East Rutherford, NJ - A very accomplished field of seven fast class pacers will face the starting gate in Saturday night's featured seventh race, a $20,000 Preferred pace.
Despite a career that has seen him earn over $700,000 and share a world record with his 1:47 mark taken last year, morning line favorite Mel Mara remains an enigma. He flaunted remarkable speed early on as a two-year-old and prodigious possibilities loomed on the horizon. Despite some flashes of brilliance and moderate stakes success, that promise would go largely unfulfilled.
Mel Mara's racing career was beset by injuries that have at times cost him entire seasons, likely career enders for many, but not him. The now eight-year-old stallion still has the speed and determination to be competitive at the highest level, leaving us to wonder what might have been.
After more than five months away from racing, Mel Mara was a gritty 1:49.1 winner in his seasonal debut at Harrah's on Sunday after leading all the way for driver Corey Callahan. The pair will start from post two for trainer Dylan Davis and owners Robert Cooper and J&T Silva.
Stiff competition begins to Mel Mara's immediate right as Delta Winner lines up in post three. The 2015 Cane Pace winner is off to a good start to his 2017 campaign, a 1:50.2 winner followed by a narrow loss in 1:49 in his pair of appearances this season.
Clear Vision is the horse that won the 1:49 race mentioned above and the career winner of more than $2.6 million is back from post four after a trip to Canada for the Molson stakes last Friday.
The remaining four are Down-Under imports, the most renowned of which is the $2 million winning Christen Me N (PP #7) who is making his third start state-side. He also raced last at Harrah's Philly, batting the best first over and living to tell of it in the Stafford Memorial on Sunday.
There are a dozen pari-mutuel puzzlers on the docket for Saturday night with plenty of opportunity to fashion that big score.
Saturday marks the return of the JerseyFest Food Truck Mash Up and BeerFest so bring your appetite.
Post time is 7:15 pm.