04/27/2013 3:12PM

Harness Racing: Sweet Lou among sharp pacing qualifiers at Meadowlands

Derick Giwner
Sweet Lou (6) and Mel Mara (5) could be two 4-year-olds to reckon with in the older pacing division this year.

Many of the best pacers in North America stepped on the track at the Meadowlands on Saturday morning (April 27) for qualifying action. The track was playing faster than it has in recent weeks and horses like Sweet Lou, Rockin Amadeus, Golden Receiver, Captaintreacherous, Somwherovrarainbow and Odds On Equuleus all posted strong performances.

Sweet Lou was the first of the bunch to show his stuff. Making his second morning appearance of the year, the 4-year-old Ron Burke trainee sat in the pocket behind fractions of 28 3/5, 57 4/5, 1:25 3/5 being set by Mel Mara before taking aim and exploding home in 25 4/5.

It was a sharp 1:51 3/5 mile and driver Yannick Gingras was elated with the effort.

“He was very, very good. He’s sound and happy,” said Gingras, who talked about this week’s qualifying strategy. “Last week I knew I was going to race him from off the gate so I kept him quieter. This week we wanted to go a bit more.”

With driving great horses comes tough decisions and Gingras will have one on his hands when Foiled Again, who he is listed to drive on Saturday night in the $450,000 Levy Final at Yonkers Raceway, takes on Sweet Lou as the stakes season progresses.

“Hopefully the decision will happen later rather than sooner and Ronnie (Burke) will keep them apart for a while,” said Gingras on the choice before logic reluctantly got the upper hand on emotion. “Foiled Again is getting up in age. If Sweet Lou is as good as he can be, I’m going to have to go with him down the road. He has a chance to be the best horse in the country. Thankfully they have similar ownership and I won’t lose the drive on Foiled.”

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With Sweet Lou holding Gingras’ hopes in the older pacing division, Rockin Amadeus is his top prospect in the 3-year-old class. The son of Rocknroll Hanover-Kikikatie continued his steady progression in his third straight qualifier of the year. After miles of 1:54 1/5 and 1:53 where he appeared to be on the right line in the stretch, Rockin Amadeus reeled off a 1:51 3/5 clocking on the engine and was a bit straighter this week.

“He’s a big strong horse and sometimes it takes a bit longer to get them into shape,” explained Gingras, who said trainer Jimmy Takter made some equipment changes to get the colt straighter.

Rockin Amadeus may have been the fastest 3-year-old on the 17-race qualifying card, but three other sophomores were clearly in the spotlight.

Odds On Equuleus and Captaintreacherous both received their first charted lines of the year and each did so in wire to wire fashion. The former put up fractions of 28 2/5, 57 3/5, 1:26 4/5 before tripping the timer in 1:52 4/5 while completely on his own and digging in nicely for a neck-long win. Captaintreacherous went similar fractions of 28 1/5, 57 and 1:25 3/5 before sprinting home to a slightly faster 1:52 mile.

On the filly side, Breeders Crown champion Somwherovrarainbow qualified for the third time this year but her first at the Meadowlands. The second-year filly out of the World Champion mare Rainbow Blue cruised along in 28 1/5, 57 and 1:26 while on the lead. She crossed the wire in 1:52 4/5 and was only kept to task in the lane by driver Montrell Teague.

The fastest equine of the session was Golden Receiver. The 8-year-old blazed his way around the track on the front before stopping the clock in 1:49 3/5. He finished 2 1/4 lengths ahead of Major Bombay and Hurrikane Kingcole.