03/26/2013 3:12PM

Yonkers: Buter hoping Feeling You feels good for Bluechip Matchmaker series


Tyler Buter is not feeling good about Feeling You’s draw for Friday’s second round of the Blue Chip Matchmaker Series at Yonkers Raceway, but he is feeling optimistic about the mare’s campaign as a whole.

Feeling You, who won her first-round Matchmaker division by a half-length over Handsoffmycookie in 1:54 2/5 on March 22, starts her second-round division from post seven in a seven-horse field that includes three other Matchmaker winners. Buter handles the driving for his wife, trainer Amber Buter.

Joining Feeling You in the race, which is the fifth of five Matchmaker divisions being contested Friday, are first-leg winners Rocklamation, Krispy Apple and Ramona Disomma. Rocklamation, driven by Yannick Gingras for trainer Ron Burke, is the Matchmaker’s defending champion.

The Buters also have Billmar Scooter racing in the Matchmaker series. Billmar Scooter also drew post seven in a seven-horse field. Her split, the third division of the night, includes stakes-winners Bettor B Lucky, Royal Cee Cee N, and Western Silk.

The Blue Chip Matchmaker Series, for older female pacers, continues with preliminary rounds through April 19 followed by the final on April 27. Billmar Scooter won a division last year and finished sixth in the final.

“Hopefully we’ll draw bad in the eliminations and sneak into the final and draw good,” Buter said with a laugh. “There are so many good horses in there, whoever gets the best trip wins.”

The 6-year-old Feeling You has won three of four races this year, earning $47,500, for owners Buter, Stephen Oldford and Oldford Farms. Last season, Feeling You won 12 of 33 starts and banked $273,830 while competing primarily in the opens at Yonkers and Mohegan Sun at Pocono Downs. For her career, she has won 27 of 77 races and earned $626,983.

Last September, Feeling You set the track record for pacing mares at Pocono Downs when she won in 1:49 1/5 from post eight. The record lasted only two weeks as Put On A Show lowered the standard to 1:49, but Feeling You’s performance was one reason her connections felt good about staking her this year.

Feeling You’s only previous stakes appearances came as a 3-year-old in 2010, when she finished second in both the Lynch Memorial and a division of the Tarport Hap while in the stable of trainer George Berkner.

“She proved last year that she had top speed,” Buter said. “I’ve never had a horse that can finish (a mile) like she can. You tip her off a helmet and she explodes. She’s perfect to drive and she loves to pass horses.

“I think she’s got the desire and she’s built to go with these (stakes-level) horses. She’s staked pretty heavy this year. If she’s competitive with them, we’ll go. If not, we’ll take a step back and look at other avenues.”

Buter, a 27-year-old Michigan native now living in upstate New York, is coming off a career-best $3.18 million in purses last season and entered Tuesday needing only four wins to reach 2,000 for his career. Last year, he won 239 times and was third among drivers at Pocono Downs in both wins and money.

“Hopefully, it’s just a milestone and there are more to come,” Buter said about win No. 2,000. “It’s going to happen eventually so I don’t worry about it. I just try to do the best I can with each horse I’m driving. And when you hit (2,000), you have to think about the next horse, think about 2,001. You can’t be content.”

Buter has made only 151 starts so far this season, reducing his driving during the winter to spend time with his wife and 3-year-old daughter Hayleigh, in addition to working more with the training stable, which averages between 24 and 30 horses. His driving activity will pick up with Pocono Downs reopened.

“It’s a balancing act, trying to balance family and the training and catch driving,” Buter said. “You can burn yourself out. I’m just focused on trying to do the best for everybody.”

Following are the fields for Friday’s Blue Chip Matchmaker Series.

Division 1: Hula’s Z Tam, Chief Karen, Eighthunrdolarbill, Full Picture, Darena Hanover, Frontierpan.

Division 2: Rock N Soul, Handsoffmycookie, Anndrovette, NY Yankees, Doc’s Hope, Ramalama, Katy’s Jet.

Division 3: Bettor B Lucky, Royal Cee Cee N, JK Fine Art, Hot List, Warrawee Koine, Western Silk, Billmar Scooter.

Division 4: Camille, Unred Hanover, Mystical Diva, Collage, Ginger And Fred, Queen Of Royalty, Keepers Destiny.

Division 5: Cannae Cammie, Radar Contact, Foxy Lady, Ramona Disomma, Krispy Apple, Rocklamation, Feeling You.


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