Trainer Linda Toscano told harnessracing.com Monday afternoon that she doesn't mind that trainer Ron Burke announced earlier in the day that he planned on choosing post four for Sweet Lou in Saturday's $600,000 Meadowlands Pace at the Meadowlands as she has targeted the three hole for Heston Blue Chip.
Both Sweet Lou and Heston Blue Chip won their respective Meadowlands Pace eliminations last Saturday, the former scoring in 1:49.1 and the latter in 1:49. The victories allowed the connections of each to choose their posts, which will be formalized at a press conference Tuesday afternoon at the Winners Bayonne off-track wagering facility in New Jersey.
"I'm taking the three,” Toscano quickly answered when asked her post preference. "I was very, very happy with the way he raced in the elim. He finished hard and he finished up real good. I was tickled with him.”
In the elimination, driver Tim Tetrick left from post two for the lead with Heston Blue Chip and reached the quarter in :26.2. Tetrick then yielded the front to Time To Roll and waited patiently in second until the last turn when he tipped out and Heston Blue Chip responded with a final quarter of :26.3 to score the victory. It was Heston Blue Chip's fifth win in as many starts this year and sixth consecutive dating back to last year's win in the Matron final.
"I said to Timmy after the race if he (Heston Blue Chip) had enough, and he said he always has enough,” said Toscano. "He said, ‘When I call on him he's there for me.' That's good enough for me.”
Toscano downplayed some of the buzz that high expectations for this year's crop of 3-year-old colt pacers aren't being met in light of the two eliminations not going any faster than 1:49.
"The track was different,” she said. "But I think the heat has been playing havoc with the racetrack. They don't know how much water to put on it; they were calling for terrible thunderstorms.
"The track itself was OK. I blame it as much on the heat as anything that we've been dealing with. It's been intense. Dehydration has been a huge problem for us racing the horses. So I think everyone's been off their normal schedules.”