Captaintreacherous, the brightest star in harness racing, makes his eagerly anticipated return to The Meadowlands Racetrack on Saturday night.
“The Captain” is eyeing his next pot of gold, the $635,750 Meadowlands Pace, the richest stakes in the U.S. for 3-year-old pacers.
The Pace is the main event on the biggest night in the sport. The spectacular 14-race program starts at 7:15 p.m. Gates open at 5 p.m. Admission is free with complimentary t-shirts for everyone, while supplies last.
For fans who can’t make it to The Meadowlands, television coverage is available on MSG Plus, SportsSouth, Sun Sports and TVG. Check local listings for the channel lineup. Live streaming is also available at www.meadowlandsracetrack.com.
All eyes will be on Captaintreacherous, winner of the Woodrow Wilson here last summer—a high point in a freshman campaign in which he went 8-1-1 in 10 starts and was crowned Pacer of the Year. He joined Niatross and Camtastic as the only 2-year-olds to capture that title.
Niatross returned the following year to win the 1980 Meadowlands Pace, a feat Captaintreacherous will try to emulate.
The Captain has come back better and stronger this year. He is a perfect 5 for 5 this season, including wins in the North America Cup at Mohawk Raceway and the Max C. Hempt Memorial at Pocono Downs.
Now he finally comes home, to the biggest stage. Tim Tetrick will drive the 6-5 favorite from post 5 for trainer Tony Alagna.
“He loves this track,” Alagna said. “This is home for him and it will always be his home. Tim is driving him, he knows the horse. I just have to bring the horse there in great shape and let everything happen the way it should.”
Captaintreacherous, along with Twilight Bonfire and Wake Up Peter, received byes into the Pace final.
The biggest challenge to The Captain could come from Sunshine Beach, winner of last week’s Pace elimination in a lifetime best 1:48.
Sunshine Beach is the 3-1 second choice from post 2 with George Brennan set to drive for trainer Mark Steacy.
“It was a great race,” Steacy said. “He was used hard and he showed a lot of courage to hold off Odds On Equuleus. I couldn’t be happier.”
“Captaintreacherous is a great horse and pretty much refuses to get beat. Right now we’re probably going in as second favorite and it’s a horserace. Anything can happen.”
Odds On Equuleus is the 4-1 third choice with Hall of Famer John Campbell at the lines for trainer Robin Schadt.
Campbell leads all Pace drivers with seven victories.
Beach Memories, Johny Rock, Resistance Futile, Rockin Amadeus and Sir Cary’s Z Tam complete the Pace field.
The action also figures to be fast and furious in the $471,800 William Haughton Memorial Final following the world-record equaling 1:46 4/5 win by Warrawee Needy in last week’s eliminations.
He is the 5-2 favorite in an All Star field of Free-For-Allers that includes Foiled Again, the first pacer to earn $5 million, and Sweet Lou who is closing in on $2 million.
The Haughton is part of the inaugural TVG Free-For-All Series. The winner earns 35 qualifying points toward the $500,000 Championship final at Nov. 30 at The New Meadowlands Racetrack.
I Luv The Nitelife, 5 for 6 this season including wins in the $184,250 Fan Hanover at Mohawk Raceway and Lynch Memorial at Pocono Downs, is the 4-5 favorite in the Mistletoe Shalee for 3-year-old filly pacers.
Contenders for the $1.2 million Hambletonian and the companion event for fillies, the $500,000 Hambletonian Oaks here on Aug. 3, have their final prep races in the $294,000 Stanley Dancer and the $265,500 Delvin Miller Memorials.
Corky has his work cut out from post 10 in the Dancer. The runner-up in the New Jersey Sires Stakes Championship, Corky was a game winner in the slop most recently in the $500,000 Earl Beal Jr. Memorial at Pocono Downs.
Smilin Eli, the NJSS Champion, suffered his first loss in five starts when he set the pace in the Beal before finishing fifth. He has post 7.
The fillies take the stage in the Miller where To Dream On, last season’s divisional champion, looks to build on her first win of the season last week at The Meadowlands in the Reynolds Stakes. She has post 7.
The ultra-consistent Bee A Magician has the rail. She is 6 for 6 this year, pushing her overall record to 16-1-1 in 19 starts.
A quartet of $150,000 New Jersey Sires Stakes finals for 2-year-olds round out the stakes lineup.
There will also be plenty of action aside from the races on Pace Night. Paddock Park comes alive with live music, a vodka tasting and a Name the Filly contest.
Meadowlands Pace Night is a cornerstone of the Championship Meet, the showcase for the top trotters and pacers through Aug. 3.
This is the final year for The Pace at the grandstand where the race originated in 1977. The New Meadowlands Racetrack currently under construction debuts on Nov. 23, ushering in a new era for The Pace, and harness racing in the New York metropolitan area.
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