"He's had a few problems," said Hartmann. "But I think he can overcome those and run a big race on Friday." Lil Badger is no stranger to stakes company having finished fourth in the Tyro at Monmouth and then seventh in the Sapling (gr. III). Opening weekend at Meadowlands, the colt by Lil Fappi was fourth in the Comet Stakes.Carlos Marquez, who's been aboard for five of the horses six lifetime starts, has the return call in the Futurity.The field for the colts and geldings division of the Futurity from the rail out with jockey assignments is: Our Wildcat (Robert Colton), John's Marq (Norberto Arroyo, Jr.), Munch (Nick Santagata), Lil Badger, Parfy's Legacy (Alvarado), Numbers Man (Velez, Jr.), Dottie's Prince (F. Ortiz), Quiet Desperation (Chris DeCarlo) and Toast the Queen (Luis Rivera, Jr.).All entrants in this division carry 122 pounds.
Trainer Mary Hartmann will have a busy night with her New Jersey-breds at Meadowlands on Friday as she has three entered in both divisions of this year's New Jersey Futurity.Kicking off the stakes action on the penultimate night of the 2001 Thoroughbred season will be the $50,000 New Jersey Futurity Fillies division in which Hartmann has the entry of Assaggini and Knight Skier."Knight Skier was impressive when she broke her maiden first out this summer," said Hartmann from her headquarters in Monmouth County. "We gave her some time off after that and ran her in that five-furlong turf race (The Prom Stakes on Oct. 12). She ran okay in that, beaten about six lengths and it looked like that would set her up good for the Futurity."I blew her out the other day (Oct. 29), three-quarters in 1:13 and change, which should be perfect for Friday night's races."Knight Skier will break from post five in the field of nine with Rachel Lavoy aboard. Her stablemate Assaggini has drawn the rail for the six-furlong test."Assaggini is an improving filly," Hartmann said. "She hasn't broken her maiden yet but she's the type that can come late and pick up a piece."All the fillies will carry 119 pounds. The field, from post one on out are: Assaggini (Carlos H. Marquez Jr.), Our Cozzette (Robbie Alvarado), Niblick (Joe Rocco Jr.), Ambers Smile (Jose Velez Jr.), Knight Skier (Lavoy), Fruits (Jose Santiago), Genuine Jewel (Tommy Turner), Willie's Luv (Jeremy Rose) and Spiced Tea (A. Cole).Hartmann's entry for the colts and geldings division, with identical conditions, is Lil Badger, another one who broke his maiden this summer at Monmouth.