Auckland Reactor faltered in his North American debut against a field of Invitational pacers at the Meadowlands. As they approached the final turn, the Reactor made a brieft move to contend but once it became clear he would not be able to mount a serious challenge, Sears put him away to race for another day. The race was won by former $40,000 claimer Real Joke who won in 1:47.3 (equaling the fourth fastest mile in Meadowlands history).
While some may be ready to cry "San Simeon" already, it is too soon to jump off the Reactor bandwagon. Now, make no mistake, I am somewhat concerned he could not mount a more serious challenge to a 'weak' Invitational field; the fields will only get tougher from here, but I am willing to give him a few more starts before I am ready to call Auckland Reactor a flop. First of all, it was Auckland Reactor's first pari-mutuel start in six months. Up to now all we have seen were qualifiers; non-competitive events. No matter how good horses look in qualifiers, they are no substitute for actual races. The chances of winning off a qualifier is no better than a thoroughbred winning off a published workout. Rarely can you simulate actual race conditions in a qualifier; it often takes one or two actual races for most horses to be able to race at their best.
We need to keep in mind harness racing is very different in Australasia. The trotter, Lyell Creek N was known as Creek the Freak down under and when he arrived in North America; his arrival was also greatly anticipated. In 2001, he made six starts in the North America and won no races. A flop yes? Not really, in 2002-03 he won eighteen starts and over $700,000 in earnings. Sometimes, it takes time to acclimate to a different style of racing. My guess is in another start or two we should begin to see what Auckland Reactor is actually capable of .
I must confess, while I had not completely bought into the hype, it did influence my selecting Auckland Reactor to win the race. As a rule, I do not pick horses coming off a qualifier to win at first asking. I certainly would not have picked Auckland Reactor if the A list pacers were racing in the Invitational, but being this field was relatively weak, I allowed myself to be influenced by the legend enough to violate one of my cardinal rules
Current plans are for Auckland Reactor to take the week off before racing at Tioga Downs on June 13 in the $200,000 Bettor's Delight. We will see if Auckland Reactor's team sticks with their plans.
Elsewhere, Fred and Ginger wired the field to set a new 1:49.4 stakes record at Pocono Downs in the 2010 edition of the $300,000 Max Hempt Memorial Pace.
The final invitations have been sent out for the Elitloppet with Itaria Jet (Italy) and Lavec Kronos (Sweden) being added to the roster. Here is the final list of the sixteen starters for the Elitloppet next Sunday.
1. Lucky Jim (USA)
2. Define the World (Canada)
3. Enough Talk (USA)
4. Torvald Palema (Sweden)
5. Beanie M.M. (Sweden)
6. Nu Pagadi (Germany)
7. Quarcio du Chene (Sweden)
8. Brioni (Germany
9. Cooper Beech (Germany)
10. Iceland (Sweden)
11. Lisa America (Italy)
12. Nimrod Borealis (France)
13. Oyonnax (France)
14. Triton Sund (Sweden)
15. Itaria Jet (Italy)
16. Lavec Kronos (Sweden)
This field of sixteen will be divided into two elimination heats with the top four from each elimination returning for the decisive second heat.