Twelve 3-year-old colts and geldings will line up behind the gate in the $510,300 Tattersalls Pace Saturday afternoon at The Red Mile, including $60,000 supplemental entry Mel Mara, who will start from the outside post 10 for driver Tim Tetrick.
Also included in the field are North America Cup winner Thinking Out Loud and Meadowlands Pace champion A Rocknroll Dance, with those colts lining up in the second tier in posts 11 and 12, respectively.
Thinking Out Loud and Mel Mara come into the race off impressive victories in their respective Bluegrass divisions last Saturday night at The Red Mile. While Thinking Out Loud closed from third with a final quarter of :25 flat to win in 1:51, Mel Mara overcame a grueling first-over journey to draw clear with a final quarter of :26.1 to win in 1:49.4.
Mel Mara's Bluegrass win was his fourth of the year in 15 starts, boosting his seasonal earnings to $209,751 for owners Brittany Farms, Riverview Farms and breeder John Carver.
The decision to supplement Mel Mara to the Bluegrass came after the colt and just seven others were entered in an Ontario Sires Stakes (OSS) Gold elimination on Oct. 5 at Flamboro Downs, resulting in no eliminations being needed and all entries advancing to the Oct. 12 final. And because trainer Tony Alagna received notice on Oct. 1 that he had been suspended seven days and fined $1,500 for a Class 5 positive test on Mel Mara in an OSS Gold elim on July 28 at Mohawk, the colt has been moved to trainer Richard "Nifty” Norman's barn for the Bluegrass and upcoming OSS Gold final.
Mel Mara won the Gold elim that he received the positive, and then finished fourth in the $130,000 final.
Also in the field is Bolt The Duer, who won the Adios at The Meadows in a world-record 1:47.4 and also captured the Kentucky Sires Stakes final, defeating runner-up Thinking Out Loud by 2 ½ lengths. Bolt The Duer finished sixth in his Bluegrass division behind Mel Mara last time out and afterward trainer Pete Foley said it was determined the horse had been battling a throat infection.
The $510,300 purse is the second-richest ever offered in the Tattersalls, behind only the $610,000 contest in 2010, the last time the stakes was raced in a single division. This is just the fourth time since 2000 that the Tattersalls was not split into divisions. This year's race is carded as the ninth race on the 11-race program.
Here is the field for the Tattersalls Pace, with listed driver:
1 Bettor's Edge (David Miller)
2 Hillbilly Hanover (Yannick Gingras)
3 Bolt The Duer (Mark MacDonald)
4 Escape The News (Brian Sears)
5 Sweet Lou (Dave Palone)
6 Dapper Dude (John Campbell)
7 I Like Dreamin (Mike Lachance)
8 Simply Business (Ron Pierce)
9 Damon Blue Chip (Tim Tetrick)
10 Mel Mara (Tim Tetrick)
11 Thinking Out Loud (John Campbell)
12 A Rocknroll Dance (Yannick Gingras)