02/08/2012 2:33PM

Meadowlands: Gingras has wealth of riches for Friday card


Driver Yannick Gingras is off to a flying start. As the Meadowlands moves into the second week of February, Gingras is already distancing himself from the competition.

His win percentage of above 30 percent is insane. Especially when Brian Sears, Tim Tetrick, Ron Pierce, and Dave Miller are regulars on the New M circuit.

For Gingras, who has elected to take it easy during the first three months of 2012, the results are a blessing considering what he calls a "part-time" schedule.

"I decided to just race the three days at the Meadowlands and take the others to be off and spend time with my family," he said on one of those off-days. "The schedule can get very busy during the spring and summer and I don't want to miss my kids growing up."

So for the time being Gingras will spend his Thursday through Saturday nights at the Meadowlands, at least until Chester opens in March.

As for his 45 victories in his first 145 starts at the Meadowlands this year, Gingras was grateful for the good horses he's driven. Though much of his success has been directly linked to leading trainer Ron Burke's endless supply of late-closer and overnight power, Gingras credited others as well.

"I've been very fortunate to be put up on some live horses from a lot of different trainers," he said. "Sure, the Burkes always send out sharp horses, but there are many others that help me to succeed."

On Friday night Gingras has another chance at a big night with a host of star power on the stakes-laden program. He took some time to go over a few of his key mounts.

"Rock N Soul raced well in her first start back," he said in regard to his second race $35,000 Cape & Cutter leg entrant. "She won her qualifier but really didn't go enough (1:53.20) to be race-ready. I thought she finished well from a tough spot last week."

The $1.5 million winner Ginger And Fred is a likely odds-on favorite in the second Cape & Cutter division, race four on the card. While Ginger And Fred was an easy winner on the front end in the first leg of the series, Gingras didn't set out that way.

"I wanted to race her from off the pace but there really wasn't any pace and I thought it would be better to get her to the front," he said.

Yet the driver is wary of racing the six-year-old mare continuously on the front end. "Last year in the Matchmaker (Yonkers) I raced her a few too many weeks in a row on the front end and I think that hurt her," he said.

On paper Gingras's fifth race mount may seem an outsider, but judging from his review of Risk Management's last race that may prove not to be the case. The four-year-old from the Burke stable drew post eight and most overcome first round winners Sonic Dancer and Whogoesfirst, along with Clyde Hirt champion Special T Rocks.

Risk Management finished second, missing a head in last week's first-round action. "I was trying to move him to the front but he started cheating on me," Gingras said. "That's why I had to get after him."

When Risk Management didn't clear, the horse was hung out to dry and eventually was looped on the final turn by race winner Sonic Dancer. Despite the arduous journey, Gingras didn't think his horse was out of gas.

"I got pinched a bit at the head of the stretch when the leader bore out, but the horse finished well and I think I could have won that race," he said.

Gingras will get a chance to drive Hava Kadabra for the first time in 2012 in the $30,000 invitational trot. It's something he's excited about and been waiting for a little longer than he would have liked.

"Ron (Burke) had him ready in early January but we tried getting him in but the race didn't fill," he said.

After not racing for a few weeks, Hava Kadabra qualified again on Jan. 26 and then had to wait two weeks to get in.

"They just haven't been able to fill this race and he's had to sit on the sidelines," said Gingras, who shares an ownership interest in Hava Kadabra. "He showed some talent last year and he's a big and nice-going horse.

Gingras thinks the horse will fit well in this class. "I'm just hoping that now that this race has filled the horses will return and we'll have a chance to race him," he said.

The final division of the Exit 16W may prove to be the first true test for the streaking Itrustyou this year. A winner in 11 straight races, Itrusttyou will meet first-round winner Fearless Diablo and seven other rivals in the $18,000 test.

"He just seems to have no bottom," said Gingras, referring to Itrustyou, who landed post four and is expected to be a short-priced favorite. "Anytime you ask him he just goes."

Gingras masterfully kept the pace slow and his rivals at bay in Itrustyou's opening-leg victory.

Gingras followers should be in for another big night on Friday.


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