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Shadow Play Shocks At 14-1

Published: August 8, 2009 5:52 pm ET

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Despite persistent problems with his front feet, Shadow Play exploded for a 14-1 upset in the $328,750 U.S. Pacing Championship Free For All for open pacers on Saturday afternoon at the Meadowlands.

Won The West (Jim Morrill Jr.) and Shadow Play (David Miller) both left alertly from the outer posts in the seven-horse field with Shadow Play making the lead in a comfortable :27 first-quarter time, and opened up a quick two lengths on the field before coming back to them and being bested by Bettor Sweet (John Campbell).

Bettor Sweet fronted the field through the :54 half at which point Brian Sears pulled favoured Mister Big from fourth and commenced his first over attack. Just before the three-quarter station, that first over bid flushed Miller from the pocket as the field passed three-quarters in 1:21.2.

As the field hit the head of the lane Miller asked last year's Little Brown Jug winner for more and Shadow Play responded, kicking away from the pacesetter and opening up daylight on the field. Mister Big valiantly tried to rally but it was too little too late as Shadow Play hit the wire in a lifetime best 1:47.4.

Mister Big nosed out Won the West for third.

"I planned on leaving with him, thinking I could get a good trip but he got to the lead," said driver David Miller after the race. "Then John [Campbell and Bettor Sweet] came and I figured that would be a good horse to follow. When I pulled him, he exploded."

Miller drives Shadow Play (The Panderosa - Matts Filly) for Dr. Ian Moore of Charlottetown, PE, R G McGroup Ltd of Bathurst, NB, NHL Hall of Famer Serge Savard of Saint-Bruno, QC and Blue Chip Bloodstock Inc, Wallkill, NY

When asked by Bob Heyden if he's better than last year, trainer and co-owner Moore dryly replied, "not really. I see a bit of blood [from the foot] in the winner's circle today and I think he'll be better still in a couple of weeks [for the Breeders Crown]."

Prior to the race, Moore confirmed to Trot Insider that his horse was not at 100 per cent today.

Tom Grossman of Blue Chip Bloodstock was gracious in victory over two-time defending champion Mister Big.

"I don't think [Shadow Play] has put it all together yet. It's an honour to beat a champion like Mister Big."

Stay tuned to the SC website for full coverage of harness racing's Hambletonian Day at the Meadowlands.

To view the results, click here.


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