09/04/2013 10:36AM

Vernon: Market Share looks to rebound against a stellar Credit Winner field

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Derick Giwner
Market Share and trainer Linda Toscano

Linda Toscano seemed overjoyed when she heard the news that Market Share had landed post three in Friday’s $214,000 Credit Winner at Vernon Downs.

“That’s a relief,” Toscano said when apprised of the draw.

The defending three-year-old champion seemed virtually untouchable early this season, but a string of tough posts and long trips have made Market Share appear mortal.

“He’s been outside Sevruga so many times. He’s had to leave for position and then go a long way without cover. That’s not his best trip,” said Toscano of Market Share’s recent woes.

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Market Share won his first three starts of the year including the rich Maple Leaf at Mohawk in July, but since then has found himself on the outside looking in, suffering three consecutive defeats.

Toscano hasn’t lost faith in her horse despite finishing third as the 7-10 favorite last week to two horses he’ll face on Friday, namely My MVP and Sevruga.

Unlike her champion aged trotter of a year ago, Horse of the Year Chapter Seven, Toscano looks at Market Share as a horse that relishes competition and perhaps needs more starts.

“Chapter Seven was more like a thoroughbred. You could space his starts out and he’d perform at a top level,” said Toscano.

“Market Share can leave sharply and finish strongly,” said Toscano, with confidence that all that has separated her horse from the winner’s circle was the “bad” luck of the draw.

On Friday, Tim Tetrick will get the chance to end the losing streak against a field of eight that may be the strongest group to race against each other this season.

The big difference in the Credit Winner as opposed to some of the other major stakes events this year will be the presence of last year’s Breeders Crown winner and Market Share conqueror Intimidate.

The four-year-old by Justice Hall has been slow to reach top condition, but in winning his last two races at Mohawk has shown the kind of talent that he exuded at the end of his three-year-old campaign.

“He (Intimidate) was out of his mind unconscious when he beat us last year,” said Toscano. “He was the better horse that day.”

Toscano has not seen Intimidate this year and the gelding enters the race off consecutive come-from-behind 1:52 and 1:52 1/5 scores at Mohawk at the end of August. Ron Pierce will guide Intimidate from post seven.

Toscano knows the competition all too well. Arch Madness has earned nearly $4 million during his brilliant career and he brings class and the heart of a champion to the Credit Winner. “There’s always a chance he’ll win at this level,” said Toscano.

After eight straight defeats in 2013 Arch Madness got off the schneid with a 1:52 3/5 victory on August 24 at Vernon.

“Wishing Stone is a seasoned horse that’s been good all year,” said Toscano about the veteran performer out of the Ron Burke stable. Wishing Stone landed post five, fresh off a victory in Yonkers’ Open Trot last Friday.

“Guccio (post 6) can close as fast as any horse,” said Toscano about a likely longshot in the field.

Sevruga, a winner of the Cashman on Hambletonian Day at the Meadowlands, will start from post four, outside of Market Share in the Credit Winner. Sevruga has won nine of 18 starts this season, missing the board just one time while earning $430,275 in 2013 for trainer Julie Miller and her driving husband Andy.

Mister Herbie has finished second in his last three races, most recently to Intimidate, but has always brought his “A” game to the big events. Trained by Jeff Gillis, Mister Herbie will be driven by Jody Jamieson on Friday. The pair starts from post eight.

Last year’s Hambletonian third place finisher, My MVP has taken a long time to round into form but defeated Sevruga and Market Share last week to earn a spot in this elite field. He drew post two for trainer Tony Alagna and driver Corey Callahan.

For Toscano, who readily admits this year is nothing when compared to her last two brilliant campaigns, she still holds out hope for last year’s three-year-old pacing champion Heston Blue Chip. The four-year-old, entered in Monday’s Quillen eliminations at Harrington, showed some of his ability finishing fifth in last week’s Canadian Pacing Derby.

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“We’ve struggled with his blood all year,” said Toscano. “He’s had a low white blood cell count but I think we have that under control now.”

The $1.5 million career earner has been a virtual no-show at this level in 2013 but Toscano thinks the best may be yet to come. “He’s always been a good horse and gotten better towards the end of the season,” said Toscano.

But first is the opportunity for Market Share to shine in the Credit Winner, race 11 on a card that also features the $202,000 Muscle Hill for older mare trotters. First race post time is 6:45 pm.