The $30,000 final for the Legends vs Phenoms driving competition threaded through the Saturday night card at the Meadowlands with ten drivers competing over five races for the $15,000 first prize. Each driver was entitled to choose his mount in one of the five races and through the first three they proved to be prophetic with a chosen horse winning each of those races.
In Reynolds Stakes action for 3-year-old pacing colts, Always B Miki made easy work of the race despite starting from post 9, winning by open lengths in 1:50.3.
Always B Miki was moved to the front by Yannick Gingras between the :26.2 quarter and :55.4 half, that proved to be the winning move as the Always A Virgin colt sailed along unchallenged, closing out the mile with a :26.1 final stanza. Allstar Partner followed the winner and held second easily in his first start of the new season and The Lunch Pail finished third.
Always B Miki's trainer Joe Holloway has stated that he's giving the colt a chance to make the varsity team and stay with the East Coast string, even keeping him eligible to the Meadowlands Pace. As though he knows what hangs in the balance "Miki” has been making his case with impressive performances and is moving forward with each start.
Owned by the Bluewood Stable, Val D'Or farms and Roll The Dice Stable, Always B Miki won't have to worry about a red tag and a bus ticket waiting for him in his stall back at Showplace Farms anytime soon.
As the twelfth race came onto the track as many as six drivers had a chance at the top prize, though point leader Jim Morrill, Jr. was forced to watch from the sidelines due to the scratch of his mount.
Corey Callahan seized that opportunity and put his mount, the 9-2 third choice Whataorse, in play early from post ten, landing a pocket trip behind dueling leaders. Jim Marohn Jr. sent his charge Prince Sharka to the lead and parked Dave Miller through demanding fractions. When a seam opened in the stretch Callahan slipped through and although he could not track down race winner Stormin Rustler and Steve Smith, he did finish second in the race, amassing enough points to win the competition.
The final tally was Callahan 36 (winning $15,000), Morrill 35 ($5,000) and Marohn 34 ($3,000). All other drivers were awarded $1,000 for taking part in the competition.
The $30,000 A-2/FFA Handicap Pace was again the stage for Dovuto Hanover to display his irresistible late kick in 1:49.4. Taken back to last in the field of seven by Scott Zeron, Dovuto was as many as a dozen lengths from pacesetter Golden Receiver through soft fractions of 55.4 for the half and 1:23.3 for three quarters.
Zeron navigated his charge into a second over position following Emeritus Maximus into the stretch, fanned off that cover when they straightened up and took virtually the length of the stretch to wear the leader down. Dovuto Hanover once again paced a 25.2 final quarter. Emeritus Maximus edged Golden Receiver for second.
Darran Cassar trains the winner for Martin Scharf.
Racing returns on Friday night with the Simpson for three year old filly pacers and the three year old colt and gelding pacers do battle in the Simpson on Saturday. Friday night features the opening of Victory Terrace, The Meadowlands rooftop bar and lounge and Saturday features the Kentucky Derby simulcast, with gates opening at 9:30 A.M. Live harness racing on both Friday and Saturday is set for 7:15 P.M. (Meadowlands)