A group of fourteen horses have entered the eliminations for the Meadowlands Pace necessitating two seven horse elimination races Saturday evening where only five in each elimination advance to the big dance. It would be a typical Meadowlands Pace except for a horse from Iowa who has the audacity to try crashing into the upper echelon of harness racing.
Roland N Rock is the horse in question. Does a horse which races in $1,000 events at fairs like What A Cheer and Humboldt Iowa, makes his way to East Rutherford with a qualifier at Running Aces, MN and a win a race at Goshen, NY have a chance, especially when he has to go against the likes of Wiggle It Jiggleit and Wakizashi Hanover in his elimination? We'll talk about that later, but make no mistake, it brings a little intrigue to the eliminations.
Let's take a look at the two eliminations, from the rail out.
6th Race - 1st Eliminaation
1 - Dealt A Winner (D Miller) - Definitely not the same horse he was last year when he won over $119,000. So far in 2015 this three year old has made four starts with a second and third with $7,700 in earnings. Looks better than his record shows and is reunited with his regular driver, the third race since taking a few weeks off. On the other hand, he has yet to break the 1:50 mark. It will take his very best to advance to the final.
2 - In The Arsenal (Sears) - His big win thus far in 2015 is the Art Rooney at Yonkers. A winner of an elimination of the Pepsi North America Cup, he was unable to be a factor in the final finishing fourth. Racing in the Hempt elimination and final, he raced respectively against Artspeak (2nd) and Wiggle It Jiggleit (3rd). A definite factor in this race and will advance to the final.
3 - Dude's The Man (Callahan) - The winner of a division of the Somebeachsomewhere at Mohawk has raced credibly but nothing sticks out of late; a third place finish in the NYSS and a second place showing in an overnight event at Vernon Downs, trainer Jessica Okusko's home track. Hard pressed to see him advancing.
4 - Artspeak (Zeron) - Is there much to say here? The obvious choice to win this race. Whether he can win the final remains to be seen but with the lack of the other marquee horses, it seems like clear sailing here.
5 - Hurrikane Ali (Gingras) - A second tier horse whose last victory was the second leg of the NJSS in 1:50.1. Had no chance in the Pepsi North America Cup final and turned in a sparkling 1:52 qualifying victory. Unlikely to win here but should move to the final.
6 - Revenge Shark (Callahan) - Watch the driver selection here as named on Dude's The Man who I exepct Callahan to select. Nothing really to pique my interest here. It will be a massive upset for him to win, will need everything to go his way to move to the final.
7 - Pierce Hanover (B Miller) - People are questioning the drive last week in the Hempt final. Will he be ready for a big effort or will he suffer the effects of last week's drive? Being Miller returns to race this week suggests the driver followed the trainer's orders. Despite drawing the worst post in this short field. A perfect trip puts this son of Cam's Card Shock in position to upset the top dog.
11th Race - 2nd Elimination
1 - Trading Up (Zeron) - Winner of a nw2/3 conditioned race at the Meadowlands in 1:51.1 and won a Stallion Series race at Philadelphia. In between, not too much. If not for being trained by Tony Alagna, this horse would be an automatic toss. Still, unless something crazy happens, I don't see him advancing.
2 - Rock N' Roll World (D Miller) - An 8-0-5-1 kind of says it all. He can land a share but seems to be unable to convert his efforts into wins. With the big two in this race, he doesn't figure to have a chance to break his 0'fer record this week. May pick up minor spoils to advance to the final.
3 - Roland N Rock (Campbell) - Oh, what a story it would be for him to win Saturday night. This son of Rocknroll Hanover is 18 for 18. Raced outside the whole way in the Landmark Stakes last week before drawing off to a ten length victory. To say he will be tested for class here is an understatement. My heart says yes, my brain says no. Can advance, but will be impressed if he gets on the ticket.
4 - Lyons Levi Lewis (Gingras) - Other than a qualifying victory at the Meadowlands, the season has been disappointing. Will have to make a big improvement to punch his ticket to the big dance.
5 - Badiou Hanover (A Miller) - Interesting horse with five victories out of eight starts this year. Julie Miller has him improving and could be serious contender With the North America Cup and Hempt winners in this elimination, advancing to the final is likely the best they can expect and should achieve.
6 - Wakizashi Hanover (Tetrick) - Tough trip cost the trainee of Joann Looney-King ing a chance for a North America Cup-Hempt double. Has done little wrong this year. Likely to try to tuck in second and take a shot at Wiggle It Jiggleit in the stretch. Will he do it? Possible, but remember, the prize is next week.
7 - Wiggle It Jiggleit (Teague) - The one to beat. A scenario for defeat would be someone stinging him as he moves for the lead allowing Wakizashi Hanover to pass him late. Unfortunately, I d Son't see that happening. The likely winner.
Early Start - As a reminder, the Meadowlands starts at 5:30 pm this weekend due to a Taylor Swift concert. Last time Swift appeared at the Meadowlands, the traffic was horrendous with fans arriving very early. Normally I would encourage people to go to the track but unless you are looking to arrive around 3pm, I would suggest watching and wagering from home.