03/18/2015 11:22AM

Yonkers: For The Ladies N takes on the big girls in the Blue Chip Matchmaker

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Mike Lizzi
For The Ladies N starts in the second division of the Blue Chip Matchmaker series.

For older female pacer For The Ladies N, it’s not how you start, but how you finish.

The 6-year-old New Zealand import is not the quickest mare off the starting gate – only twice in 11 lifetime U.S. races has she been better than fifth after the opening quarter-mile – but she still can find her way to the winner’s circle on a regular basis.

For The Ladies N, trained by 64-year-old Australia native Peter Tritton, has won six times in the States and hit the board a total of nine times since arriving in the U.S. last November. She has earned $76,500 for owner Harry Von Knoblauch during that span.

On Friday night, For The Ladies N will step up in class when she competes in the opening round of the Blue Chip Matchmaker Series at Yonkers Raceway. She was one of 17 pacing mares to enter the first leg of the six-week event, which concludes on April 25.

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There will be three $40,000 Matchmaker divisions Friday. For The Ladies N is in the second division and is 5-1 on the morning line with Eric Carlson at the lines. Four-time Dan Patch Award-winner Anndrovette also is in the division, as well as 9-5 morning line choice Carolsideal.

Defending Matchmaker Series champion Somwherovrarainbow is in the third division and series runner-up Yagonnakissmeornot is in the first division.

“It’s a step up to race against these horses, but I think she’s probably as good as them if she gets the right trip and I’ve got her at 100 percent,” Tritton said about For The Ladies N. “The only chink in her armor is that she doesn’t like to be used early, which I know is a bit harder at Yonkers, but that’s just the way she likes to race. She likes to find her feet and then come.

“She’s strong the last three-quarters of a mile. As long as you let her relax early she’ll keep coming and she’s got speed. All the drivers that drive her love her; she’s just a lovely, good, honest mare. I had to give her a shot at it because she’s got the ability to go with them if she gets the right trip. So we’ll keep our fingers crossed.”

For The Ladies N finished second to Somwherovrarainbow in a January start at the Meadowlands and won an Open Handicap at Yonkers on Feb. 6. She finished fifth in the Open Handicap the following week, but Tritton discovered the mare was sick and gave her time off to freshen up for the Matchmaker.

“She might need the first week, but from then on she should be good to go,” said Tritton, who was based in Delaware but now calls upstate New York home. “I’ve moved up here now with this series and the Levy (Series) in mind. I’m hoping that will benefit (the horses), not having to do all that travel.”

Tritton has enjoyed success bringing horses from Down Under to the U.S., with some of his recent imports being Mainland Key N, Malak Uswaad N, and Second Wind N. That trio has combined to earn $1.28 million.

“I’ve always got a few people looking over there for horses,” Tritton said. “They know exactly what I want. I’m lucky I’ve got good connections over there. That’s why I stick with the horses over there. I know who to deal with. It’s been working for me so far.

“I like horses that have got good back class, but have gone off the board for one reason or another. If you can resurrect them when you get them over here, you know that the ability is there. They’re the ones I seem to have the best results with. If they’re sound enough, they can make a lot of money if they’re the right horse.”

In addition to racing For The Ladies N in the Matchmaker Series, Tritton will send 7-year-old male pacer Texican N into the George Morton Levy Memorial Pacing Series, which begins Saturday night. The field also features the sport’s richest horse of all time, Foiled Again, and defending series champ P H Supercam.

Last year, Texican N finished sixth in the Levy final. He has won eight of 37 races in the U.S., with earnings of $180,430 for owner Von Knoblauch.

“I don’t know whether he can win it or not,” Tritton said. “He’s probably not as good as the big boys, but if he gets a good trip he can follow pace and still keep coming. I think he’ll earn good money in there and probably has a good shot to get into the final.”

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