01/21/2016 3:28PM

Meadowlands: Millionaire Sapphire City ready to roll Saturday

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Derick Giwner
Sapphire City earned $247,890 in 2015.

The weather is threatening to be non-cooperative on Saturday night but trainer Paul Blumenfeld has nevertheless prepared four horses for the Meadowlands 14-race program. Leading the way for the Blumenfeld quartet is the returning stable star Sapphire City. Now an 8-year-old with more than $1.1 million in career earnings, the lifetime half-mile track performer starts his 2016 campaign on the mile track.

“I think he raced here one time in an Invitational,” said Blumenfeld.

Sapphire City has been a staple in Open competition at Yonkers over the last few years including some impressive efforts in the Levy series. The veteran performer closed out his 2015 season with over $247K earned but not at the top of the class ladder at Yonkers.

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“I think the mile track will be good for him,” said Blumenfeld.

The trainer also seemed to be happy with the fact that Sapphire City can be racing at a much lower class level at the Meadowlands while he attempts to regain his best form.

“His first qualifier he was a little short,” said Blumenfeld. “I trained him up a little bit before the second and I was very happy with that effort.”

Sapphire City landed post four in Saturday’s $13,000 conditioned event carded as race eight. The non-winners of $11,500 class is well below the level Sapphire City has been accustomed to racing at Yonkers. The trainer seems to believe he’ll be ready to go on Saturday night but obviously pointed out that it’s a long season.

“I think this will be good for him getting off the half-mile track for a bit and maybe restoring his confidence,” said Blumenfeld.

Sapphire City has earned more in his career than the nine others in the field on Saturday night combined. That said, there are still some sharp horses in the field that could post more than a threat.

Winds Of Change takes a drop in class himself for trainer Jimmy Takter. The veteran returns from a pacesetting second at Yonkers last week and has the talent to overcome post ten.

Much was expected from Vice Consul N in his first Meadowlands mile and he finished third pacing in 1:50 3/5 in his first North American outing. He drew post five with Yannick Gingras driving for trainer Ron Burke.

Ultimately the owners would like to see Sapphire City return to Yonkers to race at the elite level in the Levy series this spring. Blumenfeld certainly believes the horse is capable but suggested he would like to wait a bit longer before making that commitment.

As for the remainder of the Blumenfeld charges hoping to head to East Rutherford from the Pine Bush training center on Saturday, Lennon Blue Chip will likely have a difficult trip once he reaches the racetrack. “I thought he was coming around,” Blumenfeld said, “but post ten is post ten.”

Lennon Blue Chip, an 11-year-old, is a classy veteran with nearly $950K banked through his career.

“I like the claiming game,” said Blumenfeld, who suggests going after an older horse is just as rewarding to him.

“I claimed Must Be The Bunny for $5,000 at Pocono. I purchased him so my son (Dustin) could get some drives,” said Blumenfeld, who hopes that his son will soon get his A-license and be able to compete at the Meadowlands.

Must Be The Bunny should be a contender in the tenth race despite drawing post eight.

“They went a slow half in his last start at Yonkers and he raced well,” said Blumenfeld. “The start before that he was a solid second at the Meadowlands.”

Must Be The Bunny was in with $20,000 claimers in his last start and returns to the $12,500 level in this condition and optional claiming event.

Wayward Son hopes to find his way on the return trip to the Meadowlands after one start at Yonkers. He drew post four for Blumenfeld in the sixth race, a non-winners of $5,000 conditioned event. Another that was victimized from a slow pace and outside post at Yonkers last week, Wayward Son should pick up some from the move to the mile track.

With 30 horses currently in training, the Blumenfeld stable figures to be a force in the Metropolitan area this year.