07/16/2014 5:01PM

Northfield: Bolt The Duer ready for “Battle”

Email
Curtis Salonick
Bolt The Duer starts from post three in the $150,000 Battle of Lake Erie.

Facing the red hot Sweet Lou over the last two months has been a daunting task for much of the older pacing division. On Saturday in the $150,000 Battle of Lake Erie, sans Sweet Lou, Bolt The Duer will look to find his form and confidence in what looks like one of the easier spots he has seen this year.

In seven 2014 starts, Bolt The Duer has but one win and six losses to Sweet Lou, the No. 3 ranked horse in the country. The Peter Foley trainee hasn’t raced great every week but has done a good job of securing early position and simply keeping pace for the remainder of the mile.

“They are just going so fast right now and Sweet Lou and a couple of others are racing better than him,” said regular driver Mark MacDonald. “He is just stuck in a neutral zone, similar to one he went through as a 3-year-old. Last year Foiled Again was just okay at this time and look how good he was at the end of the year. In this division it goes in cycles.”

[DRF HARNESS: LIKE us on Facebook and get timely updates on the latest harness news]

Bolt The Duer’s best performance of the year came in his lone non-stakes outing. The 5-year-old son of Ponder attacked the leader first over and drew clear to win in 1:48 3/5 at Pocono Downs. That strong mile helped him follow up with a second-place finish behind Sweet Lou in the Ben Franklin eliminations despite battling a foot abscess. Bolt The Duer could not continue that success into the Franklin final or in the Haughton Memorial at the Meadowlands, but he is heading in the right direction health-wise.

“He was good and sound last week and I know he had a good week this week,” said MacDonald.

Starting from post three with a powerful burst off the gate, Bolt The Duer would seem to be a perfect position to make his presence felt on Saturday. MacDonald admitted that he would be looking to wake the All Star Racing Inc.-owned horse up with an aggressive steer.

In addition to the starting slot, the size of the Northfield oval should also play into the hands of MacDonald. Bolt The Duer has exhibited plenty of success on half-mile tracks throughout his career including pacing a 1:49 mile at Saratoga Raceway last year and winning the Cleveland Classic at Northfield in his 3-year-old season.

Perhaps the horse to beat in the Battle of Lake Erie is Foiled Again. The richest horse in North American history has similarly been chasing Sweet Lou of late and will have his work cut out for him from post seven. Yannick Gingras is once again listed to drive the 10-year-old Ron Burke trainee.

The sharpest horses in the race are Night Pro (post one) and Fool Me Once (post five). Night Pro has won six straight races against the best horses on the grounds at Hoosier Park and will step up to Grand Circuit competition for the first time in his career. Fellow 4-year-old Fool Me Once accumulated 10 wins and over $500K in his sophomore year. After a slow start as an older horse, he has reeled off consecutive sub 1:49 victories at Mohawk Racetrack. Peter Wrenn will drive Night Pro while Aaron Merriman gets the lines behind Fool Me Once.

The Battle of Lake Erie is carded as race 12 on the 15-race program at Northfield Park. Nine $40,000 divisions of Ohio Sire Stakes action are also on the Saturday docket.

$150,000 Battle of Lake Erie - Race 12

Post Horse Driver Morning Line
1 NIGHT PRO P.WRENN 4-1
2 BEACH MEMORIES J.SUTTON 15-1
3 BOLT THE DUER M.MACDONALD 7-2
4 CLEAR VISION B.MILLER 9-2
5 FOOL ME ONCE A.MERRIMAN 6-1
6 TWILIGHT BONFIRE T.HALL 12-1
7 FOILED AGAIN Y.GINGRAS 3-1
8 APPRENTICE HANOVER D.NOBLE 10-1