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Get To Know Horowitz, Drop Red

Published: May 22, 2009 4:38 pm ET

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If you didn't know much about trainer Bob Horowitz or the Pepsi North America Cup eligible Drop Red, you do now -- and there is a lot to know.

The New Jersey-bred is in-to-go for the $61,400 second leg of the NJSS Saturday at the Meadowlands. Drop Red is rated as the 2-1 morning line favourite in the evening’s seventh race with George Brennan in the bike.

The colt shook loose late and closed in :26.4 to finish just three-quarters of a length behind Annieswesterncard in the $230,000 Berry’s Creek on May 9.

“This year, he’s had four very good races,” Horowitz said. “He was locked and loaded in the Berry’s Creek. We’re looking at these next few sires stakes races as stepping stones to bringing him north of the border for the Burlington and North America Cup, and then the Meadowlands Pace.

“He’s fresh as a fiddle and loves what he’s doing,” he continued. “I trained him [Thursday morning] and he was brilliant. He was screaming and there was nobody else on the track. He’s very difficult to deal with in the paddock. He’s a stud colt and he knows it. He puts his game face on as soon as he gets in the trailer, but the minute he gets home he acts like he never raced.”

In the May 16 opening leg of the NJSS, Drop Red wired the field in 1:52 for his first win of the season.

“He raced on the lead, but he was kind of forced to,” Horowitz said of the race. “The track wasn’t that speed favoring. Pair A Dice sat on his back, but when they turned for home, I realized my colt was at a different level. He has the ability and the motor, and he does it effortlessly. He hasn’t had his tongue hanging out yet. We can try to close the gap on a horse like Dial or Nodial, but who knows? At least Drop Red has an arsenal of tools to go with horses like that.”

Drop Red, a son of Red River Hanover--Igottwowordsforyou, was a $14,000 yearling purchase at the Standardbred Horse Sale in Harrisburg.

“I had Drop Red’s brother, a McArdle colt named Mctrick Or Treat,” Horowitz noted. “He was an ordinary, little colt who tried real hard. He was a modest overnight horse, yet I loved his attitude. I said 'if there’s another one next year out of the same dam Igottwowordsforyou, I’m going to buy him.' Mctrick Or Treat was her first foal, and I didn’t care who the stallion was.

“The first crop of Red River Hanover didn’t do so great, but sometimes a sire takes a few crops,” he continued. “People got turned off right away and didn’t give him a chance. I was training this colt down and there was nothing he couldn’t do. I told people I had something special, but last year nobody had anything positive to say about his sire.”

Drop Red won four of nine starts at two, including a seasonal best 1:53.1 clocking in a Kindergarten Series division and 1:54.3 score in the NJSS at the Meadowlands. The only time he failed to earn a cheque was in the $175,000 NJSS final, in which he never entered contention and finished eighth.

“Initially, we aimed to develop him into a nice three-year-old,” Horowitz said. “In only his second baby race at Pocono, he drew away from (divisional champion) Major In Art. He wasn’t huge, but he physically had to grow into himself. He had the talent. He’d try real hard, yet he didn’t know what to do with it yet.”

By mid-summer, Horowitz knew he had serious talent in his hands. The colt hooked up with Schoolkids in the Kindergarten Series at Vernon Downs and finished second in a 1:51 track record. The following week, he punched home in :26.3 to beat Schoolkids in an Empire City split at Tioga Downs. Schoolkids turned the tables on Drop Red in the $89,500 Empire City final, besting him by a neck in a 1:51.2 clocking.

“Brian Sears drove him (in the NJSS) and he said ‘if you take good care of this colt, you’re going to have a heck of a nice three-year-old,’” he said. “When you have 10 of them like that [in your barn], you can sort of chisel them out and see who survives. With one of them like I have, you look to next year. [The Empire City final] was it for 2008. We put him on the shelf, and he was turned out in fantastic shape. He had a great winter and had seven months off. He was actually bored and we started jogging him in November.”

Horowitz sold a share of Drop Red to retired trainer Randy Perry at the end of the season. “Last fall, he told me he was looking to get involved,” Horowitz said. “He loved Drop Red and I was looking to peddle a piece of him. That gave me the opportunity to stake him and supplement him.”

Forty years after his bittersweet introduction to harness racing, Horowitz has found the horse of a lifetime in Drop Red.

“In 1967, my father took my brother and I to Monticello Raceway, and he died of a massive heart attack there that day,” he said. “I was five years old. My mother hated the business because of the heartbreak it brought her in one day. Nevertheless, I later became a fan of the sport in high school and college, and I learned the game from the ground up.

“I been doing this for over 25 years, and I’ve never had a horse like this,” continued the 47-year-old trainer, who is stabled at Marveland Farms in Succasunna, NJ. "This is really exciting for me, and it gives you something to come to the barn for. All I can do is prepare the horse every week and enjoy the ride. We’re not a big time operation, but I have a great crew and we pay attention to detail. We tell everybody to think 'Red' because it’s going to be a real fun summer. Basically, you sacrifice your life to get one like this, and we’re thrilled.”

(With files from the Meadowlands)

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