05/14/2016 11:54PM

Meadowlands: Always B Miki fights off Mel Mara in stretch slugfest

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Always B Miki re-rallied past Mel Mara to win in 1:48 4/5 at the Meadowlands

Heavy pressure from Mel Mara could not faze 2015 Breeders Crown champion Always B Miki ($2.40), as he fought back from being headed in mid-stretch to take Saturday (May 14) evening's $25,000 Open Handicap Pace at the Meadowlands for a second consecutive win.

The 5-year-old son of Always A Virgin made his push to the lead just after fellow Jimmy Takter trainee JK Endofanera (Yannick Gingras) worked clear of McWicked (Scott Zeron) in a 27 2/5 initial quarter. Upon taking command on the backstretch, Hall of Fame driver David Miller managed to slow the pace down enough to give Always B Miki a brief breather on the far turn before Mel Mara (Corey Callahan) mounted a first-over bid out of fifth.

Despite Mel Mara's sustained press into the lead at the eighth pole, Always B Miki would not be denied, using a 26 second last quarter to repel Mel Mara for a neck victory in 1:48 4/5. Mel Mara was a game second, while JK Endofanera labored from the pocket yet still held third.

Always B Miki, now a 20-time winner, is owned by the Bluewood Stable, the Roll the Dice Stable, and Christina Takter.

--press release (Meadowlands)--