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Louisville, KY --- It took him some time to figure out what he was supposed to be doing out there, but once 5-year-old Golden Receiver began to realize what was required everything fell into place.

“I’ve had him about a year and a half and he was a bit of a nut when we first got him,” said Mark Harder, the gelding’s conditioner. “He used to look at a lot of stuff and didn’t steer well, but the more he has raced the more professional he has become. He pays more attention to his job.”

The son of Village Jove-Royal Gold, who is owned by Stable 45, Richard Taylor, Stephen Springer and Nina Simmonds, did not race as a freshman and debuted as a sophomore. From eight trips to the gate, the gelding collected five victories, more than $19,000 in purse money and a mark of 1:51.4f.

In his 4-year-old campaign, Golden Receiver paced 23 race miles with a slate of 9-2-6, added $123,900 to his bank account, and lowered his mark to 1:48.4. The gelding has already started on 16 occasions this year with five victories, three second place finishes and four thirds, including one in the $130,000 Four Leaf Clover Final at the Meadowlands on March 27. He’s earned more than $100,000 while competing solely at the Meadowlands and Mohegan Sun at Pocono Downs.

“A lady (breeder and current co-owner Nina Simmonds) up in Binghamton, N.Y., had him as her own horse and she took him to Tioga to train on her own,” Harder, who originally hails from New Zealand, but now resides in Freehold, N.J., explained. “I don’t know what stage she got to with him or what problems he might have had, I just know he didn’t race. He started at three and attracted some attention.

“Jake Huff spotted him and purchased him for the owners,” he continued. “When he raced at four (last year) I got him and I’ve had the horse ever since. The more we have raced him, the smarter he has become.”

Harder also believes Golden Receiver’s attitude has a bearing on his improved performance.

“He really wants to be a racehorse,” he said. “He’s a big strong horse and when you sit behind him, he fills out the shafts. He’s not a tall horse; there’s just a lot of him. He’s well-made and travels real nice. He’s not hard on himself and has natural high speed. He’s just a nice horse that way.”

The gelding will continue to contest Open Handicaps and Invitationals, but will be racing at different venues than in the early part of this year.

“I’m going to give him a shot at Yonkers this weekend,” Harder said. “He’s just a notch below the real top, top horses and is a better horse when he doesn’t have to meet those big guns. He needs to stay away from the top three or four or five horses and with a lot of money at some of these different tracks now, I can keep him from some of those guys. He is a very, very nice horse though.”

Here's the field for the Open Handicap Pace on Saturday night, May 22, at Yonkers Raceway.

Race 8-Yonkers Raceway-$37,000 Open Handicap Pace
1-Deuce Seelster-Cat Manzi-Jeffrey Webster    
2-Palmer's Z Tam-Patrick Lachance-Patrick Lachance    
3-Golden Receiver-Jason Bartlett-Mark Harder    
4-Psilvuheartbreaker-Cat Manzi-Bruce Saunders    
5-Arts Ragin Jet-Jim Pantaleano-Lou Pena    
6-Giddy Up Lucky-Jason Bartlett-Josh Green