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Monday, May 27, 2013

Another Look at the Molson Pace

VFTRG contributor Joe F., takes another look at the Molson Pace since the announcement of two additional entrants:

The folks at Western Fair have turned Friday’s Molson Pace, which wasn’t looking very inviting, into a compelling race. Casie Coleman has accepted an invitation to start Cheddar and ARNRD has filled the spot left open when Something For Doc was pulled from the race. Foiled Again, who won the last two editions, will also be entered.
Keystone Velocity, who made his last ten starts over the Yonkers half-miler and won the open there a couple of weeks ago, has drawn the six. Rock On Moe, State Treasurer, Versado and Aracache fill out the field. The latter, who starts from the two, loves the little track at London. He wired the field in his elimination last year and found his way to the top in the final, after leading a five across charge around the first turn from the outside post. Razzle Dazzle (Campbell) and Foiled were both stuck outside for much of the mile. Aracache doesn’t match up very well with the likes of Cheddar and Foiled, but with his gate speed and an inside post, he can make the race interesting for those chasing him. He took the field out in :26.3 last year.

The purse has been cut in half, but the field is just as good or better than last year’s. The switch to an invitational format does eliminate the domination of the event by the Burke stable. Won The West was the winner in 2010 with Foiled second. In 2011 Foiled won his elimination, while Atochia was elevated to first in the other prelim when Art Professor was docked for interference. Foiled won the final. And last year three of the eight starters in the final were from the Burke barn: Foiled beat stablemate, Clear Vision, with Atochia finishing fourth.

Cheddar has demonstrated the ability to get around a half. He equaled the WR of :49.2 when he won the Quillen at Harrington in W-W fashion in the fall, and he finished third in the Jug.

He drew the trailing eight post in Friday’s Molson. He’ll start behind Foiled and Aracache. Those two will  rocket out of the gate, still, it’s a trailing post on a tiny track, and there’s no getting around that. This will be his first start in eight months. A foot abscess prompted Coleman to shut him down early last year. Cheddar qualified at Mohawk in :52.2 a couple of weeks ago.

ARNRD, on the other hand, has yet to prove those tight turns are to his liking. He was raced hard last year, and got one bad post after another, regardless, Dance finished out in the Cleveland Classic at Northfield, was third in the Windy City and fourth in the Messenger. He drew the seven in his Jug prelim and the five in the final, where he finished sixth. He drew the eight last week in the Dan Patch where he placed fourth. ARNRD finished out in the Maturity in his other 2013 start. His bad luck continues in Friday’s race as he has drawn the seven. His game is not blasting out of the gate so drawing the outside on this track against Cheddar and Foiled is a lot for Dance to overcome.

The draw presents a challenge for Betterthancheddar and A Rocknroll Dance.

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