01/16/2013 10:35PM

Meadowlands: Golden Receiver feels at home in New Jersey

Lisa Photo
Golden Receiver has 50 career wins in 122 starts.

There are horses for courses and then there’s Golden Receiver.

The odds-on favorite to capture Saturday’s second leg of the Presidential Series at the Meadowlands, won five races in 2012 at the East Rutherford mile track in 1:48 2/5 or faster. Few horses in the sport’s history can match that dominance and none of his 10 rivals in Saturday’s $40,000 contest share his speed or class.

“We’re looking at the same schedule for him this year as he had in 2012,” said trainer Mark Harder.

What that meant was instead of taking this week off and prepping for the final, it’s full speed ahead.

“There really isn’t much between the Presidential and the Spring Championship (Woodbine in March) so he’ll have plenty of time to rest,” Harder said.

Golden Receiver captured one of the two divisions of last week’s Presidential first leg going wire-to-wire. The veteran has done some of his best racing on the front end and that figures to be the case once again this week, especially with the larger field.

For Harder, he recognizes that Golden Receiver has a target on his back and at some point more than one horse may want to take a shot at his champion in the early stages. Saturday’s field may provide the competition that Harder would rather not see since trainer Ron Burke has entered four horses in the race including Fred And Ginger, a veteran pacer that finished second in Golden Receiver’s 1:49 performance last week. Of the Burke entries, only Fred And Ginger has a favorable draw, starting from post three versus Golden Receiver’s post six. The other Burke stable members include Meirs Hanover (post 9), who finished second to Golden Receiver in a Presidential prep on January 5, Rockin The House (post 10) and Annieswesterncard (post 11).

Versado shocked some in the racing world with his game victory in the other Presidential division last week. Winning the race at 8-1 odds was a bonus for those willing to back a horse that had won just two days earlier at Dover Downs and then stepped in with a 1:49 4/5 front-end victory at the Meadowlands.

Versado, trained by Nick Surick, drew post four with Andy Miller in the bike.

Dial Or Nodial, finished a nose behind Versado in last week’s battle and may be ready to change his strategy this week. The seven-year-old from the Jim Campbell stable came a long way without cover in his Presidential debut, the third straight time he’d raced without cover. Dial Or Nodial starts from post five.

The impressive import Mr Hasani N finished a decent third in his Meadowlands and Presidential debut last week. The five-year-old son of Christian Cullen was a star this fall at Harrah’s Philadelphia, rising up the class ladder for trainer Darran Cassar before capturing the final $75,000 Open to close out the season. Mr Hasani N drew post eight and may be hard pressed to out-sprint Golden Receiver this week.

Modern Legend may be one of the more intriguing entries in the Presidential. Unraced at two, Modern Legend won five of his nine races as a three-year-old in 2011. In 2012 he won seven of nine starts including an impressive victory last winter in the Cam Fella final at Woodbine. In that race he paced in 1:50 4/5 after recovering from an interference break. In his Meadowlands debut last week he showed plenty of early speed to get the pocket behind Golden Receiver and then just couldn’t sprint as hard as some of his more seasoned rivals finishing third. With the experience he could improve from Saturday’s rail post.

Trainer Harder has a pair of solid four-year-olds racing in the A-2 and B-1 classes on Saturday night. Lawgiver Hanover, a solid closing second in last week’s B-1 event, drew post five in the evening’s ninth race. The trainer admitted that he has been somewhat disappointed with his horse’s consistency.

Bakin On The Beach has battled hard for Harder in both Meadowlands starts this meet but has yet to reach the winner’s circle.

“I would have thought he would have won a race by now. He’s had some tough trips,” said Harder.

Bakin On The Beach drew post eight in the evening’s sixth race. Harder believes that Bakin On The Beach is likely to be a notch below the top pacers this year. He confirmed that although the son of McArdle is solid on all sized tracks a trip to Yonkers this spring for the Levy Series is out of the question.