08/15/2013 12:05PM

Pocono: Aperfectyankee hopes to rebound in Colonial

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Mark Hall/USTA
Aperfectyankee won the Peter Haughton Memorial as a 2-year-old.

Aperfectyankee’s season so far has been less than flawless, but that has not dampened trainer Jim Oscarsson’s opinion of his stakes-winning trotter as he heads into Saturday’s $500,000 Colonial for 3-year-olds at Mohegan Sun at Pocono Downs.

The Colonial is part of Super Stakes Saturday at Pocono Downs, which also includes the $500,000 Battle of the Brandywine for 3-year-old pacers and the $350,000 Valley Forge for 3-year-old filly pacers.

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Aperfectyankee has won three of seven races this year and earned $179,451 for Oscarsson, who also owns and drives the colt. All of his victories this season have come on the Pennsylvania circuit, with two triumphs in divisions of the sire stakes and another in a division of the Pennsylvania All Stars.

He is coming off a fourth-place finish in the $1 million Hambletonian on Aug. 3 at the Meadowlands. The nine-horse Colonial field features seven horses from the Hambletonian final, including winner Royalty For Life, runner-up Smilin Eli and third-place finisher Corky.

“I’m not disappointed with him, but I know he’s better than he’s showed,” Oscarsson said about Aperfectyankee, who won last year’s $387,250 Peter Haughton Memorial by a neck over Corky. “I think with better race luck he can be right there with them at the finish.

“I think he’s going to win some races this year. It would be nice (to win the Colonial). I think he deserves that.”

Aperfectyankee entered the Hambletonian off back-to-back wins and finished third in his elimination before ending up fourth in the same-day final. He started the final from post seven and was as many as 11 lengths behind leader and eventual winner Royalty For Life in the early goings. He finished 3-3/4 lengths back on a track that favored trotters on the lead; all three Hambletonian elims and the final were won in wire-to-wire fashion.

“(The Colonial) is going to be tough; it’s pretty much the same as the Hambletonian,” Oscarsson said. “Except this time we’ve got a better post. I think he can go with them. It’s going to be a fun race.”

Last year, Aperfectyankee won three of seven starts and earned $310,035. In addition to winning the Haughton, he won a division of the Tompkins-Geers and was second to 2-year-old champion Wheeling N Dealin in a division of the Champlain Stakes.

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He saw his season come to an end after a sixth-place finish in his elimination for the William Wellwood Memorial in September. Oscarsson decided to turn out the colt because of allergies.

“When we brought him back to train during the winter he was good and he’s been healthy,” Oscarsson said.. “He’s a nice horse. He’s perfect to handle, perfect to drive. You can do whatever you want with him.”

-Courtesy of Harness Racing Communications, a division of the U.S. Trotting Association. For more information, please visit www.ustrotting.com