Older Pacers Again Highlight Weekend Action

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Ted Black

June 3rd, 2017

While most of the trotters and pacers that appeared in the inaugural edition of the Hambletonian Society National Top 10 poll for standardbreds will be idle this weekend, several tracks will offer very competitive events for older pacers and trotters who could someday crack the list.

Saturday's feature race is the $200,000 Battle of Lake Erie at Northfield Park, a half-mile oval near Cleveland, Ohio, an annual test for older pacers.

This year's edition of the 'Battle' includes George Morton Levy Series regulars Guantanamo Bay, who brings a 4-2-4 slate and $137,600 bankroll from 18 starts this year and drew the rail, Soto, a winners six times in 14 starts this year with earnings of $162,000 who got post two, All Bets Off, defending champion of the inaugural Potomac Pace at Rosecroft Raceway and Rockin Ron, who sports a 4-2-1 slate and $105,000 banked from 11 starts this year but got post seven.

Rockin Ron, Night Pro and Sunfire Blue Chip all exit last week's $150,000 Molson Pace at Western Fair Raceway in Canada, but they drew three outside posts, which will make things difficult again on the half-mile track dubbed 'the flying turns' at Northfield Park. Luck Be Withyou, a speedy sort trained by Chris Oakes, will seek his third win in five starts this year.

Several races earlier on the Northfield Park card will offer a pair of $20,000 Open events, one each for trotters and pacers. The trot event features a matchup between Rompaway Galaxy and Dw's NY Yank, while the pace includes A Real Miracle, Parnu Hanover and Foiled Again, the 13-year-old Dragon Again gelding who is rapidly approaching 100 wins and 300 starts in a Hall of Fame career in which he has already earned a record $7.57 million.

That same night at at Meadowlands in New Jersey, the feature race on the card is the $20,000 Preferred for older pacers and the one-mile oval attracted a solid field for this event.

Mel Mara (Corey Callahan) arrives off a determined, nose score in 1:49.1 in his seasonal debut at Harrah's Philadephia on the undercard of the three $150,000 Invitational events that enabled all three winners to earn a spot in the top 10. Mel Mara owns a solid 19-11-7 slate and $720,000 banked from 72 career outings and last year he was among the few pacers in the land to topple Always B Miki.

Looking to upend Mel Mara is Clear Vision (Scott Zeron), a durable sort throughout his career with a 4-3-3 slate and $130,000 banked from 14 starts this year including a win in the $100,000 Levy consolation and he owns a 37-47-38 slate and nearly $2.7 million banked from 213 career tries, many of which in his former home in the Ron Burke barn. Clear Vision exits the Molson Pace and two starts back he won the Preferred here in 1:49.

Also among the contenders for the Preferred are Cyambach N (Andrew McCarthy) who makes his U.S. debut following a pair of good qualifiers at "Chester", Dealt A Winner, Lettuceromckthem N (Tim Tetrick) and Christen Me (Victor Kirby) who has finished third in each of his last two starts, including last week's $150,000 Ben Stafford Invitational won by 'down under' wonder Mossdale Conner N.

Also on Saturday night at Pocono Downs, the five-eighths mile oval in Pennsylvania will offer split editions of the "Winners Over" class for older pacers. In the eighth, Dakota Jack, Ontario Success, Scott Rocks, Betting Exchange and National Seelster will vie for the top honors, then two races later it will be Major Uptrend and Split The House taking on the likes of Yonkers invaders Santa Fe Beach Boy, Sapphire City, The Real One and Ideal Cowboy in the likely faster split.