07/08/2014 10:18PM

Meadowlands: Breaking down the $776K Pace field

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Derick Giwner reviews the trips each Meadowlands Pace finalist had in their elimination and assesses their chances in the $776,000 final.

1—National Debt

Saved ground along the cones and finished up the mile evenly. The son of Allamerican Native was coming into his elimination off three consecutive qualifiers and has improved time-wise in each outing. That said, we have yet to see him show the pure speed needed to win. Starting from post one he would seem to have an opportunity to hit the board at best.

2—JK Endofanera

He was looped away from the gate and settled in fourth early on in his elimination. The Ron Burke trainee brushed to the front from the three-eighths to the half and continued to set honest fractions. In the stretch he proved very game when he could have succumbed to multiple challengers. Installed as the 2-1 morning line favorite, JK Endofanera has won five of six starts this year and seems to be getting better with every start. Look for a quick early brush from him on the backstretch. He obviously is a major contender.

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3—He’s Watching

He left and settled in fifth from an outside post last week. The David Menary colt was able to pick up cover at the half and despite sitting just off that escort, charged home with a strong rally under a mild drive. With the exception of his first start of the year, this colt has raced hard each and every week while doing most of the dirty work. Not surprisingly, when he finally worked out a trip, he set a lifetime best of 1:48 1/5. Driver Tim Tetrick, who is going for his fourth Pace win in eight years, has some choices and could two-move to the front or follow the move of JK Endofanera. At post time he could be the favorite.

4—Tellitlikeitis

Left well and wound up yielding into the pocket. Jimmy Takter-trained colt sat a good trip and simply came up empty in the stretch while all out to hold on for fifth and make the final. This was his first bad effort in four starts this year. He clearly isn’t as physically strong as some of the others, but the speed is there. He is a clear exotics player with the ability to step up and win if he is feeling good and the trip is right.

5—Luck Be Withyou

Had the pocket in his elimination but was quickly sitting third. Driver Ron Pierce had to wait for the stretch and this colt finished up with steady yet unspectacular pace. We have seen five starts from this guy in 2014 and none have led you to believe he has any chance of stepping up on Saturday. He has good early speed and the ability to follow, which could land him a good check, possibly second or third if things go very well.

6—Lyonssomewhere

Fired off the gate but would soon yield to the heavily favored JK Endofanera. Lyonssomewhere had clearance to the inside around mid-stretch but seemed to flatten out a bit right before the wire. Unlike his stablemate Tellitlikeitis, this Takter colt seems to enjoy the rigors of racing a bit more. He has high early speed and the ability to stick around late. There is no doubt he can be a factor, but without a sub 1:50 mile to his credit, demand a big price.

7—Jet Airway

This Erv Miller-trained sophomore may have suffered the worst elimination trip of the 10 finalists. He was parked every step of the mile while eventually fourth-over and had to swing wide passing the three quarter call. Once straightened away in the stretch he gained ground willingly from an impossible spot. Son of Jereme’s Jet came into his elimination with consecutive wins versus lesser and could be ready to step up after a credible mile last week. At north of 20-1, he seems worth a chance if you believe. Personally, I won’t be using him on top.

8—Sometimes Said

Settled in fourth before commencing a menacing uncovered bid in his elimination. New driver Corey Callahan got him to clear the lead and he raced very gamely for second behind He’s Watching. This horse hasn’t had much racing luck this year and the outside post on Saturday will do him no favors. That said, you have to respect his elimination effort and the price should be right in the final.

9—Always B Miki

He worked out a nice second-over trip. Although the Joe Holloway student stalled a bit on the turn, he came on nicely through the lane to just miss despite racing somewhat greenly. At 4-1 on the morning line and coming off a good effort, he’ll certainly take plenty of action at the windows. He is a colt with obvious speed and ability. But he has clear issues as well. Could he be “right” for the final? Yes. Would I play him to win? No.

10—Doo Wop Hanover

Colt settled in early before mounting a first-over charge starting at the half. The Steve Elliott trainee applied good pressure and actually held rather well considering the trip. Son of 2005 Meadowlands Pace winner Rocknroll Hanover is versatile, but from post 10 he would need a miracle to win. For consideration mainly on the bottom of your trifecta and superfecta tickets.

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