Sweet Lou was installed the 5-2 favorite in the $600,000 Meadowlands Pace, the track's signature event for 3-year-old colt pacers on Saturday, July 14.
As one of the two elimination winners, Sweet Lou earned the right for his connections to pick their starting post in the final. They chose post four, while the team behind Heston Blue Chip, the other elimination winner, opted for post three.
Sweet Lou, driven by Dave Palone, who last week surpassed Herve Filion for the most victories in North American harness racing history, won his Meadowlands Pace elimination race last Saturday by beating A Rocknroll Dance by a neck in 1:49.1. The son of Yankee Cruiser has won four of five races this year, and finished fourth in the $1.5 million Pepsi North America Cup in his start prior to the Pace elimination. He was named the Dan Patch Award winner as 2-year-old colt pacer of the year in 2011 after winning 10 of 12 races and posting a world-record 1:49 in the Breeders Crown. Trainer Ron Burke shares ownership of the colt with Larry Karr and Phil Collura, both N.J. residents, and Mark Weaver and Mike Bruscemi, from western Pennsylvania. All are bidding for their first Pace win.
Heston Blue Chip, who will be driven by Tim Tetrick, is rated as the 7-2 second choice. Last weekend, Heston Blue Chip won his Meadowlands Pace elimination by a half-length over North America Cup champions Thinking Out Loud in 1:49. He has won all five of his starts this season and 16 of 18 in his career for trainer Linda Toscano and owner Ken Jacobs. Toscano and Jacobs mapped out Heston Blue Chip's schedule this season with the Meadowlands Pace as their goal.
"Right from the beginning that was the race we were trying to point him to and get him as sharp as we
could hope for,” Toscano said. "We elected not to do the Rooney or the North America Cup and to keep our eye on the ball and just try to have a fresh horse coming into this race. Hopefully, it will work out.”
Toscano is seeking to become the first woman to train a Meadowlands Pace winner. She is the all-time leading female trainer at the Meadowlands. Toscano has had two previous Pace starters, Kenneth J (fourth in 2007), also owned by Ken Jacobs, and Share The Delight (third in 2008).
The Meadowlands Pace is the 11th race on the card, with an estimated 10:15 p.m. post time. The Pace is part of a $100,000 guaranteed Pick Four pool that spans races 10-13.
2012 Meadowlands Pace - Saturday, July 14 - Race 11 Probable Post: 10:15 p.m.
PP Horse Driver Trainer Odds
1 A Rocknroll Dance--Yannick Gingras/Jim Mulinix 4-1
2 Pet Rock--Brian Sears/Virgil Morgan Jr. 12-1
3 Heston Blue Chip--Tim Tetrick/Linda Toscano 7-2
4 Sweet Lou--Dave Palone/Ron Burke 5-2
5 Bolt The Duer--Mark MacDonald/Peter Foley 6-1
6 Simply Business--Ron Pierce/Jimmy Takter 15-1
7 Thinking Out Loud--Randy Waples/Robert McIntosh 5-1
8 State Treasurer--David Miller/Ian Moore 20-1
9 Time To Roll--Andy Miller/Jimmy Takter 12-1
10 Allstar Legend--Jim Morrill Jr./George Teague Jr. 20-1