02/19/2015 5:06PM

Meadowlands: Gingras reviews Saturday stakes drives

Lisa Photo
Major Uptrend is the 8-5 morning line favorite in the sixth race on Saturday at the Meadowlands.

Stakes nights were among the best nights for 2014’s leading driver Yannick Gingras. With Saturday night’s stakes-filled program at the Meadowlands looming, Gingras is again in the driver’s seat for success. Horsepower is a great part of Gingras’ climb to the top of the ladder and again on Saturday he’ll have quality.

Perhaps his best chance to reach the winner’s circle in Saturday’s stakes action will come in the sixth race with Major Uptrend. The four-year-old gelding, a former $177,000 yearling purchase, has found his best stride in recent weeks and has an excellent chance in the $59,000 Sonsam final from post three.

“He showed a lot of class the night I let Rockeyed Optimist get right up to him. He fought back,” said Gingras, referring to the first leg of the Sonsam on February 7 at the Meadowlands. Major Uptrend held off his likely rival in Saturday’s finale by a nose. Last week he proved that the effort was no fluke with an inspiring 1:50 3/5 career-best performance. “It was like a walk in the park,” said Gingras.

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Major Uptrend has won three of his four starts this year when Gingras was in the bike.  The loss took place in a division of the Escort series in January. “I don’t know exactly what happened that night, he was running in a little bit,” said Gingras.

While Major Uptrend appears to have plenty of speed, soundness has clearly been an issue in the horse’s career that limited him to but 14 starts as a three-year-old. “I don’t know how far he can go,” said Gingras. “He’s not Foiled Again.”

Blocking The Way will be Gingras’ mount in the first stakes final of the evening, the $49,000 Charles Singer Memorial, carded as race two.

“He drew better so I should be able to save ground,” said Gingras about the four-year-old gelding he guided to a fifth-place finish in this company last week.

“I think Andy’s (Miller) horse (Opulent Yankee) and JL Cruze are definitely the horses to beat in this race,” Gingras said.

The six-mare field in the $50,600 Burning Point final is very well matched and Gingras’ drive, Southwind Serenity, is perhaps as good as any in the field. The Ron Burke-trained miss hasn’t won in 2015 but she seems to be rounding into top form.

“She tied up in the second leg,” said Gingras. “She was much better last week.”

In the second preliminary to the Burning Point, Gingras was aggressive leaving with the daughter of Real Desire and then pulled out on the final turn when he sensed that favorite and pacesetter Witch Dali was not going to carry him to the wire.

“I knew I had Witch Dali beat, but Brett’s mare (Empress Deo) was getting a perfect trip and she got to me late,” Gingras said. For the Burning Point final Southwind Serenity has a post position edge over Empress Deo (post 5) and Witch Dali (post 6) that could play well for Gingras.

Two divisions of the William Buddy Gilmour for three-year-olds that were non-winners of 2 pari-mutuel races or $30,000 lifetime are scheduled at the Meadowlands with Gingras sitting behind a pair from the Ron Burke stable. Gingras will drive Coaster in the $17,500 first division (race five) on the program.

“I was very happy with the way he raced last week,” said Gingras. “That National Seelster is a nice horse.” Coaster will again meet up with National Seelster in this race starting from post eight while his rival, the likely race favorite, drew the pole position.

The second division of the Gilmour goes as race 12. The lightly-raced Shadow Recruit is Gingras’ assignment starting from post three. “I really like him a lot,” said Gingras. “But this is a tough spot with Wiggle It Jiggleit in the race. I mean that horse went a serious mile against real horses last time.”

Wiggle It Jiggleit is likely to be the heavy favorite despite landing post eight in this division. The Montrell Teague-driven gelding blew away older rivals with a vengeance scoring in 1:49 4/5 in a division of the Sonsam two weeks back. His connections obviously went for what should be the easier money against three-year-olds in the Gilmour rather than take on the aged performers in the Sonsam final.