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Big Bad John rebounds with 1:49.2 PASS win

July 16, 2011
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Fresh from eight days of focused R&R following two major disappointments, Big Bad John returned to the racing wars with renewed vigor Saturday at The Meadows when he captured a division of a $210,234 Pennsylvania Sire Stake in a stake-record 1:49.2.
 
The event for 3-year-old colt and gelding pacers, known as the Tarport Effrat, was conducted over three divisions, with Real Special and Mystic Desire—both piloted by Dave Palone—taking the other $70,078 splits.
 
One of the tops in his class, Big Bad John was sent off the favorite in the $1.53 million final of the North America Cup and the $500,000 Hoosier Cup but finished fifth in each, prompting trainer Ron Potter to ship him to Kesmarc in Lexington for rehab.
 
“He was a little sick at Mohawk and got roughed up at Hoosier, but there wasn’t anything really wrong with him,” Potter said. “We decided to get him away from the track. He had treadmill water therapy, and we put him in and oxygen chamber. We trained him twice, and here we are.
 
Although he was bet down to 3-10 in the Tarport Effrat, the race was no gimme as Big Bid John, caught in a backside traffic jam, was swooped by Keystone Velocity. But the son of Western Hanover-Trulyawork Of Art responded to Brett Miller’s urging and rallied to down the game Keystone Velocity by a length. His time erased the stake record of 1:50.1 held jointly by Aracache Hanover and Panesthetic and equaled the fastest mile this year by a sophomore colt on a five-eighths-mile track.
 
Winchester Baye Acres owns Big Bad John, who isn’t eligible for the Delvin Miller Adios but may be pointed to a $50,000 Open on the July 30 card of the Adios final followed by the Oliver Wendell Holmes at the Meadowlands.
 
Real Special punched his ticket to the Adios by making the front with a quarter-pole move and drawing off to score in 1:50.2. Pan From Nantucket was second, 4 3/4 lengths back, with The Pepperoni Kid third.
 
“He’s so drivable and he’s so quick you can do anything you want with him,” Palone said. “He didn’t have to be on the point. It just felt like the thing to do. His versatility makes him a nice horse. I hope he can step up to the Adios. It’s exciting to have one sharp going into the race, and it’s an advantage for him to have been over the track a couple times.”
 
Trainer Ron Burke recently purchased Real Special, a son of Real Desire-Treasure The Best, for Burke Racing Stable, Weaver Bruscemi LLC and M1 Stable.
 
Palone hustled Mystic Desire to the pocket behind Jolts Virtue, and the son of Real Desire-Cannes Festival blew by in the lane to defeat that rival by 4 lengths in 1:50.4. On The Radar completed the ticket.
 
“I really didn’t want to be in the two hole, but we were sailing along pretty good,” Palone said. “I was hoping staying in wasn’t the wrong move. All I needed was room. I took a chance staying in, but it will make him better next week, wherever he’s going.”
 
Ross Croghan trains Mystic Desire, who soared over $400,000 in career earnings, for Let It Ride Stables, Robert Cooper Stables, Jerry Silva and Dana Parham.
 
In the $22,500 Preferred Handicap Pace, Jojo N Goliath used a strong second-over bid to fashion a 1:51.1 victory for Miller, trainer Paul Kennedy and owners Daniel and Thomas Courtemanche. The 5-year-old Keystone Raider-Jo Jo Cadet gelding now boasts $355,658 in lifetime earnings. Pedro Island was a neck back in second while early leader Biletnikoff saved show. (The Meadows)
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