07/11/2017 4:03PM

Meadowlands: Bowden with two chances in Pace Final

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Derick Giwner
Blood Line starts from post 1 in the Meadowlands Pace final.

Adam Bowden is never quite sure what to expect from Blood Line.

Last weekend, the colt finished second to award-winning Huntsville in the Crawford Farms Meadowlands Pace elimination, completing the mile in 1:49 1/5 with a 26 3/5 last quarter. In his previous start, Blood Line went off stride at odds of 2-1 in his elimination of the Hempt Memorial and failed to advance to the final.

Needless to say, Bowden is hoping for more of the former than the latter in Saturday’s $738,550 Meadowlands Pace final for 3-year-old pacers at the Meadowlands Racetrack in New Jersey. Blood Line, co-bred by Bowden’s Diamond Creek Farm and owned by Bowden’s Diamond Creek Racing, will start from post No. 1 with Mark MacDonald driving for trainer Jimmy Takter.

[DRF HARNESS LIVE: Watch Live Video and get real-time insights for Saturday's Meadowlands Pace card.]

Blood Line is 5-1 on the morning line, third choice behind even-money favorite Huntsville and 4-1 Downbytheseaside.

“If he puts it all together, you get a mile like the other night,” Bowden said about Blood Line. “If not, then you get a horse that makes a break in an elimination that he’s got a chance to win. He’s frustrating in that sense, but he’s clearly got high speed and if he’s in the right spot he’s going to challenge (Saturday).

“He’s kind of shown the ability to go with the top horses. I’m not sure he’s in the same league as Huntsville, Fear The Dragon and Downbytheseaside, but I think that next group of horses is wide open and on any given day he’s as good as they are. I was happy with the way Mark raced him in the elimination and put him in a good spot and kind of followed Huntsville all along. He gave himself a chance and then drew well for the final. I think we’re in a good spot.”

The Meadowlands Pace is part of a stakes-packed card at the Meadowlands on Saturday, with an earlier-than-usual 6:30 p.m. post time for the first race. The Meadowlands Pace will air live on cable’s SNY from 9-10 p.m., with the Hambletonian Maturity for 4-year-old trotters also part of the broadcast.

Blood Line is a son of stallion Somebeachsomewhere out of the lightly-raced mare Blood Diamond. He is a full brother to Blood Brother, who has earned $613,613 in four seasons of racing, and his second dam is Hall of Fame broodmare Arterra, the mother of millionaires If I Can Dream and Western Terror. Third dam Delinquent Account was a Dan Patch and O’Brien award winner and the mother of similarly awarded Artiscape.

“(Blood Diamond) got injured before she could really show anything, but she comes from one of those top-class families and the intention always was to keep everything out of her,” Bowden said. “She’s bound to produce a great one based on her pedigree and the way these horses look. Whether it’s Blood Line or the next one or the next one, she’s going to do it.

“She’s produced two talented horses. I don’t know where the limit is for this horse, but I guess we’ll find out Saturday and the rest of the year.”

Blood Line has won three of 17 career races and earned $165,119. Last year he won divisions of the Bluegrass Stakes and Pennsylvania Sire Stakes. So far this season he posted one win on the sire stakes circuit. MacDonald has driven the horse four times, posting a win among three in-the-money finishes and never being worse than fourth.

“Mark seems to be the perfect fit for him, for whatever reason,” Bowden said. “His skill set and the horse just seem to mesh well together and they’ve raced well together. Finger’s crossed. I can’t imagine that he’s not going to drive him aggressively and get him in a good position. If the horse is talented enough he’ll be there.”

Takter has sent seven horses to the Meadowlands Pace final, with his best finish coming in 2009 with runner-up Vintage Master.

Blood Brother is not Bowden’s only hope to win the Meadowlands Pace. Diamond Creek Racing is among the owners of Downbytheseaside. The remaining owners of the Brian Brown-trained colt are Country Club Acres, Joe Sbrocco and Richard Lombardo.

Downbytheseaside was among three horses, with Classic Pro and Miso Fast, to receive byes to the Meadowlands Pace final. For the year, the colt has won five of seven races and earned $323,500. He won the Art Rooney Pace and was third in the North America Cup, behind Fear The Dragon and Huntsville, and fifth in the Hempt Memorial.

“The Hempt final was a little bit of a disappointment but Brian said he scoped sick, so that sort of explains that,” Bowden said about Downbytheseaside, who has won 13 of 20 career races and finished worse than third only once while earning $900,606.

“It’s kind of nice that he got a bye and I think he’s coming into this race as good as he’s been all year. I would expect he would be right there at the end. I’d be disappointed if he wasn’t.”

Huntsville, trained by Ray Schnittker and driven by Tim Tetrick, has won four of six races this year and 11 of 17 lifetime. He has never finished worse than second and counts the 2016 Breeders Crown at the Meadowlands among his career victories. He was second in the North America Cup.

Schnittker won the 2010 Meadowlands Pace with One More Laugh. Tetrick has won four Paces, tied with Ron Pierce for the second most in history. John Campbell holds the record with seven trophies.

-Courtesy of Harness Racing Communications, a division of the U.S. Trotting Association. For more information, please visit www.ustrotting.com