanover, they’re both owned by the Youngs. I Luv The Nitelife went faster as a two-year-old and Put On A Show earned more money.”
That’s where Ryder put an end to the comparisons. The trainer is clearly well aware of what Put On A Show already went on to do in her career and what I Luv The Nitelife still must prove.
Said Ryder: “She’s definitely more professional this year. She raced better than the type of filly we thought we had last year. She didn’t train like a horse that was going to go out and pace in 1:50."
Now that she has shown the potential, the focus will be greater on I Luv The Nitelife. With Tim Tetrick in the bike, she made her sophomore debut on Saturday night in a division of the New Jersey Sire Stakes at the Meadowlands (Put On A Show did the same in 2009) and was victorious, if not overly impressive.
“I was happy with her,” said Ryder. “Tim told me she took off on him down the backstretch when he was trying to rein her in. I was happy she got the victory. I think she’ll be better with a few more races under her belt.”
I Luv The Nitelife is not as big as Put On A Show was but “she’s very wide behind,” as Ryder put it.
I Luv the Nitelife will look next towards the New Jersey Sire Stakes final at the Meadowlands on June 1 and then ship north for the Fan Hanover eliminations at Mohawk on June 8. Tetrick drove Put On A Show during her three-year-old season and has committed to drive I Luv The Nitelife this year.
The Ryder stable has plenty of power in 2013 and it looks as if I Luv The Nitelife will have company in the form of Martini Hanover when she goes north in June. Martini Hanover ended his two-year-old season in 2012 scoring in the Metro consolation at Mohawk in early September.
“We took a chip out of his hind ankle after the Metro consolation,” Ryder said in regard to the abbreviated season.
“I’m happy that he’s come back sound. He’s a nice horse.”
Perhaps Ryder doesn’t want to get that high on this gelded son of Dragon Again considering how difficult it can be to gauge pacing colts in this era of intense speed.
Martini Hanover was absolutely brilliant in his second start of the season, which came Sunday night at Mohegan Sun at Pocono Downs. Dave Palone guided the precocious sophomore to a 1:49 3/5 mile in the $62,587 division of the Pennsylvania Sire Stakes.
“Dave was really happy with him, he couldn’t say enough good things after the race,” Ryder said.
Martini Hanover paced home in 26 3/5 while enjoying more than a five-length margin over odds-on favorite Apprentice Hanover, who was third in last year’s Metro final.
While Ryder wasn’t comparing Martini Hanover to Captaintreacherous or any other three-year-old, it should be noted that the Captain won a Sire Stakes division in 1:49 4/5, also sporting a 26 3/5 final quarter.
Ryder plans to send Martini Hanover to The Meadows for another Pennsylvania Sire Stakes event on May 31 before pointing the horse towards Mohawk for the North America Cup eliminations on June 8.
With 30 head in the stable, Ryder has already achieved some reasonable success this year, capturing both divisions of the Lady Suffolk at Freehold on May 3 with Vida De Vie and Lola De Vie, two homebred trotting fillies owned by Joie De Vie Farm.
On the two-year-old front, the clock is ticking towards the opening of the juvenile season and Ryder likes what he has so far. He’s been most impressed by the attitudes and talent he’s seen in the first crop from Muscle Hill.
“I’ve got three of them," said Ryder. "We trained the other day in 2:05 and they all finished together. They all have good attitudes, are pretty well gaited and are looking to go forward.”
Of those, Ryder singled out Southwind Poseidon, a $20,000 yearling, as perhaps the most talented of the lot.
“He’s out of a Dream Vacation mare,” said Ryder, who joked about his luck with yearlings. “The most expensive one is out in the field.”
On the pacing side, Ryder is cautiously optimistic about Mach To The Max, a Mach Three-sired homebred colt from the Real Artist mare Thrilled.
“He’s been in 2:03,” said Ryder.
The Ryder stable is already off to a fast start in 2013 with the stakes season now upon us. The trainer has a Universal trainer rating of .0339 this year, well above his ratings over the last few years. He’s got some serious sophomore pacing talent and promising two-year-olds on the way.
If there is a parallel the trainer would like to see, it’s probably that 2013 should mirror 2004, when his stable earned over $3 million.
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