Qualifiers on Friday morning at the Meadowlands featured the return of 2013 Pacer of the Year Captaintreacherous. Overcast skies threatened rain with temperatures around 70 and the races began with a stiff east wind (at their back for the final quarter) blowing.
Cooler Schooner started the day with another impressive mile, pretty kind through the early going for John Campbell with moderate fractions then kicking home in a wind-aided :27.3 to close the 1:55.3 circuit. Love Talk followed her around and was a comfortable second.
Uva Hanover scooted home in :27 flat for Tim Tetrick in his 1:56.4 win in Race 2. He was a presence in the PASS program at two and made the final of that series before being shut down in September. Dejatiero was a good second in his second career try for Smedshammer. He was unraced at two.
Speak The Truth looked sharp again with a win from just off the lead, finishing strong in :27 (the wind has increased as the races continue) on the end of a 1:56.4 mile. He's headed for next week's second leg of the NJSS.
Hillustrious stayed flat and Yannick Gingras let the speedy Muscle Hill half to Snow White roll. He opened a long lead passing the half in 57 flat then shortened stride late winning in 1:56.1/:29.2. Hallanet had some trot finishing for Smeds and Muscle Midas went very well in his first try of the season closing to be third for Marcus Johansson.
A few good older trotters came along in Race 5 and they flew home in :26.3 on the end of a 1:56 mile. Team Six got up on the wire for Marcus Miller to nail Swan In A Million on the wire.
Lightning Storm went well on the lead for Corey Callahan winning easily in 1:55.2/:27.2 with Helios second and Caveat Emptor closing for third with good energy.
The pacers began with Race 7 where Winds Of Change stormed home to get the nod of four across the wire for Tetrick in the eighth with a :26.2 end to a 1:52.4 mile. Unlocked, Bondi Hanover and Lyonssomewhere were there with him and all four were flying.
More 3-year-old pacers came forth in the ninth with Capital Account leading all the way in 1:51/:26.2 for Gingras, winning easily. Bakersfield was a strong second and Ideal Fashion came first over and held for third in a brave effort.
Androvette and Shelliscape squared off in the last of the day's races with Shelliscape setting slow numbers and Androvette stalking from the pocket until the stretch run where Tetrick edged the great mare to the outside and went by in a :26.2 final quarter, the mile in 1:53. (Meadowlands)