The post position draw will be held Thursday for the first leg of the Pacing Triple Crown, the $300,000 Cane Pace for three-year-old pacers, to be held Labour Day afternoon
at Freehold Raceway in central New Jersey.
The Cane Pace is the first jewel in the Pacing Triple Crown. The second is the Little Brown Jug on September 23 at the Delaware County Fairgrounds in Ohio. The third is the Messenger Stakes on November 6 at Yonkers Raceway.
A single elimination race was held August 28, but One More Laugh got one more week off, exercising a bye gained as one of the year’s top money-winners to enter the race along with BGs Folly and Delmarvalous.
Im Gorgeous on August 28 won wire-to-wire and equaled the track record with a 1:50.4 mile in taking the elimination. Also advancing to the final by virtue of finishing in the top five were Woodstock, Valentino, Rockin Image, and Urgent Action.
One More Laugh has won four of 10 races this season, including the $1 million Meadowlands Pace and $294,965 Art Rooney Pace. The son of McArdle-Fancy Creek Funny last raced August 22, finishing second to Rock N Roll Heaven in the $500,000 Battle of the Brandywine at Chester. One More Laugh has earned $924,864 this year, which ranks as the third most for any harness racing horse this season.
The gelding has won 13 of 22 starts and earned $1.51 million in his career while finishing worse than second only three times. He is trained by Ray Schnittker, who owns the horse with Mathias Meinzinger and Jerry Silva.
Schnittker is optimistic about the Cane, but knows Thursday’s draw will be key.
“I think the draw is real important and he should be in good shape, hopefully be alright,” Schnittker said. The trainer did nothing special with One More Laugh on his week off. “I just trained him pretty good and will train him a bit [Thursday]. He’s probably tight enough; he’s been going all year.”
Like many horses in the Schnittker Stable, One More Laugh takes the occasional dip in a pond on Schnittker’s Middletown, New York farm. “He swims, but I think he likes being at the track more than anything,” Schnittker said. “He just kind of hangs out and has a good time.”
One More Laugh has won a major race at every size track this year and Schnittker is not concerned about going around twice at the Freehold half-mile oval.
“He’s real good on a half; I think the whole key to the race is whether speed holds up and how he draws,” Schnittker said. “He’s won from everywhere; he’s just a very good horse.”
One More Laugh is eligible to the next two legs of the Pacing Triple Crown – the Little Brown Jug, to be held September 23 at the Delaware County Fairgrounds in Ohio, and the Messenger, to be held on November 6 at Yonkers Raceway.
“I think he’s got as good a chance as anyone,” said Schnittker, who added the horse is none the worse for wear as the season heads to fall and has held his weight well. “We’ve had no problem with that. He’s in good shape; doesn’t even look like he’s raced.”
Takter's Triple Time
Of harness racing’s Triple Crown races contested so far, Jimmy Takter has won both – both on the trotting side – by taking the Yonkers Trot with On The Tab and the Hambletonian with Muscle Massive. On Monday, he can add the first jewel on the pacing side – the Cane Pace – with Rockin Image.
Last year, Takter became the first trainer since at least 1991 (as far as the U.S. Trotting Association’s computer database goes back with trainer records) to win Triple Crown races on both the trot and the pace. He accomplished the feat with Judge Joe in the Yonkers Trot and Vintage Master in the Cane Pace.
Counting his victories last year, Takter has won three of the last four Trotting Triple Crown races and one of the last three Pacing Triple Crown events.
“I like those Triple Crown races,” Takter said. “I thought Rockin Image raced a good race [in the Cane elim, finishing fourth from Post 7]. We had such a bad post and [driver Yannick Gingras] didn’t want to leave from the seven hole. He paced :55 the last half. He needs to be a little better in the final to win it, but I think it’s an open game.”
This story courtesy of Harness Racing Communications, a division of the U.S. Trotting Association. For more information, visit www.ustrotting.com.