Here is a quick look at the two eliminations for the Meadowlands Pace and the William R. Haughton Memorial Pace:
8th Race - $688,000 William R. Haughton Memorial Pace Final
#4 - Bettor Sweet (5-1)
#6 - Mister Big (9-5)
#3 - Won the West (6-1)
My pick here is Bettor Sweet. While he finished sixth in the prep, that was his first pari-mutuel start since the Classic Final at Mohwak on June 13th which he won. While he finished 6th last week, his last quarter was in 26.3. I expect improvement this week and with a 5-1 morning line, he may be the bet here. Mister Big has made only three starts this year, and he finished a fast closing third in the prep. Being Mister Big is famous for coming up big in finals, he can't be ignored. That being said, I expect him to be over bet. Won the West shocked the field last week to win in 1:48.4 at 29-1. While he must be respected, I don't expect him to be able to repeat.
5th Race - Meadowlands Pace - 1st Elimination ($50,000). Top five advance to the final next week.
#6 Well Said (6-5)
#5 Art Colony (4-1)
#1 Vintage Master (6-1)
Well Said won two in a row including the $1.5 million (C) North America Cup in 1:48.1 with a 25.4 last quarter last week. He is at the top of his game. However, at 6-5 he may very well be over bet. Art Colony followed Well Said last week to finish second in the NA Cup. At 4-1 there may be some value for him. Vintage Master is the upset possibility. While his last start was a victory in nw2cd, he finished an amazing fourth (2.5 lengths back) in his elimination of the North America Cup after breaking at the start and being distanced at the 1/4 pole. Finishing second in the NJ Classic and NJSS Final, he shows the ability to compete here. If you get any price for Vintage Master, you need to seriously consider giving him a play. Lisagain and Barber Pole can qualify for next week's final.
7th Race - Meadowlands Pace - 2nd Elimination ($50,000) - Top five finishers advance to the final next week.
#3 If I Can Dream (7-2)
#9 Arctic Warrior (9-2)
#4 - Straight Shooting (8-1)
This appears to to be the weaker of the two elimination races. If I Can Dream folded in the North America Cup final to finish 6th. As the winner of his elimination and the Art Rooney Final, If I Can Dream may have the class to win this race. However, you need to be sure you get value to bet him. Arctic Warrior won last start in the first consolation of the NA Cup in 1:49.3. He finished a respectable third to If I Can Dream in their NA Cup elimination. Can be a major contender here. Straight Shooting does not seem to be one that can win, but has enough talent where he should be included in the exotics. Passmaster Hanover was scratched injured in the Jersey Cup but before then was good. The main goal is to get him qualified to the final. Hypnotic Blue Chip was a monster earlier in the year before breaking on the lead in the Rooney Final. He has not been right since but if he gets straightened out he may be in next week's final.
I have not made a secret of my dislike of eliminations in these type of races. While drivers will be trying to win the race, they will be more concerned with making sure they finish in the top five in their elimination so they have a chance at the million dollar final. My personal preference would be for the top ten money earners getting to race in the final with the next ten horses qualifying for a consolation race. If the Meadowlands Pace field was drawn based on lifetime earnings, these would be the horses starting in the Pace.
Top 10 Money Earners Eligible for the Meadowlands Pace (listed in order of lifetime earnings):
#1 -Well Said ($1,273,808)
#2 - Art Colony ($750,340)
#3 - If I Can Dream ($478,645)
#4 - Vintage Master ($305,690)
#5 - Passmaster Hanover ($283,409)
#6 - Hypnotic Blue Chip ($256,720)
#7 - Straight Shooting ($250,640)
#8 - Chasin Racin ($242,826)
#9 - Arctic Warrior ($235,294)
#10 - Schoolkids ($232,235)
A race like this would be a better betting race than the two eliminations and the final will likely be.
Best of luck to you with your selections.