03/07/2013 10:34AM

Meadowlands: Warrawee Needy scares off Aquarius competition

Lisa Photo
Warrawee Needy will only need to defeat four horses on Saturday.

Warrawee Needy enters Saturday’s second leg of the Aquarius Series at the Meadowlands as the clear horse to beat. The four-year-old by E Dees Cam made perhaps the most impressive first-appearance at the Meadowlands ever, winning in a stunning 1:50 mile last Saturday night.

“He was much better than I thought he would be,” said Mark Ford, his trainer.

“He shipped up from Florida and then qualified and I was worried sometimes these horses bounce from the ship and the first mile.”

But Warrawee Needy was more than tight and prepared, and driver Mark MacDonald, perhaps benefitting from some of his experiences behind Bolt The Duer last year at the Meadowlands, drove flawlessly waiting for others in the field to make multiple moves before unleashing the Carl Jamieson-leased stallion.

The Aquarius didn’t attract that many nominees to begin with and after last week’s impressive debut it appears as if Warrawee Needy has scared off much of the competition. Only four others were brave enough to drop in the box on Wednesday.

“I wouldn’t trade him for any of the others,” said Ford chuckling as if he knows the decided advantage his horse has over these.

Last year Warrawee Needy was also razor sharp at the outset of the season, but his first two races were the North America Cup trial and final and those efforts proved rather exhausting, perhaps leading to him not living up to expectations during his three-year-old campaign.

With just four pitted against him in Saturday’s second race, MacDonald and Ford are not likely to stress the horse anymore than necessary to get the job done.

“They didn’t make him eligible for the Levy Series,” said Ford, “I think that’s probably a good thing considering he’s a four-year-old against older horses. I think they are looking at some of the other late closers this spring. Hopefully he’ll be back down here again later this year.”

Warrawee Needy drew post four with his chief foe Escape The News right inside from post three. That rival, a genuine closer most of last year, made two aggressive speed moves in the Aquarius first leg and then was all-out to hold down the place spot in the late stages. Trained by Ron Burke, Escape The News has been first or second in all five trips this season with $46,875 earned.

Bakin On The Beach has gone winless this year but he showed sharp speed leaving and finishing in last week’s leg. The son of McArdle, trained by Mark Harder, may be up against it on Saturday after landing post five. John Campbell guides Bakin On The Beach.

Rounding out the field for Saturday’s Aquarius is In Commando (post 1) with Ron Pierce in the bike and Yo Cheyenne Rocky (post 2) with Brandon Simpson slated to drive.

The co-feature on the Meadowlands 13-race Saturday program is the $25,000 Preferred/A-2 Handicap, carded as race three. The race marks the local return for Presidential leg winner Versado. The six-year-old returns after winning two of his last three races in high class events at Dover Downs. Trained by Nick Surick, Versado drew post four with Andy Miller listed to drive.

Rockin The House has also captured two of his last three races, all at the Meadowlands. He landed post five for trainer Ron Burke and top pilot Yannick Gingras. Rockin The House has won 10 times over the last two years.

Razzle Dazzle, a solid aged performer over the last two years, will be making his 2013 debut for new trainer Mark Silva. The six-year-old son of Real Desire had a banner season in 2012 earning $287,042 with four victories in 21 starts. Razzle Dazzle was sharp winning a qualifier on February 28 in 1:53 4/5. He drew the pole position in the field of six.

Newcomer Stolen Car is another invader from Dover Downs with solid credentials. The son of Mach Three has earned $64,050 in just six starts this season racing in Delaware for trainer Jeffery Clark. Most recently Stolen Car captured a $35,000 Preferred Handicap Pace on February 21 coming from last to first in a 1:50 4/5 mile. Stolen Car landed post six.

Millionaire River Shark (post 2) and Code World (post 3) round out the select field.

First post at the Meadowlands on Saturday is slated for 7:15 p.m. with the track offering a $35,000 guaranteed pool early Pick-4 (Races 3-6) and a $75,000 guaranteed late Pick-4 (Races 7-10).