01/25/2018 8:47PM

Meadowlands: Ford discusses his weekend octet


Amateur racing at The Meadowlands has proven advantageous to trainer Mark Ford, who has a couple of horses entered on Friday night at The Meadowlands remaining at competitive levels due to their recent listings.

“Rockin Redford may have been the unluckiest horse all last year,” said Ford. “Roy (Marohn) did a great job racing him in the Amateur events the last two times just sitting out there and waiting.”

Rockin Redford (post 4) enters Friday’s sixth race at The Meadowlands with consecutive victories but remains in a non-winners of $5,000 in last 5 starts due to the amateur earnings exclusion. “He’s a really nice horse and should do well at this level,” said Ford. Anthony Napolitano picks up the catch drive.

Upfront Billy, a 9-year-old war-horse, drew post six in the eighth race on Friday night and his trainer is always positive about this horse.

“He’s a fun, fun horse to be around,” said Ford of Upfront Billy. “He’s had three major setbacks in his career and some vets have suggested that he wouldn’t come back. Last week you could see he just wanted to win.” Ford was referring to the 1:53 4/5 victory last Saturday at The Meadowlands, the 48th in the career of the $800K lifetime earner.

For UF Dragon’s Queen, Ford’s charge in the ninth race, a non-winners of $8,500 for fillies and mares, a return to form may seem likely. “She’s been in a bit over her head,” said Ford. “She’s just a solid racehorse and I expect her to race well.”

U F Dragon’s Queen drew post five and is dropping in class, but so are a few other mares in this highly competitive group.

While Ford was excited about Rockin Redford’s move into a class with amateur earnings excluded, the same couldn’t be said for his tenth race entrant Party On The River. The 6-year-old son of Kadabra came out of two straight amateur races with victories and has flattened out somewhat in the non-winners of $5,000 class. Amateur Roy Marohn will once again guide him. “Roy’s won 700-800 races in his life and has done a good job with this horse,” said Ford.

The 5-year-old mare Drag N Sand is Ford’s final performer in Friday’s program and the daughter of Dragon Again will soon undergo a career change. “I’m racing her for Winbak. She’s going to be a broodmare in the Spring,” said Ford. Drag N Sand drew post four with Anthony Napolitano in the bike in race 13.

On Saturday night Ford’s Cruiserwillwin may in fact be ready for a victory. The 4-year-old by Yankee Cruiser has recently added Lasix. “He was off for six weeks and definitely needed a race or two,” said Ford. “I think the Lasix was a big help.” Cruiserwillwin was acquired by Ford last year from Roger Hammer and Todd Schadel.

Saturday’s fourth race puts Ford’s Aston Hill Dave on the outside looking in from post 10 and the trainer didn’t seem that concerned. “I think there are a lot of horses in the field that are similar to him,” said Ford, not necessarily praising his horse but suggesting the playing field in this group is level. A winner just twice over his last two years on the racetrack, the trainer summed it up, “He doesn’t try that hard,” Ford said.

Northern Assassin A may give Ford and his stable the best chance for victory in East Rutherford this weekend. The 9-year-old import was acquired at the Harrisburg auction last fall and appears to be at his best on the big track. “We tried him at Yonkers but he’s really not comfortable getting around the half-miler,” said Ford. “Last week I don’t know what was going on, Vinny Ginsburg parked him the whole way yet I thought Northern Assassin raced very well considering.”

The fifth-place finish in the claiming handicap last week made Ford drop the asking price for Northern Assassin A to $20,000, earning him a post three draw in Saturday’s $20/$22,500 claiming handicap.