McWicked, Let's Drink On It and Somewhere In LA each decisively captured his $50,000 elimination for the Delvin Miller Pace for the Orchids Presented by Coors Light on Saturday at The Meadows and will lead the field into next Saturday's $400,000 (est.) final. Also qualifying for the final of this major test for 3-year-old colt and gelding pacers were Bushwacker, Carracci Hanover, Beat The Drum, Cammikey, At Press Time and Stevensville.
The Adios final anchors a blockbuster card beginning at 12:20 p.m. that features six Grand Circuit stakes. An open draw for Adios post positions is set for Tuesday, July 22, at 12:30 p.m. and can be seen on Meadows Live!
Although McWicked's time of 1:50.4 was the slowest of the winning miles, it came after the track had been downgraded to sloppy thanks to intermittent rain. Moreover, the Hempt winner effortlessly drew away from the field at 1-5 for David Miller following a quarter-pole move to the lead and appeared to have plenty in reserve.
"He did it pretty easily,” Miller said. "He hadn't raced since the Hempt, and I didn't want to be too hard on him. He's pretty versatile—he can rough it if he has to.”
McWicked downed the pocket-sitting At Press Time by 3 1/4 lengths, with the rallying Stevensville third. Casie Coleman trains the son of McCardle-Western Sahara for SSG Stables.
Somewhere In LA parlayed fast fractions to chase and a key equipment change to fashion his off-the-pace victory in 1:50 with the surface still rated "good.” Jimmy Takter, who trains the Somebeachsomewhere-West Of L A gelding for J&T Silva Stables, Deo Volente Farms and TLP Stable, rigged his horse with pull-down blinders; winning driver Brett Miller reported the new gear worked well.
"That half in :53.4 set up perfect for me,” Miller said. "He was wearing pop-down blinds for the first time. In the last turn when I asked him to pace, I pulled the string to make the blinds come down, and he about pulled me out of the race bike he took off so fast. With the way he just raced from off the pace, I imagine I'll be shooting for a trip like that in the final.”
Bushwacker was 4 1/2 lengths back in second, while Carracci Hanover edged stablemate Limelight Beach for show. Takter now is positioned to win his third blanket of orchids in the last six years after triumphing with Vintage Master in 2009 and Sunfire Blue Chip last year.
Let's Drink On It, quarter-poled to the front for Tyler Smith, and despite a swift three-quarters in 1:21.4, rolled home in 1:50.2, 1 1/4 lengths better than Beat The Drum, with locally owned Cammikey third. Smith said he didn't particularly want the lead but that circumstances demanded it.
"He was so strong it really didn't feel like he was going that much,” Smith said. "He's a lot better off a helmet, but I really haven't had the opportunity to race him that way yet. Off a helmet, the horse is vicious.”
Winning trainer Joe Seekman noted that Let's Drink On It defeated McWicked in a May 17 Pennsylvania Sires Stake at Mohegan Sun at Pocono Downs, so that the Adios final may be more competitive than some would project.
"They're races—we know how that goes,” Seekman said. "Maybe we can take advantage of McWicked's few weeks off. My horse has been racing, and I think he's sharp.”
Tina Seekman, Larry Bond, Hal Hewitt and Vince Boido, Jr. campaign Let's Drink On It, a son of Art Official-Letmedowneasy. (The Meadows)