02/14/2013 11:19AM

Meadowlands: Yo Cheyenne Rocky looks for knockout in Exit 16W

Lisa Photo
Yo Cheyenne Rocky faces the undefeated in 2013 Holdingallthecards.

Yo Cheyenne Rocky, a prime contender in one of two divisions of the Exit 16W Saturday night at the Meadowlands was a “lesson in patience” according to his trainer Robby Siegelman. The late-blooming four-year-old gelding was magnificent in his first round blowout and now will face Holdingallthecards, also a first round winner and unbeaten in 2013.

For Siegelman and Yo Cheyenne Rocky the advancement to this level has been unscripted. The homebred son of Rocknroll Hanover and Cheyenne Rocky appeared to be destined for a career at the non-winners of two level.

“It wasn’t until Andy (Miller) left with him (January 5) that we knew he could leave,” said Siegelman.

Prior to that race Yo Cheyenne Rocky had been a plodder for the first half of the mile and then would finish his final half with more fervor.

Siegelman had tried the gelding much of last year at Yonkers and eventually thought maybe if he sent him to Pocono or Chester (both five-eighths mile ovals) that the horse might show some spark.

“Georgie Nap (Napolitano) was the first driver who came over to me after driving him at Pocono to tell me this horse had talent,” said Siegelman.

Through much of his first season at the racetrack that talent didn’t produce much in the way of victories. But since the calendar turned to 2013, Yo Cheyenne Rocky has taken the gloves off and come to play in a very serious manner.

For Siegelman, who took a well-deserved vacation to Aruba last week, the dramatic turnaround has him excited, but “cautiously optimistic,” as he put it.

“I think the race he went before the Exit 16W was incredible,” Siegelman said. Brandon Simpson, his now regular driver, was in the bike in that mile and one-sixteenth contest and was amazed at how well the horse responded late.

“He left out of there good that night,” said Siegelman, “but a horse rode up on his back and hit the tire. He raced most of the last half with the tire off the rim and was still closing well. Brandon told me he thought if he was a little closer he could have caught the top horses.”

Siegelman trains a string of 14 horses at Showplace Farm including Yo Cheyenne Rocky’s full brother Boogiewoogiebrian.

“He’s totally a different horse,” said Siegelman. Rocky is more like Rocknroll Hanover and Boogiewoogiebrian reminds me more of the dam Cheyenne Adrienne.”

Siegelman qualified the three-year-old Boogiewoogiebrian recently at the Meadowlands and said he’ll start him at Yonkers.

“I think it’s a much better place to get a young horse acclimated to racing. They learn how to stop and start more on the half than they can on the big track,” said Siegelman.

In just five starts this year Yo Cheyenne Rocky has already matched his win total from 2012 with two. Last week in opening leg action he was powerful racing on the front end and scoring in a career best 1:51. The trainer still claims that the horse isn’t much of a trainer between races but apparently he’s put it all together on the racetrack.

Yo Cheyenne Rocky drew post three directly outside of Holdingallthecards in the eleventh race, second Exit 16W division on Saturday night.

The first Exit 16W division, race three, appears a bit more wide opened with Mr. Dennis and Man He Can Skoot looking to rebound after both apparently bounced last week. The pair went a grueling 1:57 one and one-sixteenth mile thriller in the Exit 16W prep on February 2nd then both came up decidedly short in opening leg action. Man He Can Skoot drew post two and Mr. Dennis landed post three in Saturday’s rematch. They will also have to encounter first leg surprise winner Lindwood Player, a 45-1 shocker for Corey Callahan and trainer Dylan Davis last Saturday. Lindwood Player drew post five in the field of 11.

Siegelman will send out a solid candidate in Resistance Futile from the pole in Friday’s opening leg of the Junior Trendsetter series.

“Blair Burgess sent him down here for me to race,” said Siegelman, “He told me the horse wasn’t a good eater, but since he’s been down here he’s been eating well and appears very happy.”

Whether that happiness will convert into a successful effort remains to be seen but Siegelman did point out that the three-year-old took a 1:52 2/5 mark at the Red Mile last year before running up against Captaintreacherous in his very next start.

Siegelman, who lost a pair of solid racehorses in the recent Winter Mixed Sale sounded excited about the prospects of racing two top flight contenders in the Meadowlands late closers.

“From a trainers perspective you never like to see good horses go, but Barry (owner Rubenstein) said that we have to treat this as a business and he’s right about that. He’s been very good to me. I’m just glad I have these two racing in the Trendsetter and Exit 16W,” Siegelman said.

No doubt they both have a punchers chance.