Max Hempt Memorial winner McWicked and a quartet from the powerful Ron Burke Stable will lead a competitive field of 18 sophomore colt and gelding pacers into the 48th edition of the $600,000 (est.) Delvin Miller Adios Pace for the Orchids presented by Coors Light at The Meadows Racetrack & Casino.
Three $50,000 eliminations are set for Saturday night, and will go as races 3, 4 and 5. The top three finishers in each split return for the final the following Saturday afternoon.
Trained by Casie Coleman for SSG Stables, McWicked cruised home by 2 1/4 lengths in the final of the $500,000 Hempt at Mohegan Sun at Pocono Downs, taking his lifetime mark of 1:47.3 and extending his career bankroll to $573,447. He also took one of the North America Cup eliminations, finishing fourth in the final. Off since the Hempt, the son of McArdle-Western Sahara goes from the rail in the third elimination, with David Miller driving.
As might be expected, Burke, harness racing's leading conditioner, is well represented in the signature race of his home track. Perhaps the sharpest of Burke's four-pack is At Press Time, who chased McWicked home in the Hempt and came back with a facile score--at 1-9--in the PA All-Stars at Pocono. Matt Kakaley will pilot the son of Western Terror-So Right from post three in the third elim for Burke Racing Stable and Weaver Bruscemi LLC.
Also part of the Burke quartet are Carracci Hanover, whose victory in a non-winners of two event is his only start this year; Somesizesomestyle, beaten a length while finishing fifth in the PA All-Stars, and Limelight Beach, in whom Burke Racing Stable, Weaver Bruscemi and M1 Stable recently purchased an interest.
Trainer Tony Alagna will send out a trio of Adios contenders--Journeyman, Maxi Bon, and Bondi Hanover --while conditioner Jimmy Takter is seeking his third blanket of orchids in the last five years with Somewhere in LA.
In addition to the Burke quartet, the banners of local owners will be carried by Cammikey, campaigned by Cam Land LLC, whose farm lies just down the road from The Meadows, and Mattamerican, owned by Bob Key.
First post this Saturday is 6:55 p.m.
The elimination fields, in post position order, with trainers and tentative driver assignments:
1. McWicked--Casie Coleman-David Miller
2. Stevensville--Ray Schnittker--TBA
3. At Press Time--Ron Burke--Matt Kakaley
4. Some Playa--Jennifer Sabot--Jim Pantaleone
5. Brioni --Robin Cruise--Andrew McCarthy
6. Bondi Hanover--Tony Alagna--Aaron Merriman