04/24/2016 12:28AM

Meadowlands: Rockeyed Optimist holds off a charging Always B Miki

Lisa Photo
Rockeyed Optimist got the jump on Always B Miki and held him off by half a length in the open handicap pace at the Meadowlands

Rockeyed Optimist worked out an ideal close-to-the-action trip, wore down the leader in deep stretch, and held on despite the explosive late charge of Always B Miki to take the $25,000 open handicap pace at the Meadowlands Saturday night. McArdles Lightning was third.

Driver Tim Tetrick hustled the 5-year-old gelded son of Rocknroll Hanover into the three-hole early behind McArdles Lightning and Atta Boy Dan. After an opening quarter of 27 2/5, Rockeyed Optimist, the 6-5 second choice, moved to the outside and began to grind away at the leader’s advantage at the half in 55 2/5.

By the time the stellar field reached three-quarters, Rockeyed Optimist was up to the wheel of McArdles Lightning, while 4-5 favorite Always B Miki, who had raced in a fourth-over flow in his first start of 2016, was dead last in the field of seven.

Rockeyed Optimist continued to inch his way closer to the top and finally got past the pace-setter with a sixteenth of a mile to go.  Up on the far outside came the airborne Always B Miki, who won all four of his starts a year ago in sub-1:50.  Always B Miki paced a sensational final quarter of  25 4/5, but came up half a length short to Rockeyed Optimist.

The winner returned $4.40 to his backers, scoring for the sixth time in eight starts this year, and went the mile in 1:50 for trainer Steve Elliott and owners Perretti, Berkner, A&B Stable and Battaglia.

--press release (Meadowlands)--