10/31/2013 12:36PM

Yonkers: Open draw places Word Power in the perfect spot to win Messenger final

Fred Brown
Word Power is still seeking his first major stakes win of the year.

Depending on your vantage point, the open draw either worked perfectly or reared its ugly head once again for the $450,000 Messenger final at Yonkers Raceway on Saturday night. Elimination winners Sunfire Blue Chip and Lucan Hanover were slapped with outside posts, leaving the door wide open for Word Power to pace on through.

Word Power has lived on the outskirts of the 3-year-old pacing elite during 2013. His 14-6-3-2 record points to a strong season, but the son of Western Ideal has made his living as a bridesmaid in the big events. Word Power was a runner-up by a neck behind Captaintreacherous in the Cane Pace at Tioga in September and sports a third and fourth in the Adios and Hempt finals, both $500,000 races.

[DRF HARNESS: Watch Hoosier Park Live! Captaintreacherous, Foiled Again, and more race this Friday]

For Word Power, the speed is evident within but due to bad racing luck or circumstance, he has yet to get over the top against the best 3-year-old pacing colts in the sport.

“He’s had a little hard luck,” said driver George Brennan on the colt’s past races. “Looking at the race on Saturday, it is a good spot for him. I think he can absolutely win.”

Word Power qualified for the Messenger final by flashing sharp early speed and chasing home an equally good Lucan Hanover, losing by just under a length. After sitting the pocket the entire mile through easy fractions of 27 4/5, 57 and 1:25 1/5, he sprinted home willingly in 27 1/5. There were, however, some anxious moments as the Larry Remmen trainee approached the three quarter maker.

“He gets a little floaty with his gait sometimes. He just got up on the bit and shortened up with his hobbles,” said Brennan of the minor incident. “This is the third time I’ve driven him and he has done it a little each time, but I’m not really worried about him breaking or anything.”

Starting from the advantageous three-hole and well inside his main competition, Brennan could see an opportunity to seize the moment.

“That’s a tough spot for them at this track, and really at any track. They are up against it,” said Brennan about Sunfire Blue Chip and Lucan Hanover starting from the outside. “I know the one (Odds On Equuleus) and two (Ronny Bugatti) can leave well. I would like to think I’d be able to go far early, but the 3-hole doesn’t provide the best angle to get around them.”

Sunfire Blue Chip overcame a tough uncovered trip to win his elimination. Yannick Gingras will try to find the solution to post seven on Saturday. David Miller will have the slightly more difficult assignment of overcoming post eight with Lucan Hanover. The Casie Coleman trainee brushed and crushed while well in hand to win his elimination.

Value bettors could key in on Lonewolf Currier. The Kevin McDermott trainee was too fired up in the pocket and had to move to the front last week only to finish third. With the right trip Lonewolf Currier has proven capable of pacing with his foes.

Saturday’s card also highlights the female sophomore pacers in the $178,684 Lady Maud. Morning line favorite Charisma Hanover (7-5) and Scandalous Hanover (3-1, part of entry) are the featured players.

Post time for the 13-race card at Yonkers is 7:10 pm.