03/14/2013 9:18AM

Meadowlands: Modern Family primed for Horse & Groom Final

Lisa Photo
Modern Family has 4 wins in 5 starts since joining the Bier stable.

Daryl Bier didn’t know what to expect when he purchased Modern Family for $110,000 at the Meadowlands Winter Mixed Sale in January.

“I was looking for a horse that could compete in the winners-over or open classes at Dover and Harrah’s Philadelphia,” said Bier.

What Bier and the rest of the racing world have found out since that purchase is that Modern Family may be a whole lot more. The four-year-old by Cantab Hall enters Saturday night’s $50,000 final of the Horse & Groom as a solid second choice but that doesn’t seem to be bothering Bier.

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“There was no way he was going to catch Yannick’s (Gingras) horse last week,” said Bier about Quick Deal, the open lengths winner in 1:52 1/5 in the second leg of the Horse & Groom. “There was no way to go first over into those fractions. I think this week will be a little different. For one, I don’t think we’re going to let that horse get too far in front,” said Bier.

Last week’s loss was the first since joining Bier’s stable after four consecutive wins. The horseman shares ownership of the improving stallion with Charles Dombeck and Richard Poillucci.

“I didn’t stake him to the big FFA races this year,” said Bier, “He’s only a four-year-old and I don’t want to push him. I only put him in this race (Horse & Groom) and the Meadowlands Maturity (May 4). The move will essentially keep the pressure off Modern Family this year but the trainer still sees a big upside.

“He was eligible to non-winners of five (races) at Dover and won that race pretty easily. He stepped right up from that race into Open Company against aged horses and he just crushed them. That 1:53 1/5 mile (February 20) was just unbelievable. In fact the surface that day was considered two seconds off.”

Last year Modern Family raced 20 times for trainer Tony Alagna, who Bier spoke with before making the purchase.

“Tony told me that the horse was always playing catch up,” Bier said.

On Saturday Modern Family will likely have to make his presence felt early, especially with two speedy rivals from leading trainer Ron Burke directly inside of him.

Quick Deal, made a costly break in opening round action, but last week driver  Gingras timed the gate perfectly and the five-year-old by Revenue S stormed to the front and never looked back. Quick Deal has won half of his six starts this year all in 1:53 or faster. He drew post four with Gingras again listed in the sulky.

D Ws NY Yank was a winner in first leg action of the series on March 1 but proved a distant third behind Quick Deal and Modern Family in the decidedly faster second leg. The gelding has won five times this year in just seven starts. Dave Miller will guide him from post three.

The Horse & Groom Final, carded as race two on the Meadowlands’ 13-race program, includes Harbor Point (post 1), No Less Than Magic (post 2), Volare De Vie (post 6) and Not Afraid (post 7.)

Last winter Bier enjoyed great success at the Meadowlands with a pair of pacing stars in Special T Rocks and Higher And Higher. Both have left his stable for different reasons.

“We had Special T Rocks for 18 months and cleared $600,000 with him,” said Bier, combining the earnings the son of Rocknroll Hanover had under his care and the estimated purchase price. “Higher And Higher set some world records and we decided to breed her to Somebeachsomewhere.”

The Bier stable has but seven active horses right now with the most recent purchase Woodstock Hanover racing in high-level conditioned company at Harrah’s Philadelphia (March 15).

“We (Bier and co-owner Dombeck) would like to race high level conditioned horses. It’s really difficult to go out and purchase Free-For-All types. We’re looking to have a good time and make money,” said Bier.

Bier appears always to be thinking ahead and looking at the big picture for Modern Family.

“You know he’s a son of Cantab Hall and that stallion is the hottest in the business. If this horse continues to improve and race at a high level I can definitely see interest in him as a stallion in Italy,” Bier said.

Before he earns a trip to Italy, or other parts of Europe, Modern Family has to take care of business on these shores. A victory in Saturday’s Horse & Groom would be a good first step.