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The Meadowlands Pace trophies
The Meadowlands Pace, celebrating its 31st running in 2007, is one of the most prestigious races for 3-year-old pacers in North America. A full field of ten lined up behind the gate on Saturday night before an announced attendance of 17,015 under clear skies and warm temperatures, looking for the winner's share of the $1 million purse. Always a Virgin was sent off as the 7-5 favorite with North America Cup winner Tell All the 5-2 second choice and Art Rooney Pace winner Southwind Lynx the 6-1 third choice.
12-1 Kenneth J took the lead around the clubhouse turn through an initial quarter of 26 1/5 with 29-1 Pandoras Sox stalking him in second. Down the backstretch, 9-1 Running Book came out wide and took over the lead with Kenneth J still on the inside and Tell All moving up along the far outside to take third, through a half in 53 seconds. Rounding the far turn, Running Book continued to hold a short lead through 3/4 in 1:20 4/5, but Tell All was quickly closing the gap under the controls of regular driver Jody Jamieson. Tell All took a 3/4 length lead in mid-stretch and appeared to have it won, but Southwind Lynx, who was back in seventh most of the way, found room along the pylons in deep stretch, passing six horses in the final furlong to win going away by 1 1/2 lengths in a time of 1:49 1/5 for the one-mile trip. It was just 1/4 length back from Tell All to late-running Artriverderci in third. Always A Virgin stalked the pace in fifth early, but broke stride when putting in his late rally and faded to finish last.
Purse: $1,000,000 Distance: 1 mile, pacers
Pgm Horse Driver Win Place Show 5 Southwind Lynx Tetrick 13.20 5.20 4.80 1 Tell All Jamieson 4.60 3.40 10 Artriverderci Campbell 7.00
The trophy presentation for the Meadowlands Pace. Winning trainer George Teague Jr. said, "The trip didn't look good down the backside, but Timmy (Tetrick, driver) ducked him inside and did was he supposed to do. Last week, I really was impressed. He was off four weeks and still qualified for the Pace final. I thought last week's race would launch him into a good night here. I thought we were in a good spot in the stretch, but on the backside, I thought we were screwed. I think that's where he's best at, coming off cover."
Southwind Lynx in the post parade. Winning driver, 25-year-old Tim Tetrick, the youngest driver to win the Meadowlands Pace, said, "At the early part of it, I thought I was screwed. I got pushed down on the rail and I thought it was hopeless and I'd never get out. I just kept my patience and, thank God, it opened up late for me. For a second, I thought I was going to squeeze out in front of John (Campbell and Artriverderci), but there was never enough room so I just ducked to the rail and, thank God, it opened up late. Mid-stretch, I was just looking for a place to go," he continued. "I had a lot of horse but nowhere to use my horse. Late, Andy (Miller and Pandoras Sox) and those guys started clearing to go to the outside but after that, I just kept on the rail. George's horse (Running Book) drifted off and I took what he gave me and I'm lucky he got through there. He was still a little rolly tonight. He still had some trouble. It's hard for him to go real fast and smooth all the time, but he can go rough and go fast, so that's okay. I never thought I'd win one million-dollar race, let alone two, so I'm just happy to be here. It's been a great run."
Left: Second place finisher Tell All in the post parade.
Right: Beaten favorite and last place finisher Always A Virgin in the post parade. His driver Brian Sears said, "I thought he was going to be real close, but he got caught on a bad spot with the whip and he ran."
The undercard feature on Pace day is the $400,000 Stanley Dancer Memorial, the major local prep for the Hambletonian. A full field of ten 3-year-old trotters went to post, with Donato Hanover, undefeated so far this year with just 1 career loss, sent off as the 3-10 favorite. He did not disappoint, taking over the lead down the backstretch under patient handling by driver Ron Pierce to win his 11th consecutive race. He opened up a 3 1/2 length lead in mid-stretch after fractions of :57 and 1:26, and easily held off the late closing 16-1 Mythical Lindy to win by a length in 1:54 2/5. It was a long 4 1/4 lengths back to 17-1 Please Poppy in third.
Results chart Race 5
Winning driver Ron Pierce with Donato Hanover in the winner's circle. Pierce said, "I was thinking everybody who was behind me was in a little trouble, because they were racing for second money at that point in the stretch. I haven't asked him for anything yet. I was just sitting there. It was like a training mile. I don't see anything out there that can get close to him now."
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