02/29/2012 10:19AM

Meadowlands: Put On A Show begins comeback in Overbid


For two consecutive years Put On A Show was simply the best pacing filly in North America. With 19 wins in 25 starts she exhibited the heart and will of a champion both in victory and defeat. Those two years were 2009 and 2010. Last year the daughter of Rocknroll Hanover was unable to make a single start.

"We were bringing her back to race for her 4-year-old season," said trainer Chris Ryder. "She just wasn't right. She had some issues with her right knee that were causing discomfort."

Ryder along with owners Craig Henderson, Richard and Joanne Young elected to send the mare for surgery rather than attempt to race her in any less than 100 percent physical condition.

"Mike Ross operated on her. He just cleaned the area out," said Ryder.

With some rest after surgery, Put On A Show returned to Ryder's stable, and according to the trainer is reached racing condition without a hiccup.

"She qualified where we wanted to go on both occasions so I believe we're entering the Overbid ready," Ryder said. "She did draw the 10 hole you know. This is Put On A Show and I'm not as focused on the other horses as I believe they should be on her."

Friday's first leg of the Overbid (race 6) at the Meadowlands attracted 11 mares with Put On A Show and driver Brian Sears guaranteed the worst starting position. The $40,000 event is a starting point for the mare. Obviously with so few entered Put On A Show can reach the final even if she's not at her best the first week.

But trainers like Ryder don't like to send horses out if they're not race ready and in the case of this mare, when she's ready, she definitely likes to win.

Of course victory won't be assured on Friday if any of the other 10 in the field have something to say. Among those in the lineup will be Cape & Cutter champion Symphony In Motion as well as the 2011 Aged Pacing Mare of the Year Anndrovette. Like Put On A Show, Anndrovette recently tuned-up with impressive qualifying miles. Unlike Put On A Show, who has not raced competitively in 15 months, Anndrovette is returning off a brief two-month absence. Higher And Higher was barely beaten in the Cape & Cutter final after two impressive victories in preliminary legs of that series. Trainer-driver Daryl Bier believes this is the year for the 5-year-old, who did race against Put On A Show at both 2 and 3 with limited success.

Put On A Show needs to earn over $106,000 this year to eclipse the $2 million mark in lifetime earnings. Ryder confirmed that the mare has been well staked but said among the list of races will not be the Bluechip Matchmaker at Yonkers Raceway.

"She's really never been over the half and we didn't want to take a chance coming off the long layoff with a series like that," said the trainer.

Sharing Friday's New Meadowlands spotlight will be the $44,500 final of the Charles Singer Memorial, a race named to honor former Harness Eye, nee Sports Eye chartcaller and columnist extraordinaire. Singer also worked closely with the original Meadowlands director of racing Joe DeFrank and was his program director.

The Singer, formerly held in the fall for late blooming 3-year-old trotters, was moved to the winter to preserve it. Thus it attracted fewer nominations and fewer preliminary legs were required. Needless to say the final is no less challenging than in years past with the 10 finalists all having a shot at the big prize.

Trouble, a 3-year-old by Conway Hall, has captured consecutive preliminary legs posting a career-best 1:57 1/5 clocking last week. Part-owned and driven by Andy Miller, the colt is also owned by Yonkers leading driver George Brennan.

Brian Sears will drive Connie Lauxmont from post 10 in the Singer final. While the draw could be an obstacle the improving colt has won four times already this year for trainer James Atkinson.

The Singer final goes as race four on Friday's New Meadowlands 11-race program. Post time is 7 p.m.