03/08/2012 12:03PM

Meadowlands: Qualifiers feature 2011 stars


Although the official arrival is still nearly two weeks away, spring was in the air around the tri-state area. The thermometer flirted with a balmy 70 degrees and returning star performers from 2011 made their first timed trip of the season in morning qualifying action at the Meadowlands on Thursday.

Three-time millionaire and 2007 Breeders Crown winner Arch Madness led off the action in the first qualifier on the card. The Trond Smedshammer trained/driven gelding tucked early on, pulled nearing the three-quarter pole and finished willingly for second, losing by a half-length in 1:54 1/5.

Two of the best 3-year-old fillies from last year were on the track in preparation for their 4-year-old campaigns. See You At Peelers was qualifying for the second time in 2012 and certainly picked up her game. The Jimmy Takter trainee, who is prepping for the Blue Chip Matchmaker series at Yonkers Raceway, which begins on March 23, yielded early in the mile before rushing back to the front nearing the half. The daughter of Bettor's Delight finished more than five lengths ahead of Krispy Apple in 1:53 4/5.

Krispy Apple, who earned just under $550k last year, waited patiently in fourth and responded nicely when shown daylight in the stretch. Owner Jeffrey Bamond confirmed she is also pointing to the Matchmaker series.

Perhaps saving the best horse for last, the finale of eight qualifiers featured Pacer of the Year Foiled Again. Coming off a season where he banked almost $1.5 million, the career earner of $3,418,555 will attempt to set the all time earnings record for pacers which currently stands at $4,260,959 (Gallo Blue Chip). Foiled Again tucked fourth and waited for the stretch to edge to the rim. He finished up with good pace to be second (three lengths back) behind Clear Vision in 1:53.

After another qualifier or two, the 8-year-old will look to return to prominence in the Levy Memorial series at Yonkers (starts March 24). He won the 2009 and '10 editions before settling for third in 2011.

Other notables on the card were Cowboy Max (race 6) and Meirs Hanover (race 7). Cowboy Max, a 3-year-old son of Art Major, cruised along on the lead through fractions of :28, :56, 1:25 and 1:53 4/5 in the first timed mile of his career.

Meirs Hanover, a speedy Ron Burke trainee, posted the fastest morning mile. The 5-year-old displayed the speed which helped him post a career best 1:48 4/5 mile in 2011. He brushed to the lead at the half and won "under his own power in 1:51 4/5" according to chartcaller Ken Walters.