06/25/2015 11:52AM

Pocono: Lynch starter The Show Returns deserving of respect

Email
Lisa Photo
The Show Returns has already won at 40-1 and finished second at 113-1 this year.

There will be plenty of stakes action on Saturday night at The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono, but race 11, an elimination for the James Lynch Memorial for sophomore pacing fillies, could be the highlight on the 16-race card. Defending Horse of the Year JK She’salady—undefeated last year—will try to break a two-race losing streak and 11-time winner Sassa Hanover will attempt to bounce back from disappointment in last week’s Fan Hanover. However, the new girl on the block is The Show Returns. The full sister to champion Put On A Show has emerged in recent weeks as a force in this division and belongs in the conversation.

“The division is wide open,” said Chris Ryder, who trains The Show Returns.

“She trained down very well this winter,” said Ryder. “But I was disappointed in her first few races. We made some equipment changes (Pull Down Bridle and Aluminum Shoes) and she’s been better. I’m not really sure the equipment changes were that significant.”

[POCONO DOWNS: Watch the Sun Stakes Eliminations LIVE on DRF!]

What has been significant for The Show Returns this year is her performance when big money is on the line. As a 40-1 outsider in the $100,000 New Jersey Sire Stakes final at the Meadowlands on May 30, she rallied sharply to score in a personal best 1:51 mile. Last Saturday, at odds of 113-1 and starting from post ten, The Show Returns vaulted from the starting gate to get a spot along the front grouping. With John Campbell in tow, she managed to find racing room in the stretch and closed sharply for the place spot. That effort wouldn’t have been possible had the Joe Holloway-trained Bettor Be Steppin not been scratched from the Fan Hanover final paving the way for The Show Returns to get in as an “also eligible.”

In Saturday’s 11th race, The Show Returns starts from post six outside her principal rivals. “She’s got great gate speed and that helps at this level,” said Ryder.

JK She’salady may have to become more assertive early in the mile given her two defeats have come after long uncovered journeys. Driver Tim Tetrick and the filly start from the pole position.

Sassa Hanover (post 4) has won half of her four starts this year after a brilliant 2-year-old season. The Ron Burke-trained filly appeared to have things her own way in the Fan Hanover last week but faltered in the stretch, finishing fourth behind race winner Wrangler Magic. Prior to that she posted the fastest mile of the season winning a Fan Hanover elimination in 1:49 4/5. Yannick Gingras looks to make amends.

Trainer Ryder has a tall order in one of three elimination heats for the Max Hempt Memorial for sophomore male pacers. National Seelster enters the second $25,000 elimination (race 8) in brilliant form but will face the second and third finishers in last week’s C$1 million North America Cup, Wiggle It Jiggleit and Betting Exchange, respectively. National Seelster landed post six and starts directly outside Wiggle It Jiggleit.

National Seelster went over the $100K mark in seasonal earnings with a victory last Sunday in a New York Sire Stakes at Vernon Downs. Though he’s captured six of 10 starts on the season, the son of Bettor’s Delight hasn’t run away and hid in any race.

“He does what he has to do,” said Ryder. “But Andy was much happier with his energy finishing last week.”

National Seelster and Wiggle It Jiggleit hooked up in winter late closing action at the Meadowlands earlier this year but Ryder believes his colt has improved. “He’s a different horse now than he was in January,” said Ryder. “I’m not sure he’s ready to go in (1):48 though.”

Wiggle It Jiggleit figures to be a heavy favorite to bounce back from his first career defeat in the North America Cup. The altered son of Mr Wiggles has breathtaking early speed (25 1/5 opening quarter in the Cup) and staying power. His ability on small tracks is unquestioned given his 1:49 effort over the half-miler at Harrington in May. Montrell Teague guides Wiggle It Jiggleit.

Betting Exchange has yet to win in 2015, but that hasn’t prevented him from earning over $177K in just six starts. Second by a head in the Rooney at Yonkers and a hard charging third in last week’s North America Cup, the Bettor’s Delight-sired colt figures to be on the board from the pole position with David Miller in the bike.

First post for the 16-race program, that also includes eliminations for the Earl Beal, Jr. and Ben Franklin, is 6:30 p.m.

[DRF HARNESS EYE: Digital Harness Eye is now available for purchase--PPs, Analysis, Charts, and more!]