In a challenging market, Iowa has become trainer Jason Ricco’s go-to place for ready-made racehorses.
One of his recent purchases from the Hawkeye State, You Little Rascal, heads into Friday’s $46,000 Night Styles final at the Meadowlands fresh off a hard-charging third in the second leg of the series. The four-year-old mare by Relentless Yankee has nine wins in 42 career starts and earnings of $37,984 for owner Anthony Lake of Millington, NJ. She will start from post two with Dan Dube in the sulky.
“We bought this mare as part of a package deal from agent Larry Miller,” said Ricco, 34, of Monticello, NY. “She came with another mare I have racing in the Petticoat Series [at Yonkers], I Got Skills. She raced against [Night Styles finalist] Miss Behave in the Iowa Sires Stakes and beat her in the final. It was difficult keeping her race-tight with the track out there [Prairie Meadows] being closed. Now that she’s getting in every week here, she’s only going to get better.
“I’m going to take a trip out to Iowa this year to pick up some more horses,” he continued. “Once their sires stakes are over, they have nowhere else to go.”
You Little Rascal required patient handling from her trainer.
“She got sick right after we got her last fall,” noted Ricco. “At Yonkers [on February 27] she made a speed break trying to leave. They never left with her out in Iowa. She’s come into form the past few weeks. We’ve had a little issue with her tying up, but we’re turning her out and keeping her happy.
“Last week, Dube [driver Daniel Dube] said he thought he was going right on by, but she started lugging in on him near the wire,” he continued. “I had the vet go over her the next day, and we treated her hocks and back ankles. I think she should go straight and be even better this week. Hopefully, we can work out the same kind of trip. Maybe some of the others will get roughed up a bit and we can get some racing luck.”
Ricco trains the mare for Anthony Lake of Millington, NJ. A family friend, Lake owns Exclusive Auto Collision in Ramsey, NJ. Ricco was introduced to Lake through his father, Joe Ricco Jr., who is also the stepfather of driver George Brennan.
“We’re always looking for more horses,” Ricco said. “Tony [Anthony Lake] is pretty good at finding them, and he always comes up with one or two that you would never look at. We claimed a couple at The Meadows recently.”
Ricco finished third in the White Ruffles final this season with Rei of Sunshine. He has eight horses in training at White Birch Farm in Allentown, NJ.
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