Daryl Bier has carved out a successful niche by purchasing and winning with a string of established racehorses.
Modern Family is the Delaware-based trainer’s latest star.
The $110,000 January Mixed Sale buy at the Meadowlands is one of the favorites in Saturday’s $50,000 Horse and Groom Final, carded as race two on a 13-race program.
The $57,000 Aquarius Final kicks off the daily double.
The four-year-old son of Cantab Hall drew post five in a field of seven with 2012 Driver of the Year Tim Tetrick in the sulky.
Modern Family won his first four starts this season for his new connections, Bier of Smyrna, DE, Charles Dombeck of Davie, FL, and Richard Poillucci of North Easton, MA.
After romping to an easy 1:54.1 win in the first leg of the series, Modern Family finished second to Quick Deal, who trotted to a season’s best of 1:52.1 last week.
Bier purchased Modern Family with the utmost confidence.
“Tony Alagna is a class act, and we knew exactly what we were getting when we purchased Modern Family’ said Bier, 46. “This horse came to us in great shape and looked fantastic. I would buy anything from Tony.”
Bier and his partners were instantly impressed with Modern Family and their new-found trotter paid instant dividends.
“The night he won in 1:53.1 at Dover Downs it was 31 degrees, the wind was blowing about 40 miles per hour and he was just outstanding,” noted Bier. “He’s not one of the biggest horses around, yet he’s got one of the nicest motors you can have. He cruised home in :26.4 in the first leg of the Horse and Groom, and I couldn’t be more thrilled with this horse. He’s just a wonderful animal. I would buy five or six more like him at the same price.”
Modern Family will line up next to Quick Deal [post four], and will look to turn the tables on a round two loss to that rival.
“I’m happy we drew alongside Quick Deal so Tim can see what he’s doing at the start of the race,” said Bier. “Hopefully, we can get away just behind him. I was very pleased with the way my horse raced last week. We gave him an easy week because we were already in the final. I’m sure we’re going to be better this time.
“I didn’t stake him a whole lot this season. I consulted with Tim Tetrick, and again, he’s not a real big horse, so we haven’t staked him aggressively. We’ve got him in the four-year-old Meadowlands Maturity. We’ll also put him in the Cutler, but I really don’t want him to have to go in 1:51 and 1:50 this year. I’m looking towards next year. We’ll put some weight on him and bring him back strong as a five-year-old. There’s so much money around. We just want to get his legs under him and keep him fresh. Higher And Higher made over $300,000 in 2011 and the only major stakes race she was in was the Betsy Ross.
“I’ve never dreamed of taking a trotter to Europe for a race like the Eliltlopp, and I just hope he makes money, takes a nice mark and I’ll retire him to stud somewhere.”
Bier is coming off another career best season and surpassed the $1 million mark as a trainer for the first time in 2012. He is currently tied as leading percentage trainer in Delaware with a .569 in-the-money figure, based on 20 wins, nine seconds and seven thirds from 48 starters, and his stable has earned $203,120 in 2013.
“Spending the money and buying solid, ready-made racehorses just seems to work for us,” explained Bier. “Last Fall at Harrisburg, I bought Ryder Blue Chip and he’s worked out for us. I also recently purchased St Lads Zoom Zoom [1:51.1, $89,871]. But it’s getting so hard to find good horses anymore. I just watch a lot of video of the races and we’ve had a good run.
“Charles Dombeck was a friend of my father [Art Bier] back in the sixties and seventies when he raced at Monticello. We hooked up in 2008, and the first horse we claimed for $20,000 was a nightmare. We sold him for $5,000. Yet, as soon as we came to Delaware we bought Dream-A-While [1:50.5f, $453,338], who made $130,000 in four months. Then, we had Starsel [1:53.3f, $708,507], who was Dover Downs Trotter of the Year in 2009.
“Modern Family is by far the best one we’ve got going right now. I’ve been basically racing a smaller stable down here at Dover Downs. I’m also racing at Harrah’s Philadelphia. I’ve got a lightly raced five-year-old, Shopping With Art, who’s won eight in a row, and I just bought Woodstock Hanover from Aaron Lambert.”
Bier is also anxiously looking down the road as he looks to cash in on the breeding aspect of the business.
“We bred Dream-A-While to Somebeachsomewhere,” he revealed. “Bruce Ranger just trained her first filly in 2:26 [in Florida] and she looks great. I also have a full brother colt, plus she’s ready to drop another one.
“I just sent world champion Higher And Higher [1:49.1f, $923,475] to Somebeachsomewhere, who was absolutely one of the greatest pacers in history. That mating is where I think we have a chance to get a real superstar. We were so fortunate to get Higher And Higher to perform at the top level, and it was amazing what Special T Rocks [1:48.3f, $402,564] accomplished for us.
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