It’s Metro Pace night at Mohawk Racetrack and there is a dynamite-looking group of freshman pacers vying for the lion’s share of the $1,000,000 purse, led by division leader #4 Captain Treacherous. From the very successful (to date) first crop of all-time great Somebeachsomewhere, the good Captain sizzled over the one-mile Meadowlands oval last month on Hambletonian day and in winning The Woodrow Wilson by 10 widening lengths he set a new stakes and trck record, stopping the clock in 149.3. Yet while Captain Treacherous is the undisputed leader of the division at this point there figures to be at least a trio of challengers in tonight’s race that are going to test him for the top prize of $500,000, including the other two elimination winners from last week, #2 Odds On Equulus and #3 Apprentice Hanover. Both of these horses have a decent chance to upset the favorite here, but I am going to call #2 Odds On Equulus to get up in the shadow of the wire with his big late kick and take it all for Mr. Harness Racing driver John Campbell. This horse has been expertly handled up to the race by trainer Robin Schadt. If you glance at his past performances you will notice that after his debut race in a New York Sires Stake at Monticello - in which he fell victim to trying to close into an accelerating pace in the 2nd half after a slow first half - trainer Schadt gave him 16 days between starts, qualified him in 153.4 with a sensational 26 flat last quarter at the Meadowlands and put him in an easier non-winners spot where he broke his maiden by a neck in 152 flat. 12 days later, Odds On Equluus was entered back into a nondescript 2YO colts and gelding race where he won off impressively first-over in 152.3 by 4 ½ lengths. From there he was shipped up to Mohawk for a shot at the $100,000 plus Nassagaweya Stakes and once again used a vicious first-over assault in the 3rd quarter to blow the field away in 152.3. At that point of his career, Odds On Equluus was clearly not fast enough to compete with the likes of Captain Treacherous, who had already broken 150 in the Wilson.
It’s last week’s performance in the Metro eliminations that turned my head. Facing his quickest pace yet, Odds On Equluus was turned loose 3-wide on the far turn and slingshotted past the leaders in an instant, drawing off to win comfortably in a new life’s mark of 150.1 (26.1 last ¼), improving by 2 and 2/5 seconds from the week before. What impresses me the most about this lightly-raced son of Art Major is his ability to fly home late. In his past 5 starts including the July 14 qualifier, Odds On Equluus has fired home in 26.0, 26.3, 26.3, 26.1 and 26.0. You have to think with $1,000,000 on the line there and many aggressive drivers coming north from the U.S, there will be pace for this horse to chase down late. He’s my call to upset. Another interesting closer in this race is the #10, Vegas Vacation, who has finished fast-closing 2nds in his last two to Apprentice Hanover and Captain Treacherous. Part-owner Adriano Sorella has gone on record saying that if his horse pulls the upset tonight, he will personally take all 40 of trainer Casie Coleman’s staff on…you guessed it…a Vegas Vacation! While post #10 figures to hinder his chances of beating them all, if someone goes on a suicide mission early, it’s not out of the question that he could mow ‘em all down late.
#3 Apprentice Hanover comes into the race off two blowout wins and is likely to be on the lead at the very latest by the half saying “come catch me”. If he is stubborn on the lead and our selection can get situated 2nd over behind the challenging Captain Treacherous, all the better! There are several other important races being contested tonight and in the $787,000 Canadian Pacing Derby, I am going to give the nod to local star Betterthancheddar from the Coleman barn. His win in last week’s “elimination” was deceptively easy as pilot George Brennan was keeping plenty in the tank for the final. I also like #3 Alsace Hanover, who had an eventful parked-the-mile journey last week from the 10-hole yet was still only 1 ½ lengths in arrears to Cheddar at the wire. This is a tremendous card with many great betting opportunities which takes us to the (dreaded?) DriveOn Bets section where tonight we hope to recoup plenty of the season’s earlier losses. Both pick 4s look juicy tonight.
DriveOnBets: Starting Balance: $2,000 Current Balance: $528
Tonights Mohawk Wagers:
Race 4 - $1 Pick 4 - 1,7/5,7,8/1,8,9/2,3,9
Race 6: $10 exactas 8/1,9; $50 win #8
Race 7: $10 exactas 9/2,3; $5 tri 9/2,3/2,3
Race 8: $1 Pick 4 - 2,3,4,10/2,5,8,10/5/4,5,6,8
$0.20 Pick 4 - 2,3,4,10/2,5,8,10/3/4,5,6,8
$10 exacta 2/3,4,10; $2 tri 2/3,4,10/3,4,10
Race 10: $60 exacta 5/3; $20 exacta 3/5
Total wagered: $352.80