02/12/2015 12:13PM

Meadowlands: Ryder hoping patience pays off with National Seelster

Derick Giwner
National Seelster has a maternal side pedigree with nearly 50 years of success.

When you’re a trainer in this business you have to think long term. Owners that purchase yearlings are hoping for the best two-year-old in the sport to emerge. Trainers know that the road to success is sometimes a little longer. Conditioner Chris Ryder turned out his Bettors Delight-sired National Seelster early during his two-year-old season and the now three-year-old is starting to pay dividends. On Saturday night at the Meadowlands he’ll make his second career start prepping for the William (Buddy) Gilmour series at the East Rutherford oval the following week.

“I’m very happy with his progress,” said Ryder. “He had some baby soreness last year and we stopped with him. He’s been solid since we brought him back.”

The colt, a $50,000 Harrisburg yearling purchase in the fall of 2013, has all of the pedigree in the world to become a top colt. Sire Bettors Delight is a proven sire of champions, but the maternal side of National Seelster’s pedigree has generations of black-type going back nearly 50 years.

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National Seelster’s dam, No Strikes Against, has produced two $100K winners from her first two foals with National Seelster her third. No Strikes Against is a full sister to the $1 million-winning Strike An Attitude. His second dam, Strike A Balance, is a full sister to $1.4 million Breeders Crown champion Artiscape, as well as the dams of current stallions Western Terror and If I Can Dream. His third dam, Delinquent Account, was a $1 million winner on the track and she hails from the immediate family of one of the most outstanding aged performers of his generation, Sir Dalrae, a former Roosevelt Raceway track record holder in the early 1970s.

So National Seelster has a family heritage that he may be capable of living up to, but first there’s a non-winners of 2 race on Saturday night.

“I think Andy (driver Miller) knows what he’s sitting behind,” said Ryder. “He qualified him both times."

National Seelster’s qualifying miles—both in January—caught the attention of more than one astute player. On January 15 the colt flew home after sitting at the back of the pack most of the way, flashing 27-second final quarter speed. On January 22 the qualifier had a much slower opening three quarters, but National Seelster finished in a flat 26 seconds at the end of a 1:56 mile.

In his first pari-mutuel outing National Seelster was driven nothing like most odds-on favorites at the Meadowlands. Though Miller left from the outside to spot the colt fourth in the opening quarter, he failed to get off the rail in the expected second quarter brush to the front. Instead the driver waited along the inside, got out on the final turn and then under a few taps of the whip urged National Seelster to a 1:52 4/5 maiden breaking victory.

“He’s got a great attitude,” said Ryder of National Seelster. “He’s easy on himself.”

Owned by Robert Mondillo and Oompas Farm Inc., National Seelster will get a better test of where he stands at the moment in Saturday night’s opener. National Seelster landed post five. He’ll be sandwiched by two recent winners in this class, namely Rooster Rabbit (post 4) and Coaster (post 6). Another interesting prospect in the field could be Mystical Dali (post 8), a second-time starter from the Erv Miller stable.

Right now the immediate path for National Seelster is the Gilmour that debuts on February 21. “If he races well in that we’ll probably give him some time off and get him ready for the stakes season,” said Ryder. National Seelster has been nominated for the Meadowlands Pace and is also eligible to the Rooney, Adios, Cane and Messenger Stakes.

Ryder also has high hopes for his four-year-old Walk The Walk. A first round winner in the Charles Singer Memorial series a week ago, the trainer elected to give the son of Muscle Hill a week off before returning for the $49,000 final on February 21.

Walk The Walk has won two of three starts this year and has already pretty much equaled his 2014 earnings as a three-year-old for Ryder this season.

The trainer is also pointing Madewell Hanover, a four-year-old Yankee Glide gelding that campaigned successfully in Pennsylvania last year, towards the new four-year-old only races. Ryder expects Madewell Hanover to return to the races in April.

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