East Rutherford, N.J. – Always B Miki will always be remembered as a champion.
The fastest pacer in the history of harness racing capped his career in triumphant fashion, using a sustained first-over bid to overpower All Bets Off and sprint off to a 1:48.2 victory in the $400,000 TVG Free-For-All Pace on Saturday (November 12) evening at The Meadowlands.
David Miller moved Always B Miki first-over out of midfield after patiently stalking sizzling fractions of :25.4 and :54.1, making gradual gains into pacesetter All Bets Off (Matt Kakaley) through the far turn. The 5-year-old Always a Virgin entire pushed to the fore in upper stretch, leaving All Bets Off well in his wake and evading eventual runner-up Mach It So (Tim Tetrick) by 4-1/4 lengths. Melmerby Beach (Marcus Miller) benefitted from the outer flow and saved third with a mild stand-side push over the tiring All Bets Off.
Miller and trainer Jimmy Takter had nothing but glowing reports of Always B Miki’s curtain call in the night’s sixth event.
“When I asked him, he took right off,” said Miller. “Jimmy [Takter] has done a great job keeping him good all year, and I tell you what, he’s good today as he’s been all year. He’s an incredible horse; he’s a true champion.”
“It’s a wonderful feeling standing here at our home track,” said Takter. “He’s just a wonderful horse to be around. He’s so personable, anybody working with this horse just would love him.”
“It’s nice to quit on the top, too,” Takter concluded. “This horse has a future ahead of him, and it’s going to be very, very exciting to train his offspring.”
Always B Miki wraps up his racing career with 30 wins in 53 starts—12 of those wins coming this year—as well as $2,719,368 in earnings for the Bluewood Stable, the Roll the Dice Stable, and Christina Takter.
Hannelore Hanover prevails again in mares trot
In the $200,000 TVG for trotting mares (race 4), Hannelore Hanover ($3.60) rallied from off the pace to once again defeat Bee a Magician, vaulting home and reeling in the quadruple millionaire for a 1:51.4 score. Yannick Gingras settled the 4-year-old Swan for All mare well off a contested pace before sliding second-over behind Shake It Cerry (David Miller) on approach to the far turn. After she was carried into the mid-division, Hannelore Hanover angled three-wide off the far turn and found her best strides in the final eighth of a mile, charging home to collar Bee a Magician (Brian Sears) just inside the sixteenth pole and draw clear by 1-3/4 lengths. D’One (Tetrick) held third from a pocket trip, but was four lengths detached from the top pair.
Ron Burke trains 26-time winner Hannelore Hanover for the Burke Racing Stable, the Weaver Bruscemi partnership, Frank Baldachino, and the J&T Silva Stables.
Lady Shadow sustains first-over in mares pace
Lady Shadow ($2.40) used nearly identical tactics as Always B Miki en route to her 1:50 win in the $200,000 TVG for pacing mares (race 8), grinding down rival Solar Sister and evading the late-emerging Bedroomconfessions by 1-1/2 lengths. The 5-year-old Shadow Play mare earned her 12th win of the season for trainer Ron Adams and the partnership of David Kryway, Carl Atley, Ed Gold, and the BFJ Stable, emerging off the pegs out of midfield as Solar Sister (Sears) brushed into a :54.3 half mile and working to the fore with just over a quarter mile remaining. After wearing down Solar Sister, Lady Shadow worked to gain separation on the field while Bedroomconfessions (Scott Zeron), who knifed through traffic to just capture second from a staying Sassa Hanover (Matt Kakaley). Gingras earned a stakes driving double on the night with Lady Shadow.
Obrigado outlasts barrage of pressure, upsets in TVG trot
Obrigado ($19.80), one of two of the eight in the $400,000 TVG Free-For-All Trot (race 10) to have not contested a Breeders Crown event two weeks ago, sought control of the terms early and dug in to parry a barrage of pressure in a compelling race which saw the entire octet covered by two lengths at the winning post. The 6-year-old Boy Band gelding pushed clear of JL Cruze (John Campbell) following a :27.2 initial quarter and worked to stave off the first-over threat of 3-year-old Crown champion Bar Hopping (Tetrick) through the far turn. Upon straightening for home, Mark MacDonald called upon Obrigado for every ounce of effort he had remaining, and the pair dug in to withstand a late three-wide charge from Crazy Wow (Gingras) by a nose in 1:52.4. Lookslikeachpndale (Zeron) charged down the grandstand side to take third over odds-on favorite Resolve (Åke Svanstedt), who only could muster fourth place from a third-over trip while only missing by a neck.
Trainer Paul Kelley shares ownership of Obrigado with the SRF Stable, Linwood Higgins, and Stable 45.
Total handle for the 12-race card was $2,695,344.
Live racing returns to The Meadowlands on Friday (November 18) evening, with the last-race Jackpot High-5 carryover mounting to $27,303.63. First post is slated for 7:15 p.m. Eastern.