10/04/2012 10:38AM

Harness racing: Don’t count out Sweet Lou in Tattersalls Pace at Red Mile

Derick Giwner
Sweet Lou is a contender in Saturday’s $510,300 Tattersalls Pace at the Red Mile.

“I think he’s going to race his best race of the year.”

That’s what driver Dave Palone had to say about his horse, Sweet Lou, a contender in Saturday’s $510,300 Tattersalls Pace at the Red Mile. There have been many along the road this year that have gone sour on Sweet Lou, but don’t count Palone among them. He was emboldened by a solid effort in last week’s Bluegrass and now believes it is time for the son of Yankee Cruiser to show up.

“Last year when he came down here, he was really good,” Palone said in reference to the breakout miles Sweet Lou showed in Kentucky.

Whether it is the cooler weather or the clay-based surface, Palone is unsure, but he knows Sweet Lou is ready to shine.

The Tattersalls drew 12 horses, and it will actually favor Sweet Lou to some degree, considering he drew post 5 while North America Cup winner Thinking Out Loud (post 11) and Meadowlands Pace champ A Rocknroll Dance (post 12) both landed in the second tier of the bulky field.

“I think we should be able to get a good trip,” Palone said.

“Ronnie [Burke] has done an outstanding job with him. Sometimes people think because the way Sweet Lou goes that he’s not sound. That’s not the case. He’s had to battle some allergies this year, but I think he’s held up pretty well,” Palone said.

There’s no question the demands of 3-year-old stakes racing are intense. Following two heats in the Jug in Delaware, Ohio, Sweet Lou was raced from off the pace in the Bluegrass, and while he didn’t win, the effort was encouraging.

“Coming off the two heats, I thought he raced well,” Palone said. “Drawing the two hole in the second heat is poison.”

That of course was in reference to the second heat of the Jug, where Sweet Lou lost the battle for the rail with eventual winner Michaels Power and had to settle for the dreaded pocket trip.

“It’s much more of a fair surface at the Red Mile,” Palone said.

This might account for his renewed optimism in the horse. The Red Mile, unlike many smaller tracks in North America, tends to offer closers more of a realistic chance to win. Quite often pacesetters appear to give way in the stretch, despite reasonable fractions.

The Tattersalls is race nine on the 11-race Saturday afternoon program that commences at 1 p.m. Eastern.

Sweet Lou will be looking for his eighth win of the season while making just his 15th start.  Adios winner Bolt The Duer will be looking to rebound from a disappointing effort in last week’s Bluegrass. The Kentucky Sire Stakes champion landed post 3 for driver Mark MacDonald.

Bettors Edge landed the pole position. Third in the final of the Jug and last week second in a division of the Bluegrass, this gelded son of Bettors Delight appears to be in career-peak form.

Mel Mara came to life in a big way in last week’s Bluegrass with a career-best 1:49 4/5 mile coming from off the pace for trainer Tony Alagna. Tim Tetrick guided the colt to just his third win of the season. Mel Mara landed post 10 on the extreme outside of the first tier.