12/17/2015 4:53PM

Meadowlands: Mark Ford with 10 chances to win Saturday

Mark Ford recently took over as the head of the Standardbred Breeders & Owners Association of New Jersey.

It’s not every day a trainer sends 10 horses to post at the Meadowlands, but the last few weeks of the year the East Rutherford oval is the place to be. The closing of Yonkers as well as the Eastern Pennsylvania tracks has made the entry box overflow. Trainer Mark Ford recently moved into a new position as head of the New Jersey horsemen and he showed his loyalty by offering a full gamut of racing stock for the 14-race program on Saturday.

Ford acknowledged his reasoning.

“With Yonkers closed for three weeks I don’t want these horses to miss that much time,” Ford said. “There are others that I couldn’t put in this week that I will enter next week.”

[DRF HARNESS LIVE: Real-time insights from the DRF Harness team this Saturday at 6:50 p.m.]

From the collection of 10, Ford singled out a few in good enough form to contend this week while at the same time conceding the obvious. “You have to enter some knowing that they’ll be overmatched in order to get good spots for some others,” Ford said.

Exactly where Madiba Magic N, an 18-1 upsetter last week at Yonkers, fits is up for debate but Ford was one of those not surprised by the import’s victory from post eight a week ago.

“He was sitting on a big race,” said Ford of the 1:52 3/5 mile. “He had so many seven and eight holes it wasn’t easy.” But the 6-year-old veteran now faces a field that may be similar in class from post three in the evening’s seventh race. Madiba Magic N meets a group that includes other shippers from Yonkers as well as the recently shuttered for the season Harrah’s Philadelphia.

Ford has only had the sophomore UF Larry Alltheway for a short time but already he is quite fond of him. “That’s a really nice horse,” said Ford. “He is racing against older horses though, but I think it’s the right class for him.”

UF Larry Alltheway was a sharp closing second in his debut for Ford at Yonkers on December 7. The altered son of Dragon Again showed plenty of talent as a juvenile and appears to have high class potential. UF Larry Alltheway starts from post seven in the eighth race of the night.

Duel In The Sun has been racing every week for Ford and makes his 47th start of 2015 in the ninth race, a conditioned event for non-winners of $15,000 in their last five starts. An impressive son of Cambest with almost $500K banked, he could be up against it from post eight against a solid field. With $133,060 made in 2015, Duel In The Sun has the highest earnings in this field but the move to the big track may not be an advantage as Ford looks forward to a half-mile track return.

Perhaps none of Ford’s horses are as sharp as UF Rockin Dragon, a 1:52 2/5 winner at Yonkers last Saturday. “He had a broken hobble in the start before and I think he was a winner before that happened,” said Ford. “The Open may be asking too much.”

UF Rockin Dragon drew post six and meets a field of eight in which seven of the horses won their last races. Ashley’s Husband moves up the ladder in the $25,000 featured 12th race on the program. From trainer Kyle Spagnola’s sharp group, Ashley’s Husband drew the rail in a race not handicapped by Racing Secretary Peter Koch.

Sunfire Blue Chip took four starts to regain winning form after a year away from the races. The five-year-old gutted out a 1:49 4/5 mile racing against a lower class for trainer Jimmy Takter and starts from post three this week.

Kingofthejungle has been razor sharp for trainer Mark Capone and looks for his third straight on Saturday from post four.

Melmerby Beach spent some time this year in Ford’s barn but now finds himself with trainer and owner Ettore Annunziata. The 4-year-old won in 1:47 3/5 during the summer at the Meadowlands while in the midst of his best form of the year. Since joining Annunziata, Melmerby Beach has won two of his four races all at Yonkers. Melmerby Beach drew post seven.

The speedy Jet Airway finds himself on the outside in the field of eight but by no means is he an outsider. Trainer Erv Miller brought him back slowly and last week he showed his class scoring in 1:50 2/5 with Marcus Miller in the bike.

The Meadowlands 14-race program commences at 7:00 p.m. and offers three multi-race guaranteed pools scattered throughout the card.