Nik Drennan will try to avenge a narrow loss in the 2011 Horse & Groom Final with his trainee Here Comes Numbers in the $82,000 series final on Friday night at the Meadowlands Racetrack.
Here Comes Numbers drew post three in the fifth race feature for conditioned trotters. He will start alongside rival Fountainbleau Volo, who bids for the series sweep and four in a row at the Big M from post two. Here Comes Numbers looks to repeat off a lifetime a best of 1:54.1 with Brian Sears in the bike.
Drennan finished second with Celebrity Hercules in last year’s Horse and Groom Final after winning a round two division. Here Comes Numbers is owned by the same connections as that one, Ddt Stable of Burlington, Ontario.
“My father (John Drennan) purchased him privately toward the end of his three-year-old season (his first year of racing),” Drennan recalled. “They always look for one decent trotter to buy. This one caught my father’s eye, he inquired about him, they paid enough for him, but he’s well worth it. They raced him a bit in the Ontario Sires stakes Grass Roots division and he did pretty well.”
Here Comes Numbers sports eight wins in 24 career starts and earnings of $150,665. He joined the series in the second leg last week, and was one of three coming out of the Don Mills Series at Woodbine to make the Horse & Groom final.
“He did well in that series up there finishing second all three weeks,” Drennan said. “He seemed to have caught his best stride there and just gets better every time we race him. He tries hard and he’ll get better with age.”
Here Comes Numbers may have come to hand in the Don Mills, but Drennan revealed the trotter still requires some fine-tuning.
“He had post 10, he was running in really badly and on a right line or he would have jogged in [the Don Mills] final,” he said. “Even last week we had some steering problems. We’re trying to sort that out, and we think he has some issues with his mouth. It’s nothing too serious and it looks like we’re going in the right direction. When we get him right, he’s going to be a lot better. He’s also got some minor feet issues and the Meadowlands really helps him out. He’ll go back to Ontario and get a break after this series.”
Drennan is well aware of his competition, including Fountainbleau Volo, who won the fastest division, a 1:53.1 romp last week.
“He’s a very good horse,” Drennan noted of Fountainbleau Volo. “Coincidentally, the same people, ACL Stuteri AB, that Jeff Dauplaise bought his horse off of also sold us Here Comes Numbers.”
Here Comes Numbers is an Ontario-bred from the first crop of Here Comes Herbie, a son of Credit Winner who won a 2006 Hambletonian elimination in 1:52, then set the pace and finished sixth in that final won by Glidemaster.
“His first crop has turned out well and there are a lot of other good ones by him,” Drennan said. “Here Comes Herbie is a brother to Donato Hanover (2007 Horse of the Year). His best one, Mister Herbie, is killing them up there in Canada. He won seven in a row at Woodbine.”
Drennan is a 29-year-old native of Burlington, Ontario, who followed his father, trainer John Drennan, into the business. The younger Drennan has been in New Jersey for about six years, and spent the first five years in the Garden State as assistant trainer for Tony Montini. In his first year with his own stable in 2011, Drennan banked $1,072,676. His Big M highlights were winning the Presidential and William Haughton Memorial with Alexie Mattosie. Drennan currently has 18 horses stabled at White Birch Farm in Allentown, NJ.
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