03/29/2016 3:18PM

Yonkers: Anndrovette aims to become the richest female pacer in history

Ken Weingartner/USTA Photo
Anndrovette and trainer Jeffrey Bamond Jr.

After seeing her 2015 season cut short by illness, Anndrovette is back to the races at age 9 and chasing Eternal Camnation’s earnings record for a female pacer. And while it might be tempting to count out the multiple-award-winning Anndrovette at this stage of her career, it might also be foolish.

Anndrovette, who finished third in her seasonal debut last week in the Blue Chip Matchmaker Series at Yonkers Raceway, has won 44 of 129 career races and earned $3.46 million in purses. She enters Friday’s third round of the Matchmaker needing $278,727 to surpass Eternal Camnation’s record of $3.74 million for the top spot among all female pacers in harness racing history.

“It’s obviously something that’s in the back of our minds, but I look at the horse’s health and well-being before I look at records,” said Jeff Bamond Sr., who owns Anndrovette with his son, trainer Jeff Bamond Jr., and Joe Davino. “If she couldn’t compete on a high level anymore I’m not going to race her just to chase a record.

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“Some people said to me recently that she’s one of the toughest horses they’ve ever seen and every time you count her out all of a sudden she turns around and surprises you. I won’t count her out and she’ll let us know when it’s time that she doesn’t want to do this anymore.”

Added Bamond Jr. about the purse record, “If she does it, that’s great. And if she doesn’t, that’s not taking anything away from her either. It’s just pretty special to be looking at it.”

Anndrovette won three of 18 races last year and earned $363,408. She snapped a six-race winless streak with a 36-1 surprise from post 10 in the Golden Girls at the Meadowlands last July and came back three weeks later to win the Lady Liberty at the Big M. Both races were contested at 1-1/8 miles.

In late October, she was scratched sick from the Breeders Crown and didn’t start again the remainder of the season.

“She got some kind of infection; we’re not really sure how she got it,” trainer Bamond Jr. said. “It was best to shut her down and do the right thing. She owes us nothing. Luckily she was able to come back good. If anyone was going to be able to do it, it was her because she’s so tough. I was worried, but as soon as you count her out, she always steps up.”

Anndrovette was beaten by a half-length in her 2016 debut, which was won by Yagonnakissmeornot in 1:53 3/5.

“She’s not a great qualifier; it usually takes a start or two to get rolling, so I was definitely happy with it,” Bamond Jr. said. “I thought she got out of the gate good and she finished up good, so I was very pleased to see her have pace on both ends.”

On Friday, Anndrovette competes in the third of three Matchmaker divisions. She will start from post three with regular driver Tim Tetrick. The six-mare field also includes Al Raza N, who is 2-for-2 in the series and on top of the standings for the six-week event, as well as Yagonnakissmeornot and first-round division winner Mach It A Par.

Bamond-trained Krispy Apple is in Friday’s first division and his Venus Delight is in the second division. Venus Delight was the 2015 Dan Patch Award winner for best older female pacer, snapping Anndrovette’s four-year hold on the honor.

“It’s a tough series,” Bamond Sr said. “You always feel good about the ones you enter. If they can make money and they all come out healthy and continue for the year, I’m happy. I think I have a shot, but so does everyone else or they wouldn’t have put their horses in there.”

Anndrovette’s four consecutive Dan Patch Award trophies set the record for an older female pacer and equaled Eternal Camnation’s record for the most awards given to any pacer in history. Anndrovette, a daughter of Riverboat King out of the mare Easy Miss, also has received four O’Brien Awards for best older female pacer in Canada.

In addition, she is the only horse to win the Roses Are Red Stakes three consecutive years and one of two horses to win the Breeders Crown Mare Pace in back-to-back years. Other major victories include two editions of the Betsy Ross Invitational plus the Lady Maud Stakes, American-National Stakes, Artiscape Stakes, A Spring of Hope Invitational, Overbid Series final, and a New York Sire Stakes championship.

“She’s my once-in-a-lifetime horse,” said Bamond Sr., who has owned Anndrovette since the summer of her 3-year-old season. “I’ve had some good horses but she’s meant the world to me. When we bought her we thought we were buying a nice New York Sire Stakes horse, never thinking that we would end up with what we did. It’s a dream.”

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