TVG Open Pace crown goes to Always A Prince
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Always A Prince and driver Yannick Gingras went to the front from post eight and never looked back, rolling to a 1:48.2 win in Saturday’s $350,000 TVG Open Pace championship at The Meadowlands. The margin of victory was 4 3/4 lengths.
Bettor’s Wish, the lone 3-year-old in the field of older male pacers, finished second and American History was third.
Always A Prince, trained by Tyler George, set fractions of :27, :55, and 1:22.1 on his way to the win. It was Gingras’ first drive behind Always A Prince, a 4-year-old gelding, who was sent off at odds of 5-1.
“He certainly left a good impression,” Gingras said. “(I was told) he’s really nice to drive, he can race either way, and left it up to me behind the gate. When the gate opened, there wasn’t much speed. A couple horses left inside of me, but I was able to get a really good first half, and I think it made the difference.
“When I looked at the race, I didn’t see a crazy amount of speed. I thought there were more horses that were looking to race from behind, so I thought maybe it could work out that way. But maybe once every 20 times it works out the way I think.”
For the year, Always A Prince has won four of 18 races and earned $362,835. He has won 23 of 40 lifetime starts and $855,710.
Always A Prince, by Always A Virgin out of Glorious Princess, is owned by Carl Atley and Melanie Atley. He was bred by Emerald Highlands Farm.
Following the race, a retirement ceremony was held in the winner’s circle for 8-year-old stallion McWicked, who finished fifth.
McWicked, a Dan Patch Award winner at age 3 and the Horse of the Year in 2018, ended his career with 40 wins in 110 races and $4.93 million. He is owned by Ed James’ S S G Stables, trained by Casie Coleman, and driven by Brian Sears. (Ken Weingartner/USTA)