02/07/2013 10:01AM

Meadowlands: Kings Legend hopes for Exit 16W success


Heading into Saturday’s opening round action of the Exit 16W series at the Meadowlands, trainer PJ Fraley is concerned as to whether his Kings Legend will be able to handle the unbeaten in 2013 Holdingallthecards.

“I’m not sure if he can beat Scott’s (DiDomenico) horse,” Fraley said.

Fortunately for Fraley, Kings Legend did not draw in with that horse in opening round action and will seek his third straight victory in the $18,000 third race on the Meadowlands program.

Kings Legend was purchased for $50,000 by Bamond Racing LLC this past November at the Harrisburg sale. “We bought him off of Erv Miller,” said Fraley.

Kings Legend opened his season making a break in an overnight event at the Meadowlands and then had to qualify back.

“Because of the break we had to miss the first leg of the Clyde Hirt series,” said Fraley.

So when Kings Legend was pitted against Holdingallthecards in the second leg of the series it was all-or-nothing for the connections.

“He came first over against Scott’s horse and he held his ground okay, but he couldn’t go by,” said Fraley about Kings Legend’s third place finish.

With nothing to race for at the Meadowlands, Kings Legend shipped across the river to Yonkers and got on the winning track with a pair of wire-to-wire victories.

The first win came against some seasoned veterans with Kings Legend scoring authoritatively in 1:53 flat. In his next outing he didn’t need to go as fast but was still comfortable winning in the lucrative non-winners of 8 pari-mutuel races class in 1:54 1/5.

“He’s still eligible for that class,” Fraley said with an obvious eye on a return to Yonkers once this series is over.

In this Saturday’s contest, David Miller will guide Kings Legend from post two. The Exit 16W is a late closing series for four-year-olds that were non-winners of three pari-mutuel races or $100,000 lifetime through January 18, 2013.

Man He Can Skoot seems the horse to beat in Kings Legend’s division. The four-year-old was a solid second in the Clyde Hirt final overcoming post 10 at odds of 59-1. Last week in the one and one-sixteenth miles prep for this series, Man He Can Skoot showed a wicked burst of speed on the backstretch and held tenaciously for second in the equivalent of a 1:50 mile. Simon Allard will drive him from post seven.

Holdingallthecards returns from a week on the bench and will start from post eight in the second race Exit 16W division. The Tim Tetrick-driven gelding will meet some new and old foes in this contest. Sunday Poker just squeezed under the earnings ceiling for this series while racing in Ontario in January and will have a real shot to show himself from the pole with Eric Carlson aboard.

Mr Dennis was a solid third in the Hirt final in his first start for trainer Nick Surick. Last week Surick made a host of equipment changes and the half-brother to the former champion Lis Mara paced brilliantly winning in 1:57 at the mile and one sixteenth distance last Saturday. Mr Dennis drew post four with Andy Miller driving.

The first Exit 16W division goes as race one and appears the most widely competitive of the three races. The Ron Burke-trained entry of Papa Ray (post one) and Urawomanizer (post two) will likely be favored in a field that includes the promising Yo Cheyenne Rocky (post eight) and Hirt preliminary winner Bestjetyet (post seven).

Fraley is in the midst of a Meadowlands drought. The conditioner heads a string of 36 horses training at White Birch Farm and has been somewhat frustrated this season going winless in his first 24 attempts.

“It hasn’t been easy thus far. I find we do much better at Yonkers,” Fraley said.

Fraley will send out the $45,000 recent Tattersalls Winter Mixed Sale buy Beach Boy Tiger in the sixth race, a B-1 event.

“He made a wild break leaving at Yonkers and George (Brennan) came back and told me the horse had a world of speed,” Fraley said. The B-1 classification put the horse in much higher company than Fraley would have liked and he suggested a return trip to Yonkers would be imminent.

Cold Bath will be making his first four-year-old start for Fraley in the 12th race, a $15,000-$20,000 claiming handicap. While the trainer thought the horse might need a start having not raced competitively since late November, he wouldn’t be surprised if he raced well considering 60 percent of the field is made up of $15,000 claimers.

Meadowlands 13-race program on Saturday night begins at 7:15 p.m. featuring a $75,000 guaranteed late Pick 4 (races 7-10).