Confronted by a challenger who would not go away, 1-5 favorite McWicked dug in, blazed the back half in an amazing :53.2 and captured Saturday's $400,000 final of the Delvin Miller Adios Pace for the Orchids Presented by Coors Light. With the victory, Casie Coleman, who conditions McWicked for SSG Stables, became the first female trainer to win an Adios final in the 48-year-history of this important test for 3-year-old colt and gelding pacers.
Leaving from post 2, David Miller was able to give McWicked a rather leisurely half in :55.4 on the front. When Brett Miller moved Somewhere In LA uncovered down the backside and the pair looked McWicked in the eye, the battle was on. As the horses matched strides around the far turn, Brett Miller thought that he might coax enough from Somewhere In L A to pull off the upset.
"For a split second, I thought I had him beat,” Brett Miller said. "My horse was a little lazy getting out of there, and when McWicked got right to the front, I knew we were in trouble. I thought the only thing I could do was come first over and rate my own mile. But McWicked's fractions were too easy.”
David Miller, however, figured McWicked still had plenty in the tank.
"I was anticipating a lot more leavers,” David Miller said. "Only one pushed out, so I got right back to the front and pretty much just loafed around the track. I was kind of shocked when everybody was just grabbing up.
"Brett was just kind of riding. When we started pacing halfway through the last turn, we humped home pretty good. My horse was pretty ready for it. He's very manageable. When I called on him, he kicked in and he got the job done.”
Coleman also was confident that the son of McArdle-Western Sahara would prevail.
"Brett hadn't pulled the pull-down blinds yet, so that obviously worries you,” she said. "But when I got a :55.4 half, I was pretty sure my horse would fight pretty tough through the wire.”
McWicked edged away in deep stretch to triumph in 1:49.1, a length better than his gallant rival. Cammikey, the local hopeful bred and owned by Cam Land Inc. of Washington County, was a ground-saving third.
With the win, McWicked pushed his career bankroll to $798,447and extended a prolonged roll that has seen him sweep the eliminations and finals of the Hempt and the Adios. Coleman said the streak hasn't surprised her because the colt always has been sharp for her.
"So far, every time I've put this horse behind the gate, even those starts he got beat, he's given everything he's got, 110 percent,” she said. "He's an iron-tough horse.”
She downplayed the significance of being the first female trainer to win an Adios final.
"I'm a trainer—I don't look at it as woman or a male ,” she said. "It's pretty cool to have that, but I never look at it that way.”
Coleman indicated McWicked would next race in a PA Sires Stake and would be pointed for the Little Brown Jug.
Mattamerican took the $30,000 Adios consolation for Dave Palone, trainer Norm Parker and owner/breeder Bob Key. The race was opened to PA-sired colts and geldings who did not compete in Adios eliminations.
In a conditioned pace, David Miller piloted Santa Fe Beachboy to victory in 1:49.1, a track record for 4-year-old horses. That erased the mark of 1:49.3 established by Trick Man in 2011. Brian Brown trains the son of Somebeachsomewhere-Santa Fe Yankee for Santa Fe Stable. (The Meadows)