12/18/2014 9:40PM

Meadowlands: Trainer Ford tries to roll a seven on Saturday

Lisa Photo
Warrawee Needy likes the cold weather according to trainer Mark Ford.

Trainer Mark Ford likes to move his horses around. The longtime conditioner generally pans the Northeast for the best opportunity and puts his stock in play. Since opportunity in the region is drying up over the last few weeks, with tracks closing and horses unable to race, Ford has essentially been forced to putting all of his eggs in one basket. On Saturday, the trainer will ship in a full seven pacers for the 13-race Meadowlands program. The most intriguing in the group is the fast-class Warrawee Needy.

A career winner of more than $1.1 million, Warrawee Needy has been anything less than reliable over the last year, confounding his trainer. “I had Gallo Blue Chip for many years and he was difficult to maintain, but this horse seems to have even more issues than Gallo,” said Ford of Warrawee Needy.

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A 1:46 4/5 winner at the Meadowlands in 2013, Warrawee Needy has struggled this year to find his best but has managed just three wins in 15 starts while racing predominantly against lower-level foes.

“When it gets colder out he seems to improve,” said Ford.

Warrawee Needy did just that winning on November 18 at Mohegan Sun at Pocono Downs in 1:50 4/5. “It got down to 15 degrees that night and he went a really big mile,” said Ford. A week later the five-year-old by E Dees Cam went another huge trip bolstering Ford’s belief that he was back on his game.

Warrawee Needy stepped up in a major way and was entered in the $500,000 TVG Final at the Meadowlands on November 29. “I figured there would likely be a short field since it came after the Breeders Crown,” said Ford. “Even a fifth-place check was worth $25,000 so I thought it was a shot to take.”

The TVG didn’t pan out as Ford had expected, but he was not let down by the seventh-place finish. “He drew outside and raced from off the pace but never got into the race,” said Ford.

Facing decidedly weaker in his next start, a conditioned event at Yonkers on December 6, Warrawee Needy again reached the winner’s circle with a blistering 1:52 2/5 mile on a sloppy surface.

Racing secretary Peter Koch obviously doesn’t believe Warrawee Needy is ready to take on the best and he’s given him a B-2 class to race in on Saturday. The fourth race of the night, a $16,000 affair, has a solid field with Warrawee Needy landing post four for driver Mark MacDonald.

The draws weren’t favorable for many of the Ford septet on Saturday, with Foreign Officer one of three of his horses landing post 10. “He’s never quite come back to the horse he was,” said Ford of the former open class horse. He’s missed a few weeks because Saratoga has been closed. Foreign Officer goes in the opener, a C-2 event.

UF Rockin Dragon goes in race nine, another B-2 affair. The four-year-old gelding was a winner in C-1 class earlier this meet but has raced at Yonkers most recently. “I think he’s probably a little better on the big track,” said Ford.

MR Coolie is in for a tag coming over from Yonkers and landed post seven in the 10th race, a $20,000-25,000 claiming handicap. “I think he’s a better half mile track horse,” said Ford.

The trainer doesn’t think post 10 will suit Dull Roar that well in race 11. The four-year-old finished fourth in a C-2 event here in November and has been elevated to the C-1 class for Saturday’s eleventh race.

Despite drawing post 10, Ford appeared rather optimistic about the chances of Steady Warrior, a recent arrival from Ontario.

“He’s been a pleasant surprise,” said Ford of the sophomore colt by Royal Mattjesty.

“He lost an eye right before he was supposed to race in an Ontario Sire stakes event,” said Ford. “He’s all right now.”

Steady Warrior has been a solid second in his last two starts and again races in a non-winners of 3 race category for a purse of $15,000 in race 12.

The trainer hopes his final entrant of the night, Seek The Dragon, will show some life from post four in the nightcap. “He’s never been that good at Yonkers,” said Ford. “He should fit in this class.”