In a topsy-turvy season for the older male pacers, the main consistent factor in the division’s two $25,000 Breeders Crown eliminations was driver David Miller, as the leading active sulky-sitting money leader handled both winners, Dealt A Winner and Mach It So.
Dealt A Winner, the leader pro tem of the division with three straight 1-2 finishes against top company, was quarter-mover number two in his elim, as Mel Mara came out to go around early leader Keystone Velocity past the :27.1 opener, with 6-5 favorite Dealt A Winner ($4.40 to win) and Miller right on that one’s back then going on to the lead near the :54.4 half.
The three-quarters was reached in 1:22.3, and with 7-5 second choice All Bets Off having his first-over bid stall, the stretch challenge came to the pacesetter’s left, with Keystone Velocity and Split The House firing strongly on the inside.
Dealt A Winner dug deep and maintained a neck margin over Keystone Velocity on the money, stopping the clock in 1:49.3, with Keystone Velocity nosing out Split The House for the deuce. Manhattan Beach (closing well) and All Bets Off were the others who advanced to next week’s final.
Dealt A Winner (Cam's Card Shark-Lazan Hanover), bred by Hanover Shoe Farms, is trained by Mark Silva for owner Jeffrey Snyder.
Mach It So scored his first victory since the William Haughton Memorial at the Meadowlands on July 15, and in the process tied the Hoosier track record for older pacing geldings of 1:48.2 in his wire-to-wire score.
Miller sent the altered son of Mach Three-Beach Dancer right to the top and was one of few drivers in the early races who kept his pacesetter rolling, setting fractions of :26.1 and :54.3, before meeting the challenge of favored Sintra as that one brushed from fourth towards the 1:21.1 three-quarters.
Mach It So and Sintra went at it head-to-head the first half of the lane, but then the chalk tired into the wind, and Mach It So maintained the advantage by three-quarters of a length on the money. McWicked, last most of the way, came with a wicked late roar to grab second by a half-length from Missile J. Rock N’ Roll World and Sintra got the final two spots for next week’s final.
Though perhaps not a recent winner, Mach It So got his ninth check in 10 starts against top company, and the Jeff Bamond Jr. trainee, bred by Enviro Stables, now has 2017 earnings of $519,903 and a career bankroll of $2,206,647 for Bamond Racing LLC. He returned $11.00.
"Both of my horses were good tonight," said Miller. "I was able to get them in a good position. Dealt A Winner has had a good streak of form, but Mach It So was sharp tonight, too. It should be a great race next week." (Breeders Crown)