03/19/2014 12:35PM

Yonkers: Fraley has powerful mares in Blue Chip Matchmaker series

Mike Lizzi
Three-time Older Pacing Mare of the Year Anndrovette makes her 2014 debut at Yonkers Raceway on Friday.

With two million-dollar earners and the reigning Older Mares Breeders Crown winner in his stable, few trainers enter Friday’s first leg of the Blue Chip Matchmaker series at Yonkers Raceway with more confidence than P.J. Fraley.

While most eyes will be on three-time Older Pacing Mare of the Year Anndrovette, Fraley is looking to his other millionairess—Krispy Apple—as the mare of the moment. “Probably Krispy Apple,” said Fraley on his best shot in round one action. “She has a couple of starts under her belt now. We raced her easy from the eight-hole in her first start and she really had no chance last week.”

For Krispy Apple to succeed in the third $40,000 division (race 9), the 6-year-old will have to best a pair of imposing 4-year-olds in Somwherovrarainbow, who blitzed a field at the Meadowlands in 1:49 1/5 to start her 2014 campaign and Charisma Hanover, a winner of 13 races in 20 starts last year.

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Krispy Apple has the services of Tim Tetrick in the bike from post three. Charisma Hanover goes from pylon position with Yannick Gingras and Somwherovrarainbow has Yonkers leading driver Brian Sears from post six.

Also in the race is 2013 Matchmaker champion Feeling You. The Amber Buter trainee finished a fast-closing sixth in the Open Handicap at Yonkers to begin her year.

Tetrick will also be in his usual perch behind Anndrovette in the sixth race, second division of the five-leg series. The winner of over $2.5 million, whose main competition on Friday figures to be the Ron Burke-trained Summertime Lea (post 1), is coming off a pair of qualifiers and may not be at peak form just yet.

“We were very impressed with her first qualifier but she wasn’t quite as sharp in the second one. She’s a funny mare to figure,” said Fraley. “I don’t think she is 100-percent yet and she is not as sharp as she has been in the past; maybe age is catching up to her.”

Just because Anndrovette, who recently turned 7-years-old, may be a bit sluggish now, it would be foolish to count her out starting from post 3 on Friday, or as the series progresses.

“It is a long series,” said Fraley. “Horses can be bad and get good really quickly. Whether she wins or not this week, by the sixth week (night of the final), I’m sure she’ll be ready.”

The “now” horse in the barn could be last year’s Breeders Crown winner Shelliscape. A late season purchase last year by Bamond Racing LLC, who also co-owns the other mares trained by Fraley, the daughter of Artiscape-Shell I Scoot will be making her 2014 debut after two strong Meadowlands qualifiers.

“She has come back superb. The half will be a real test for her,” said Fraley, referring to the half-mile Yonkers Raceway configuration.

The opening leg, race 4 on the 12-race card, will prove tough to win with top mare Rocklamation signed on, but Shelliscape and Tetrick will start one slot to the inside of Rocklamation, who drew post four. That inside edge could prove to be key on a track that typically favors early speed, a characteristic that Fraley feels Shelliscape possesses.

“If she wants the front, she’ll have it in two steps,” said Fraley, before looking back to last year and ahead to her 5-year-old season. “We bought her (September 2013) at the right time and I think McIntosh (former trainer, Robert) was aiming for the end of the year. I didn’t want to race her too hard last year, but I think her 5-year-old year will be her time to step up.”

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Fraley also sends out Rockaround Sue in the fourth and final split, race 10, of the Blue Chip Matchmaker. Admittedly a fringe player in the larger scheme of the series, she drew post five in a wide open field of seven.

The Blue Chip Matchmaker will be contested each Friday through April 26 when an estimated $300,000-plus final will be offered for the top eight point-earners throughout the series.