The Meadowlands Pace elims wrapped up on Saturday and we might be looking at the best betting final in years. As we have been discussing almost all year, this crop looks sub-par, but pretty even. It seems the soundest talented horse might end up the end of year champ in this class; and right now it's up for grabs.
In elim one, Montrell Teague led the field through sleepy fractions, just like he should have and won under-wraps with Hoosier champ Custard the Dragon. The North America Cup winner, Up the Credit, failed to fire at all, and looked a little bit unsound to my eyes, although being so far back he had little shot to hit the board. Bestofthebest Hanover, a son of supermare Bunny Lake, looked to have some pace in the lane, and he might be a sneaky one to throw on the tickets in the Final. Foreclosure closed from aways back in quickening speed - he might be the best 3YO out there right now.
In elim two, the "we'll race Big Jim off a helmet" experiment was over, although I imagine it had more to do with Phil being forced to take the lead. When right Big Jim is a top horse, and being on the front end should not, and did not make a difference. He won fairly easily in 50. I can't blame a soul for wanting to bet Powerful Mist in the final. He closed nicely from off the pace and finished strong. Betterthancheddar, this year's super-hyped three year old, was rather blase first over and no threat.
The post draw might tell the tale and is needed to be seen before stepping out on a limb. I will likely be betting Foreclosure, however.
We must have had an equipment change, shoeing change, some vet work, or maybe driver Marcus Johanssen just gets along with her better, but See You at Peelers drove pretty straight and was impressive once again at Vernon. She set a track record in a training mile. She's looking more and more like the female version of Somebeachsomewhere. In fact, we are seeing a few criticisms that she is "not tested". Well, you can't test what you can't catch. She can move to the lead in 26 flat and no filly in NA has a hope in hell of stretching her out. It's what class and talent is all about - the superstars make it look easy.
Trainers and owners (and drivers for that matter) are finicky. After a no shot trip at Tioga, that any driver would have delivered the way the race went, Randy Waples was booted off top older mare Dreamfair Eternal. With Jody Jamieson at the Meadlowlands she needed a driver at Georgian this weekend and who did they call? Randy. Track record. At the top levels, the driver means so little in harness racing. Randy, Jody, Brian, Paul, Tim, whomever? She'll win for them all.
Have a good Monday everyone.