Sweet Lou and Heston Blue Chip were the victors in a pair of eliminations contested Saturday night to decide the field for the $600,000 Meadowlands Pace.
The top five finishers in each of the $50,000 elims earned starting berths in the Meadowlands Pace final on Saturday, July 14.
Sweet Lou held off a late surge by A Rocknroll Dance to capture the first elim by a neck in 1:49.1. Dave Palone steered the defending divisional champion to his 14th win in 17 starts for trainer Ron Burke and owners Burke Racing Stable LLC, Weaver Bruscemi LLC, Larry Karr and Phil Collura.
“I thought he was okay,” Palone said. “I’m not sure that I raced him how I wanted to race him. I was probably looking to follow tonight. I thought the horse to beat was A Rocknroll Dance, who was on my back, and I got to back him up a little bit. We still got home in :26.4 and I don’t think speed was ridiculously good tonight. I have mixed emotions. I know this colt wasn’t at his best tonight and I know Ronnie [Burke] will have him at his best next week.”
Kenneth Jacobs’ Heston Blue Chip held on for a career best 1:49 victory in the second elim with Tim Tetrick at the lines. The prolific Linda Toscano trainee is now perfect in five starts this season and has just two losses in 18 career starts.
“He was a little ranker tonight then he has been in the past,” Tetrick. “He left well and I put a few in the hole. Time to Roll came and I let him go [to the lead]. My horse didn’t want to sit. When I came to the top of the lane I went ahead and deuce-popped on Time To Roll, and my horse really raced game all the way to the wire.”
The field for the Meadowlands Pace in alphabetical order: Allstar Legend, A Rocknroll Dance, Bolt The Duer, Heston Blue Chip, Pet Rock, Simply Business, State Treasurer, Sweet Lou, Thinking Out Loud, Time To Roll.
The elimination winners will select their starting posts for the final at Tuesday’s draw, which will take place at 12:30 p.m. at the new Winners Bayonne. All Meadowlands Racetrack horsemen and owners are invited to watch the post position draw and get a sneak preview of the facility before it opens to the public. Horsemen should RSVP to Jennifer Bongiorno at firstname.lastname@example.org or 201-460-4166. Winners Bayonne is located at 400 Route 440 North, at the Fifth Street connection.
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