Always A Miki, Blue Diamond Eyes win pacing stakes
« Return to News
Supporters of the betting favorites found themselves empty handed following the Fall Final Four pacing events on Saturday (Nov. 21) at the Meadowlands.
Breeders Crown champ Summa Cum Laude grew leg weary off quick fractions while pocket-sitter Always A Miki vaulted with fresh legs to a 1:50.2 victory in the $371,900 Governor’s Cup—sponsored by Walnridge Farm & Heritage Hill Farm.
Captain Sleaze, at odds of 90-1, kicked to the front and held a brief lead by a :26.3 opening quarter as Always A Miki pulled wide from the pocket with Summa Cum Laude on his back. Always A Miki cleared command to the backstretch before yielding to Summa Cum Laude. Then Abuckabett Hanover tipped first over from fourth tracked by his stablemate, Metro Pace winner Exploit, approaching a :54.3 half.
Abuckabett Hanover ranged toward the pacesetter nearing three-quarters in 1:21.4, but his advance stalled nearing the straightaway and forced Exploit to launch three wide. Summa Cum Laude clung to the lead into the stretch as a lane opened for Always A Miki to vacate pocket, and the Always B Miki-Beach Gal colt lunged to a late lead over an extended Exploit and held firm to a half-length victory. Summa Cum Laude held third with Captain Fancy closing for fourth.
“He’s a very small horse, there’s not much too him—but he’s shown all year [that] he’s a true competitor,” driver Dexter Dunn said after the race. “We re-moved there at the quarter, then Yannick [Gingras and Summa Cum Laude] came and it worked out perfect. The three-quarters was pretty fast, and he was tagged on Yannick’s helmet the whole trip. I knew he had something left if I could get him clear.”
Owned by Christina Takter, Goran Anderberg, Herb Liverman and Rojan Stables, Always A Miki collected his fifth victory from 13 starts, earning $342,418. Nancy Takter trains the $16.00 winner.
Blue Diamond Eyes culled the flames of red-hot Breeders Crown champ Fire Start Hanover and emerged victorious in the $323,600 Three Diamonds Final—sponsored by Daniel Baer & South Mountain Stables.
Driver David Miller had Blue Diamond Eyes revved early, powering for the front past a :27.3 first quarter to pocket Notorious Pink into the backstretch. Fire Start Hanover raced fourth into the backstretch and gradually edged off the pylons until committing first over by a :56 half. Once taken outside, Fire Start Hanover rolled towards Blue Diamond Eyes to battle the leader by three-quarters in 1:23.3.
However, the far-turn blitz paid a toll on Fire Start Hanover as she retreated through the field with shortening strides. Blue Diamond Eyes meanwhile blazed to the finish while prompted by pocket-popping Notorious Pink, who settled for second by one-and-a-half lengths in the 1:51.1 mile. Thebeachiscalling wove through traffic for third with Lindy At The Beach taking fourth.
“Really where she turned her whole year around was in the Kentucky Sires Stakes,” trainer Ron Burke said after the race. “She went down, re-found herself, then she came back and won the final. Then even in the Breeders Crown, we couldn’t get her in the right spots. Last week [David Miller] said she’s ready for a big effort and he said we’ll give it to her this week. Like, we’re just going to put her on the front and make them come beat her. He was very right—I knew when they came into the last turn [that] they’d have to pace hard to get around her, because she’ll fight when she gets the lead.”
Winning her fifth race from 13 starts, Blue Diamond Eyes has banked $554,617 for owners Thomas & Scott Dillon. The filly by Captaintreacherous-Aria Hanover returned $11.40 to win.
An $81,000 consolation was contested earlier on the card for the Governor’s Cup. Chris Ryder trainee Beachhead bolted down the center of the track off swift fractions of :26.2, :54.3 and 1:22.4 to win by three-quarter lengths in 1:51.2 over Baklouva, who rallied from last for second. David Miller drove the $13.40 winner for owners Steve Heimbecker and Mac Nichol. (Meadowlands)