09/23/2016 4:00PM

Hoosier: Always B Miki ready to roll in Pacing Derby

Conrad Photo
Always B Miki returns to action after his epic 1:47 winning performance.

Always B Miki regained winning and world record form in capturing the James Ewart Memorial at Scioto Downs on September 10 and he’ll return to action on Saturday night in the $170,000 Hoosier Park Pacing Derby. When last at Hoosier, the 5-year-old finished second to Wiggle It Jiggleit in the Dan Patch, but he’ll face just five others on Saturday with the defending Horse of the Year not in the line-up.

“I was very happy with the way he came out of that race,” said trainer Jimmy Takter on Wednesday. “He trained super and I’m really happy with him now.”

Always B Miki returns to Indiana with his regular pilot David Miller back in the bike after a one-race hiatus. The $2.1 million-winning son of Always A Virgin drew the rail in the field but he won’t be alone, with his five rivals also including Shamballa, a horse that beat him in the U.S. Pacing Championship on August 6 at The Meadowlands.

There’s always the suspicion that a horse can bounce, especially off the type of mile Always B Miki went in the Ewart, parked a good portion of the scorching 1:47 mile. But that’s not likely going to push too many handicappers off his back on Saturday.

At the same time, local favorite Freaky Feet Pete will look to regain his form in the Pacing Derby. Now a winner in 30 of his 40 career starts, Freaky Feet Pete drew post three with Trace Tetrick again in the sulky. Fourth and beaten just a bit over four lengths in the Ewart after an impossible journey, Freaky Feet Pete would appear to be in position to control the action should his driver elect to look towards the front.

The aforementioned Shamballa landed post five with Corey Callahan listed to drive. When last in Indiana for the Dan Patch, Shamballa didn’t show the kind of closing kick he exhibited at The Meadowlands in August. Nevertheless he’s bounced back effectively since then judging from a stirring 1:48 2/5 mile in a Preferred Handicap at Mohawk last Saturday. Rick Zeron trains the veteran son of Somebeachsomewhere.

Trainer Ron Burke is never far away when it comes to the aged pacing ranks and he’s put two of the six into the Saturday field. Always At My Place is another with Indiana roots and he drew post two with Ricky Macomber Jr. listed to drive. A solid performer over the half-miler at Yonkers this year, Always At My Place ships in off a sizzling 1:50 2/5 mile at the Hilltop oval this past Saturday night.

The rugged All Bets Off landed post six on the outside of the field but he’s truly never out of contention. A 5-year-old by Blue Chip Farms stallion Bettors Delight, All Bets Off was hard-used in the early stages of the 1:47 Ewart mile and lacked his usual closing kick on that occasion. Yannick Gingras is scheduled to guide him on Saturday night.

While Takter doesn’t want to get ahead of himself or for that matter Always B Miki, he suggested that the horse could meet up with Wiggle It Jiggleit soon, perhaps in the Dayton Pacing Derby on September 30.

Before setting multiple world records this year over the five-eighths mile track, trainer Jimmy Takter had indicated to many that he felt Always B Miki had the potential to break the overall world race record of 1:46 4/5.

“I want him to win races,” said Takter when asked about the record. “But you never know if the conditions are right the second week at the Red Mile. We’ll see.”

Takter’s 2-year-old pacers will see action on Saturday night as well at Hoosier with beaten Metro Pace favorite Ocean Colony landing the pole position in the $140,000 Elevation, race nine on the program.

Shes A Great Lady winner Idyllic Beach didn’t have the same luck of the draw for the Kentuckiana Stallion Management stakes, a $246,000 event carded as race eight. The brilliant daughter of Somebeachsomewhere drew post nine but is nonetheless likely to be a heavy favorite in the event.

Two other major stakes events add to the rich card, with the $220,000 Centaur Trotting Classic featuring Hannelore Hanover going as race 12 and the Jennas Beach Boy, a $100,000 sophomore pace, carded as race 10.

Hoosier Park’s 14-race program commences at 5:45 p.m.

[HOOSIER: Great stakes action at Hoosier Park on Saturday. Check out Matt Rose's video analysis!]