With top contenders in two stakes events, Daryl Bier is well-positioned to have a big Saturday night at the Meadowlands Racetrack.
Bier will send out Fools Gold, the 9-5 favorite, in the $78,400 Four Leaf Clover and Higher And Higher, 3-1 second choice, in the $101,750 Overbid.
Higher And Higher, purchased for $150,000 in an online auction at Ongait.com, has proven to be a dominant force among free for all pacing mares this season. The five-year-old daughter of Western Terror equaled a world record of 1:49.2 at Dover Downs last November. She won her first three starts at the Big M, and then finished second by a nose in the Cape and Cutter final. She will start from post five with her trainer at the lines in the Overbid final.
“I can’t help boasting about her, but I really think she’s going to end up being one of the top free for all mares this year,” Bier said. “When she finds her groove and hits on all cylinders she can go with any of them. She only raced 25 times last year, and she raced great every time. She’s back in form and I was very impressed with her the other night.”
Last week, Higher And Higher rallied stoutly from third over to pull an upset ($25) in round two of the Overbid Series. She was coming off a fifth-place finish as the beaten favorite in the first leg of the series, and with both Androvette and Put On A Show making their second starts off the bench, Bier’s mare was dismissed at 11-1. The win pushed her career earnings to $854,275 for Bier, Glenn Del Russo of Wall, NJ, and Charles Dombeck of Davie, Florida.
“They all jumped off the bandwagon,” Bier said. “After the Cape and Cutter final I gave her a real easy week. I had told my partners I didn’t train her real hard, and she came up a bit short. She never really fires after a week off, and the same thing happened last year. But, last week she was excellent. These early season miles certainly won’t take their toll on her. I think she’ll be around come Breeders Crown time. She’s just a professional.”
Understandably, Bier has fielded some offers for Higher And Higher.
“Yes, a couple of people have called and talked some significant numbers, but she’s not for sale,” he noted. “We’re keeping her because this is what we want to do. We’re having a ball racing her. Maybe in a few years we’ll sell her to a breeding farm. Right now, we realize she’s a blessing and we don’t take any chances with her.”
Fools Gold enters the Four Leaf Clover final fresh off a second leg victory in 1:50.2 over round one winner, Risk Management. The five-year-old son of I Am A Fool was purchased privately last fall for an undisclosed sum by Bier, Del Russo and Dombeck. Tim Tetrick, who initially pointed out the horse to Bier, will steer Fools Gold from post three in the Four Leaf Clover final.
“I have Tim Tetrick to thank for telling me about Fools Gold,” Bier acknowledged. “I could have bought him three months prior to when I purchased him from Nelson Willis. Tim told me this was a real nice horse, so I called up about him. The guy wanted a lot of money, so I waited. I followed him on the computer, and saw that he had set the track record at Indiana Downs of 1:49.3 and took a mark of 1:48.4 at Balmoral Park. I called back. Luckily, he was still for sale, so I picked him up the next day.
“I put Tim Tetrick up last week because I had shipped up there with Higher And Higher on Friday,” Bier added. “By the time you get back [to Delaware], it’s three in the morning. I think Fools Gold is the best in that final, and Tim is going to drive him again.”
After a strong start with Bier, Fools Gold overcame a minor injury over the winter to regain his current form.
“I won my first start with him at Pocono Downs in 1:50, then he raced great at Dover Downs and Chester,” he said. “When I brought him back to Dover [in January], he must have injured a hind ankle in the middle of the night. He didn’t race well and came up lame. It took us a while to get him back sound, and it took him a few starts to regain his form.”
The Delaware-based horseman is enjoying a lucrative winter meet at the Meadowlands. He swept the Clyde Hirt Series and finished second in the Exit 16W final with Special T Rocks, a $75,000 private buy. The 45-year-old, who trains on his own farm in Smyrna, comes into the weekend with nine wins and four seconds from 15 starts, good for $188,087.
Bier prefers to wait and do his research before buying.
“We’ve done very well with purchasing racehorses, and what I like to do is wait a couple of weeks after I hear a horse is for sale. Some people are impulsive and that can get you in trouble. You might have to pay a little more, but you really have to be patient, and you certainly can’t buy everything that comes across your desk. You’ll go broke that way. We’ve had a pretty amazing winter up there, but it’s simply having the right horses in the right classes.”
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