As the field turned for home in Saturday's $350,000 final of the Delvin Miller Adios Pace for the Orchids at Hollywood Casino at The Meadows, two questions remained before the house: Could Cannibal find the Lightning Lane in enough time to speed by the trio vying for the lead? Would he have enough pop to overtake them?
The answers were, he could and he did, as Cannibal poured through the Lightning Lane to capture a head victory in 1:49 in the 57th edition of the Adios.
Its My Show, the race favourite who set a world record 1:47.4 in his elimination last week, quarter-poled to the top for Scott Zeron but was forced to a swift :53.3 front half.That was the signal for Redwood Hanover (James MacDonald) to move first over from fifth while Seven Colors (Dave Palone) picked up the live cover. As they thundered down the stretch, all four had victory within reach.
But it was Cannibal and Yannick Gingras who took advantage of the best trip, downing Redwood Hanover by a head, with Seven Colors a close-up third. Its My Show had to settle for fourth.
Gingras said he wasn't confident he had enough racetrack left to get the job done.
"I liked the spot I got in early in the race, and I could see Its My Show getting a little tired," he said. "But when I saw Palone's horse [Seven Colors], I was a little worried that I wouldn't get there in time. It's actually exactly how I saw the race unfold. About once every hundred races, it does unfold the way you see it."
It was the second Adios title for Gingras, who triumphed in 2013 with Sunfire Blue Chip for trainer Jimmy Takter, a Hall of Famer and the father of Saturday's winning conditioner, Nancy Takter.
Cannibal, a son of Sweet Lou-No More Losses, has won six of seven starts this year, tasting defeat only in the Meadowlands Pace final. He now has banked $369,978 for owner/breeder Diamond Creek Racing.
Nancy Takter completed a rare Adios Day double as her three-year-old filly, Always B Naughty, took the $114,770 Quinton Patterson Adioo Volo, the companion feature to the Adios.
Asked if she viewed her Adios victory as the continuation of a family tradition, since her dad won the event twice (2009 with Vintage Master and the aforementioned 2013), she replied: "No, not really. I try not to compare myself to my dad because I'll probably lose every time if I try to do that. It's a classic race, and it's a special day for harness racing."
She said both her Adios Day winners will head to Kentucky for sires stake action.
The full livestream, courtesy the MSOA, is available below, as well as a recap of the undercard stakes.
ALWAYS B NAUGHTY MOVES POWERFULLY FIRST UP TO WIN ADIOO VOLO
Always B Naughty was in an unenviable spot. If she were to win Saturday’s $114,770 Quinton Patterson Adioo Volo for sophomore filly pacers, she would need to make up 5-1/2 lengths on 7-5 favourite Strong Poison — and do it first up to boot.
But the daughter of Always B Miki-Ooh Shesa Badlands did just that, prevailing in 1:50 at Hollywood Casino at The Meadows in the companion feature to the Delvin Miller Adios Pace for the Orchids.
Although Strong Poision had a demanding journey from post nine, even winning driver Dexter Dunn wasn’t confident Always B Naughty could accomplish the task.
“I thought it would be hard to track down Strong Poison,” Dunn said. “I was hoping one of the two horses following her would come out. But she travelled pretty well, and I asked her to go in the last turn, and she was really good.”
Always B Naughty charged passed Strong Poison with little resistance, defeating Square Deal by 1-1/4 lengths. Odds On Hail Mary completed the ticket.
Nancy Takter trains Always B Naughty, who lifted her lifetime bankroll to $184,244, and owns with Let It Ride Stables, JL Benson Stables and RBH Ventures. Takter indicated the filly is headed to Kentucky for sires stake action.
ADIOS DAY ARDEN DOWNS GRAND CIRCUIT ROUND-UP
Saturday’s Adios Day card at Hollywood Casino at The Meadows featured, of course, the Delvin Miller Adios Pace for the Orchids as well as the Quinton Patterson Adioo Volo. But the program also offered four other Arden Downs Grand Circuit stakes. Here’s a round-up of that action.
$34,505 Dwane Parker Three-Year-Old Filly Trot
This stakes was renamed to honour the memory of the late Dwane Parker, longtime Meadows trainer who died earlier this year. Parker also was a founder, convener and host of an annual Adios Day event called “Parkerpalooza,” when the extended Parker-Bolon clan — and anyone else who drops by — gathers on The Hill overlooking the back stretch to celebrate family and great harness racing.
Many of the celebrants trekked to the winners’ circle where they joined Angelpedia, who powered off to a four-length score following a quarter-pole move for Mike Wilder. Truly Relentless and Lillehammer Hall rounded out the ticket.
“She’s eligible to just about everything,” Wilder said. “It’s a matter of what the owners decide to do with her. There are a lot of options with her.
Dan Altmeyer trains the daughter of Cantab Hall-Baker Blank who has banked $134,561 for owners Gilbert Short and Rose Stables LLC.
$44,254 James Manderino Three-Year-old Colt and Gelding Trot
The James Manderino was a showcase for Anthony MacDonald and trainer Tim Twaddle, who swept the two divisions with Crantini and Austral Hanover, both campaigned by MacDonald’s fractional ownership groups.
After winning more than $185,000 last year, Crantini was said to be on the Hambletonian trail. But after exhibiting fractiousness and other bad habits, MacDonald relocated the International Moni-Peach Martini gelding to a new base at The Meadows and some softer engagements.
“He’s always been a little bit of an idiot, to be honest,” MacDonald said. “We brought him back here to maybe do exactly what he’s been doing, finding his best foot. Tim’s done a great job keeping him quiet. I had to work on him today. You never used to do that; you’d be very careful with him. He’s probably rounding into the horse we hoped he would be.”
Austral Hanover, an International Moni-Aspidistra Hanover gelding, brushed confidently around the leaders in the lane and prevailed in 1:55.2. Momoni De Vie was second, beaten 1-3/4 lengths, while Big Boy Earnest earned show.
$42,496 Mary Lib Miller Two-Year-Old Filly Trot
Speaking of sweeps, trainer Ron Burke accomplished this in the Mary Lib Miller with wins by My Girl EJ and Lousloulemon. My Girl EJ was especially impressive, as she routed the field by 12-3/4 lengths in a stakes record 1:51.1. Stay Lucky and Sonadora were second and third, respectively.
“She’s been very nice, but she’s a little bit fussy about her mouth,” said winning driver Chris Page of the daughter of Sweet-Lou-Lucys Pearl, a maiden entering the day for owners Burke Racing Stable, Weaver Bruscemi LLC, Elizabeth Novak and Howard Taylor. “So I didn’t wrestle with her. I just kind of let her do her thing. I know that’s not that bottom. I know there’s still more left in the tank.”
Lousloulemon also broke her maiden, moving first over to upset at 9-1 in 1:53.1 for Ronnie Wrenn Jr. Ginger Tree Belle was a head back in second, with Deja Jade third. Burke Racing Stable, Weaver Bruscemi, Purnel & Libby and Larry Karr campaign the daughter of Sweet Lou-Fashion Fluzzy.
$40,696 Roy Davis Two-Year-Old Colt & Gelding Pace
The splits went to Silken Sweet and Rose Run Zeke.
Silken Sweet hadn’t so much as hit the board in four outings, but he made it look easy for Dave Palone, scoring by 3-1/2 lengths on the front end in an unpressured 1:51.4. Senditin Jim and Rio completed the ticket.
“This was a case of watching replays from the previous week,” Palone said. “He was loaded last week and never found a way through. He just looked like a big, growthy colt that might just want to stretch his legs out. I figured my only shot was to put him in the hunt and go from there. He was very attentive, and when I asked on him, he was gone.”
Deborah Daguet trains the daughter of Betting Line-Sweet Body for D Racing Stable Inc. and Donald MacRae.
Rose Run Zeke, meanwhile, stretched his career unbeaten streak to four by downing Solid Character by two lengths, with Dream Bird earning show. Hunter Myers piloted the Stay Hungry-Rose Run Ultimate gelding to the 1:52.1 win for owner/trainer Mitchell York.
Live harness racing at The Meadows resumes on Wednesday, Aug. 2, with first post at 12:45 p.m.