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Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Always B Miki And Freaky Feet Pete

Last year He’s Watching became the first freshman to win his division while racing exclusively in restricted races. None of his classmates stood out and, as a $3,000 bargain of diminutive stature, he carried a Cinderella story with him that none of his contemporaries could match. He got 68% as many votes as the other nominees in his class: BC winner Luck Be Withyou, Governor’s Cup winner JK Endofanera, Arthur Blue Chip and Western Vintage. None of those colts came close to capturing the imagination of the public.

This year’s outlier is Freaky Feet Pete, a first crop son of the well-bred stallion, Rockin Image, who stands in Indiana for $3,500. Like Rock N Roll Heaven, he’s from the first crop of Rocknroll Hanover. Unlike Pete, who has raced exclusively at Hoosier Park, primarily in the ISS, He’s Watching did the circuit in the higher profile NYSS, setting a 1:50 world record at Tioga in the process. This time last year He’s Watching, whose season had ended a few weeks earlier in the NYSS final, drew 38 points in the Top Ten Poll, enough to secure the number 11 spot. His crush job in the Super Final notwithstanding, Freaky Feet Pete got a single vote in this week’s poll. As was the case with He’s Watching last year, Pete is not staked to the BC and can’t be supplemented. However, he can buy in to the Matron, which is three weeks from now, for $20,000.

Always B Miki, the mighty sophomore by Always a Virgin, is a more interesting case. While he did win four legs of the Indiana SS at Hoosier, as well as the high dollar Super Final, he does have quite a bit of experience in the open realm. On the up side, he won a split of the SBSW; he built a cult following on an overland second place finish in the Pace; and he won a split of the Bluegrass in impressive fashion, in addition to taking a division of the Tattersalls Pace. Miki also raced in eliminations for the NA Cup and the Hempt.

Can Always B Miki win his division? In this week’s poll he’s 11th—same place He’s Watching was this time last year—with 35 points. In 2014 He’s Watching won the Pace, a split of the SBSW and the EBC. He disappointed in Delaware and went backwards in Lexington. He’s beyond being on shaky ground. McWicked, who drew the four post for Saturday’s Messenger, has dropped four in a row. Like He’s Watching, he was a disappointment in the Jug, and he skipped The Red Mile meet altogether. He’s badly in need of a win this week if he wants to stay in the race for division honors.

The other guy, JK Endofanera, is the reason it would be difficult for Miki to get the nod in the division. JK End blew Miki away in the Elevation at Hoosier in early November of last year and he beat Miki at his home track again this year, running him down in the Jenna’s Beach Boy. He won the other split of the Tattersalls, and he won the Cup. Throw in the Am-Nat, SBSW and Simpson and he has the broadest resume in the class. McWicked has earned a little bit more money, and that will be a lot more money if he wins the $500,000 Messenger.

Miki’s owner, Joe Hurley, and his group are apparently mulling over writing a $25,000 check to supplement their boy to the Matron on November 6. And they have pretty much made up their minds to fork over the $62,500 supplemental fee for the Breeders Crown. A win in both races, in tandem with a few missteps by the competition, may indeed elevate Miki to a leadership role in the division. Of course, pounding the big boys in the TVG final at the Meadowlands would seal the deal.

Joe FitzGerald

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