06/09/2016 10:37PM

Scioto: Muscle Up The Goal bids for Charlie Hill Memorial win

Chris Gooden
Muscle Up The Goal is perfect in three 2016 starts.

Trainer Chris Beaver had high hopes for Muscle Up The Goal when the trotter was a 2-year-old, but a tendon injury limited the horse to only three starts.

Now at age 4, Muscle Up The Goal is putting together the kind of performances that Beaver envisioned all along. Maybe even better.

Muscle Up The Goal, who will have Aaron Merriman in the sulky, is the 5-2 morning line favorite in Saturday’s $210,000 Charlie Hill Memorial for older trotters at Scioto Downs. The stallion has won all three of his starts this season and heads to the Hill off a track-record 1:52 performance at The Meadows on June 1. He also trotted the fastest mile ever for a 4-year-old male trotter on a half-mile oval, winning in 1:52 3/5 on May 21 at Northfield Park.

[SCIOTO DOWNS: Watch top older trotters compete in the $210,000 Charlie Hill--Live on DRF Saturday!]

For his career, Muscle Up The Goal has won eight of 22 races and earned $234,616 for owner Synerco Ventures.

“I think he was getting good toward the end of last year,” Beaver said. “We put him on Lasix and he was getting sounder. We sent him down to Florida and he grew up and looked real good when he came back. He’s just been awesome since he started back. He’s just come into real good form.”

Muscle Up The Goal is a son of Muscle Mass out of the mare Tags Goal. The horse sold for $30,000 at the 2013 Standardbred Horse Sale. As a 2-year-old, Muscle Up The Goal won twice on the Ontario Sire Stakes circuit before being sidelined by his injury.

“He was a spectacular 2-year-old,” Beaver said. “He was hit or miss most of last year, but he’s gotten good now. He’s really fast. I’m a little surprised at what he’s done this year, but I’d be surprised by any horse that’s been able to do the kinds of things he’s done so far.

“They tried to out-leave him at Northfield and he cleared them before he was out of the turn, from the (seven) hole. He’s had the outside every time he’s raced and he’s just gone to the front like it’s no problem at all. And at the end of the mile he’s gone a pretty good quarter too. It looks like he should have a good year.”

Muscle Up The Goal was eligible to the Hill Memorial, but his connections paid a $10,000 supplement fee to ensure the horse was part of the 10-horse field, which was assembled based on career earnings.

Beaver also will send out Il Sogno Dream in the Hill Memorial. The 5-year-old stallion is a multiple stakes winner and heads to the event off a second-place finish in the Maxie Lee Memorial on May 29 in his seasonal debut. Il Sogno Dream, who has won 17 of 52 career races and earned $789,577, is 5-1 on the morning line. Ronnie Wrenn Jr. is the driver.

The Hill field also includes Maxie Lee winner Obrigado, 2015 John Cashman Memorial winner Flanagan Memory, and 2014 International Trot Preview champ Natural Herbie. The remainder of the group is Southwind Pepino, Homicide Hunter, Gural Hanover, DW’s NY Yank, and Opening Night.

Post time for the 15-race Saturday program at Scioto is 6:30 p.m.