07/26/2012 8:01AM

Adios: Sweet Lou and Palone look tough from inside at The Meadows

Chris Gooden
Sweet Lou, with Dave Palone in the bike, wins his Adios elimination in 1:49 1/5.

You get the feeling from speaking with driver Dave Palone that winning Saturday’s $500,000 Delvin Miller Adios at The Meadows is a big deal. Yet at the same time, the man who pilots favored Sweet Lou doesn’t feel any additional pressure.

“It’s a race that we really do want to win,” said Palone. “As far as pressure, I’m not feeling any.”

That was before the post draw shook out and Sweet Lou landed post four, a position that the driver feels more than comfortable with.

Not only did Sweet Lou draw inside, but North America Cup winner Thinking Out Loud drew post six and Meadowlands Pace champ A Rocknroll Dance landed the outside post in the field of seven.

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As for those rivals, Palone wasn’t about to disrespect his competition. “I think there are three or four horses very close in ability. As far as McIntosh’s colt (Thinking Out Loud) I’m not sure he has that extra move,” said Palone.

The reference to Thinking Out Loud shows that Palone has not only been driving his horse in big races this year, but he’s been paying keen attention to the competition. Thinking Out Loud was at his best in the $1.5 million North America Cup, rallying wide with a solid late move to capture the classic. In the Meadowlands Pace, forced to leave and then attack without cover, Thinking Out Loud retreated in the stretch.

As for Sweet Lou’s fifth-place finish in the Meadowlands Pace, the driver expected a more contentious pace early in the race and simply didn’t get it. “He paced home strongly and went the fastest final quarter,” Palone said.

The Adios affords Palone the opportunity to win on his home court and he truly believes Sweet Lou has the multiple-move ability to get the job done. Trained by North America’s leading conditioner Ron Burke, Sweet Lou is stabled locally and would give Burke his first Adios victory. He was an assistant for his father Mickey when May June Character won this race in 2007.

Palone and Sweet Lou were able to capture one of two Adios eliminations this past Saturday with the driver able to back down the opening half and then have enough in reserve to score in 1:49 1/5 over A Rocknroll Dance.

The post positions for Saturday’s final, race 12 on the 18-race afternoon program with first post at 12:20 p.m., gave Bolt The Duer the rail position for driver Mark MacDonald. The colt from the Peter Foley stable is still in search of his first major victory of the year having finished second in both the Rooney at Yonkers and the Hempt at Mohegan Sun at Pocono Downs. With the pole position, Bolt The Duer has the early speed to change the complexion of the race.

Elimination winner Bettors Edge overcame post nine last week to score in a personal best 1:49 clocking. He’ll start from post two for driver Dan Dube. Trained by Linda Toscano, Bettors Edge enters the race with three wins in eight starts as a sophomore.

Sweet Lou’s stablemate Breakin The Law starts from post three and picks up Dave Miller for the final after qualifying for the race with Palone in the bike. The gelding will be making his 16th start of the season but his first against this caliber of competition.

While Palone may have designs on reaching the lead, he could have company in the form of Allstar Legend. That colt landed post five with Jim Morrill Jr. in the bike. Allstar Legend showed wicked front speed crossing to the top from post ten in the Meadowlands Pace. Last week Morrill seemed more than content to let others do the work and then rallied his colt late to qualify for the final. With the money riding there’s good reason to expect this colt to look towards the top.

Hall of Fame driver John Campbell goes for his ninth Adios title with Thinking Out Loud from post six. The son of Ponder could benefit if one or two horses do battle on the front end.

A Rocknroll Dance won the Hempt in late June from post eight so he may not be hampered by the outside draw in the Adios. The son of Rocknroll Hanover retained his sharp form finishing second despite being parked the final half without cover to Sweet Lou in last week’s elimination. Yannick Gingras has the driving assignment.

The Adios Day card also includes two divisions of the Adios Volo for three-year-old filly pacers, with Major Look, the outstanding Art Major filly with three 1:50 or better wins to her credit this year, favored in the first, race eight on the program.