Fifteen of the sport's brightest freshman pacing colts and geldings have been split into a pair of eliminations Saturday night at Mohawk for the chance to race in the $685,000 Metro Pace final on Saturday, Aug. 30.
Leading the group of 15 is the Tony Alagna trainee Artspeak, who is undefeated in four career starts and enters the Metro elim fresh off a victory in the Nassagaweya Stakes last Saturday night.
Artspeak and driver Scott Zeron will start from post position five in the first $40,000 elimination. Alagna said he was happy with how Artspeak came out of the Nassagaweya Stakes.
"Artspeak jogged back super, everything checks out good," said Alagna. "We are really happy with the way he drew and hopefully he has another good shot this week and takes another step towards the Metro final."
The son of Western Ideal-The Art Museum was a $100,000 Lexington Selected Yearling Sale purchase and is owned by the Brittany Farms, Marvin Katz, Joe Sbrocco and the In The Gym Partners.
One of the top local rookies, Traceur Hanover, will meet up with Artspeak for the first time.
Trained by Normand Bardier Jr., Traceur Hanover enters this weekend's elimination with three wins in four starts and is also coming off a victory in his Nassagaweya split.
Randy Waples sits behind the son of Western Ideal-Transference for owner Richard Berthiaume, who bought Traceur Hanover for the same price as Artspeak at the Lexington Selected Yearling Sale.
The other $40,000 elimination appears to be a wide-open affair, with seven rookie pacers looking to be in the top five to secure a spot in the rich final.
Sports Bettor, who will start from post position seven, is coming off a 69-1 upset victory in his division of the Nassagaweya last Saturday night.
Trained by Mark Austin for owner-breeder Frank Gentile, Sports Bettor broke his maiden in style with the Nassagaweya upset.
Before his breakthrough in the Nassagaweya, Sports Bettor had finished second in three of his five career starts.
Randy Waples will drive the son of Sportswriter-Shellys Delight.
Also in the field of seven is this year's Battle of Waterloo winner, Go Daddy Go, who will start from post three for the Hall of Fame connections of driver John Campbell and trained Bob McIntosh.
The top five finishers from both eliminations will advance to the $685,000 final on Aug. 30, with elimination winners earning the right to select their post position for the final. (WEG)