02/06/2015 12:07AM

Meadowlands: Vallee sends out a handful on Saturday

World Wide Racing Photos
Trainer/driver Shaun Vallee has moved many of his horses to the Meadowlands this weekend.

Trainer-driver Shaun Vallee was not much of a fan of the ABC racing conditions at the Meadowlands. The trainer has raced much of his stock at Yonkers this winter, but on Saturday night his stable will be a force at the Meadowlands. Vallee has five horses in the line-up for the 13-race program and he’s excited about his chances.

“I needed to get some of these horses raced,” said Vallee, suggesting that cancellations at Yonkers over the last few weeks had kept his horses out of action. “I also like it when I can put horses where I think they fit.”

Midnight Lightning, a three-year-old by Camluck, figures to be spending most of his time racing at the Meadowlands this winter and into the spring. “He was a little sick and that’s why I gave him the week off,” said Vallee of the colt he co-owns with DPV Racing Stables. Midnight Lightning drew post three in the first race, an event for non-winners of 2 extended pari-mutuel races.

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Midnight Lightning has only four lifetime starts to date, but Vallee believes the $20,000 yearling buy will turn into a very nice horse. However, the trainer suggested that the horse has a bit of a funky gait and likely will stay off the small tracks because of that.

The rail is a great place to start in most cases, but it may not help Lawgiver Hanover in the evening’s fourth race. The six-year-old earned over $100,000 last year and has been idle for nearly two months. “I think the rest will serve him well,” said Vallee, thinking that Lawgiver Hanover might need one start before he’s tight enough to race at his peak. When apprised that the field is likely to go somewhere in the neighborhood of 1:50, the trainer rethought his position. “If he needs to go that much he’ll probably need a couple of starts,” said Vallee.

Hokuri Handrail N has been one of Vallee’s horses shut out of action at Yonkers due to cancellations and the trainer believes the veteran import should do well over the mile track. A 1:52 performer last year at Yonkers, Hokuri Handrail N drew post seven in the ninth race, an event for non-winners of $7,500 in last 5 starts. Vallee owns, trains and drives the eight-year-old.

Vallee has plenty of affection for Pacific Desperado. The 11-year-old will be making his 256th lifetime start on Saturday night. The son of The Panderosa has raced exclusively for Vallee and has earned more than $470,000 in the process. “He’s a horse that definitely will like the longer stretch,” said Vallee of Pacific Desperado. Whether that will be enough in the non-winners of $10,000 in last 5 starts condition set in the twelfth race remains to be seen. This division includes the 1:47 3/5 career performer Hurrikane Kingcole (post one). That six-year-old has missed four weeks since capturing a C-1 event in 1:49 4/5 at the Meadowlands. Pacific Desperado landed post seven and that likely will make him a longshot in a field that also includes recent 1:50 4/5 winner Rock Out (post five).

The final event of the evening could give Vallee his best chance for success even though his entry Midnight Dylan N has been idle for four weeks. “He’s trained very well,” said Vallee. Midnight Dylan N landed post three in the nightcap, a non-winners of $5,000 in last five starts with a purse of $8,000.

For Midnight Dylan N, the spot may be the softest he’s had in quite some time. The son of Mach Three was imported by Vallee and first started racing in North America last June. Saturday night’s contest will be his first trip over a mile track as well as his first inside draw (post 3) in three months of racing.

The 51-year-old Vallee will drive all five of his horses on Saturday night and he said he plans to race more often at the Meadowlands, suggesting that the new conditions are very important to him. “I just believe it’s a fairer system for the horsemen,” said Vallee in regard to the revised condition sheet.

The Meadowlands hasn’t completely done away with the ABC’s on Saturday night, the $25,000 final of the C-2 Dash For The “C” Notes is the featured sixth race of the evening. Also on tap is the first round of the Sonsam series, a late closer for three through five-year-olds. The Sonsam features the streaking Rockeyed Optimist (post 1) in the $17,500 second division carded as race 11.

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