Freehold, NJ --- When Golden Receiver won the Graduate Stakes on May 12 at the Meadowlands, he did more than capture his third final of the season in three tries. He also graduated to the million-dollar club.
The 7-year-old pacer reached the $1 million level by $3,208 thanks to his earnings in the Graduate, which totaled $90,000. Golden Receiver, the No. 1-ranked horse in harness racing’s weekly Top 10 poll, heads to Saturday’s $200,000 Dan Patch Invitational at Hoosier Park looking to add to his bankroll. He will face eight rivals in the Dan Patch.
Golden Receiver has won nine of 11 races this year and earned $349,475 for owners Stable 45, Richard Taylor, Stephen Springer and Nina Simmonds.
His earnings have done more than add to his ledger as Simmonds, who bred Golden Receiver, has donated $10,000 of the horse’s winnings thus far to the organization Equitarian Initiative. The group unites veterinarians, blacksmiths and caregivers to provide medical assistance to working horses, mules and donkeys used for income, agriculture and transportation in the developing world. It also provides education and training to the local population. (For a previous story, click here.)
Over his most recent 16 starts, dating back to last October, Golden Receiver has won 12 times and finished no worse than third in the remaining four.
“I trained him here on Tuesday and he was super,” trainer Mark Harder said Wednesday from his central New Jersey base. “I think he’s as good now as what he’s been.”
Last year, Golden Receiver finished third in the Dan Patch Invitational, behind winner Giddy Up Lucky and Vintage Master. This season, he heads to Indiana off one of his most impressive victories, having defeated 2011 Breeders Crown champion Bettor Sweet and 2011 Pacer of the Year Foiled Again by three lengths each in the Graduate.
“He hadn’t faced horses like them (prior to the Graduate), but he’d been very good against the horses he raced against,” Harder said. “Maybe that helped to have him brave for when he did step up against them. Mentally, when they’re feeling that good about themselves, it’s a big edge.”
Golden Receiver, who has won 45 of 107 lifetime races, earlier this season swept both the Presidential Series at the Meadowlands and the Spring Pacing Championship series at Woodbine Racetrack.
“It’s tough when you’re a speed horse for speed to hold up every week, but right now he’s so good that they can’t get to him,” Harder said. “He’s got controlling speed off the (starting) gate and gets control of a race quickly. I’m sure there’s going to be a time he gets run hard to the quarter or the half and speed doesn’t hold up. But right now it is.”
Following is the field in post position order for Saturday’s $200,000 Dan Patch Invitational, with listed drivers and trainers:
1. OK Commander, Peter Wrenn, Gregg McNair; 2. Drop Red, Ed Hensley, Robert Horowitz; 3. Freddyscooter, Trace Tetrick, Steve Brannan; 4. Ideal Choice, Peter Wrenn, Brooke Nickells; 5. Golden Receiver, Dave Palone, Mark Harder; 6. Nob Hill High, Aaron Merriman, Bruce Saunders; 7. Special T Rocks, Daryl Bier, Bier; 8. Atochia, Ricky Macomber Jr., Ron Burke; 9. Rockincam, Peter Wrenn, R. Nifty Norman.