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Big Bad John big in Meadows PASS

June 04, 2011
HOME PRINT

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When Big Bad John and Custard The Dragon drew in the same division of Friday’s $210,234 Pennsylvania Sires Stake at The Meadows, it was eagerly anticipated as an early-season battle of outstanding 3-year-old pacers who aspire to divisional honors.
 
At the top of the heap now lies a big, big man, and that’s John, who passed Custard The Dragon on the lead with a quarter-pole move for Brett Miller and blitzed the field with a 3-3/4-length promenade in 1:50.3. Perhaps most impressively, he blazed the last half in 53.4, the final quarter in an eye-popping 26 — and appeared to have plenty in reserve.
 
“I was fortunate enough to get some good fractions, but I’ve never had one come home that fast,” Miller said. “Horses of his caliber have a long year; you have to protect them as much as you can and not go wicked miles every week. He felt great all the way through the wire. I haven’t had to give him the gas the whole mile yet. I think that will help us down the road.”
 
A son of Western Hanover-Trulyawork Of Art, Big Bad John now has won eight of 10 career starts for trainer Ron Potter and Winchester Baye Acres and appears in top form as he heads for the North America Cup.
 
In his first start since capturing the $300,000 Hempt, Custard The Dragon got rough around the final turn, but Montrell Teague was able to settle him and preserve place. Lucky Sniper raced well first over for third.
 
“He may have brushed his knees a little bit, but that has more to do with the tenderness in his feet he’s been fighting,” said trainer George Teague, Jr. of Custard The Dragon. “But he raced well, and he’ll go on to the North America Cup.”
 
The stake, known as the Bye Bye Byrd, was contested over three divisions, with Wink N Atcha and Real Special (in his first career stakes victory) taking the other $70,078 splits. Wink N Atcha punched his ticket to the North America Cup by pouring through the Lightning Lane to triumph in 1:51.2, shaving two ticks from his lifetime mark. Sky Mesa rallied wide for second, a neck back, while Reckless Ric finished third.
 
“I was a little nervous around the far turn when he got shuffled a little. I’m glad they have a passing lane,” said Teague, who gave Wink N Atcha four qualifiers before launching his sophomore campaign. “He jumped a shadow in one of those qualifiers and looked a little funny behind the gate in another. But he came back perfect.”
 
Ted Gewertz, Robert Feldman, Paisano Stable and Gustis Teague own Wink N Atcha, a son of Dragon Again-Kiss My Lips.
 
Real Special took control of his split with a powerful first-over bid for Dave Palone that carried him to victory in a career-best 1:52, 2 lengths better than Hugadragon. Movie Idol, the 3-10 favorite, was left without cover once Real Special cleared and rallied for show.
 
“He won five in a row at Lexington last year, but when the Grand Circuit rolled around, we didn’t think he was ready for those types,” said winning trainer Tony Alagna. “But he’s come back good, and he’ll be a real nice small-track horse this year. I think five-eighths tracks will be his forte.”
 
Real Special Stable owns the son of Real Desire-Treasure The Best, a $50,000 yearling acquisition. (The Meadows)
 
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