Mean Mare Means Business
Published: February 2, 2012 4:10 pm ET
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“Last year I didn’t stake her up to anything except for the Blue Chip; this year I’m going to put her in a few more races. Hopefully we can do as good, or maybe even a little better.”
Royal Cee Cee N might not be a familiar name on the stakes circuit, but that could change this year. Mark Harder, who owns and trains the New Zealand import, has high hopes for the pacing mare as she prepares for her seasonal debut in Friday night’s first round of the Cape & Cutter Series at the Meadowlands.
Last year, Royal Cee Cee N won 11 of 20 races and earned $297,800 for Harder. She competed primarily at Harrah’s Chester, where she won eight times and finished second on three occasions in 13 starts.
On Friday, she will race in the second of two $35,000 Cape & Cutter divisions, starting from post two in a seven-horse field, with driver Brian Sears. Royal Cee Cee N is 12-1 on the morning line; Ginger And Fred is the 8-5 favourite heading into the race.
“She’s got a good turn of speed and she’s a good quality, high class mare,” Harder said. “She’s better off chasing someone down; I don’t think she’s quite as good on the front. But she’s very talented and has the will to win. I think she’s one of the best. I think she can be a force.”
Royal Cee Cee N was staked only to the Blue Chip Matchmaker at Yonkers last year, but missed the series because of illness. When she returned, she won six consecutive starts at Chester, the final three in the mare open handicap.
Along the way she posted wins over notable mares such as Chancey Lady, Higher And Higher, Laughandbehappy, Ginger And Fred and Ticket To Rock.
“I just raced her around the opens at Chester and went up to Canada for a couple of starts,” Harder said. “She beat some pretty good mares. She beat quite a few mares that ended up making $500,000, $600,000, $700,000. Hopefully this year she comes back the same."
Royal Cee Cee N was bred and raced by dairy farmer Paul Brand in New Zealand, where she won four of 11 races for trainer/driver Michael House. Her wins included a track-record performance in a heat of the Southland Oaks Series at Wyndham and she later captured the final at Ascot Park.
She is a daughter of standout Down Under sire Christian Cullen, who won the 1998 New Zealand Cup.
“The opportunities were limited down there, so they sent her up here,” Harder said. “Ultimately, when she’s done racing (Brand) is going to take her home and breed her again.”
Royal Cee Cee N is no dainty princess when it comes to her personality.
“She’s the boss,” Harder said. “She likes her space; she likes not to be messed with too much. Even when she’s on the track jogging, if you get too close to another horse she’ll lean over and try to boot them. She’s got a bit of a mean streak in her.”
Harder also will send Symphony In Motion into the Cape & Cutter. She starts from post three, with driver Ron Pierce, in Friday’s first division.
Last year, Symphony In Motion won eight of 37 races and earned $258,505. She has won 34 of 116 career starts and earned $988,354. The eight-year-old mare is coming off an eighth-place finish, beaten by only three lengths, in her seasonal debut last week.
“She’s going to go over a million dollars in earnings, so enough said right there,” Harder said. “What else can you say? She’s just a great little mare and has been a pleasure to race for quite a few years now. She’s older now, and every now and then she goes an average race, but when she does she jumps back and gets back on her toes again. She can beat pretty good mares on her day.”
This story courtesy of Harness Racing Communications, a division of the U.S. Trotting Association. For more information, visit www.ustrotting.com.