08/06/2016 4:51PM

Meadowlands: Shamballa stars in United States Pacing Championship

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Nikki Sherman/DRF Harness
Shamballa coverted a perfect trip into a US Pacing Championship triumph

The front end is no place to be, and 1-2 favorite Always B Miki found that out the hard way in Saturday's $225,550 U.S. Pacing Championship. The pacemaker took on pressure and faded in the stretch, paving the way for 8-1 shot Shamballa to capture the event in a career-best 1:47 1/5 mile.

Though there were only seven horses in the field, there was no shortage of early activity as defending Horse of the Year Wiggle It Jiggleit was the first to show with a swift overtaking of the field as the gate sprinted away. Driver Montrell Teague didn't seem that interested in releasing Always B Miki and extended him past the 27 2/5 opening quarter. Driver Dave Miller, behind Always B Miki, did his best to keep things sensible, but his horse was in high gear through a 53 3/5 first half.

Freaky Feet Pete and driver Trace Tetrick took up the chase moving to the half, and they quickly moved towards the favorite to go head-to-head. Wiggle It Jiggleit remained pocketed, with Shamballa and Scott Zeron lining up behind live cover second-over.

In the homstretch, after a 1:20 3/5 three-quarter clocking, it became clear that Always B Miki would not be able to fight off all of his rivals.  Shamballa rolled up swiftly on the outside with full momentum while Wiggle It Jiggleit sought room that he received by midstretch. At that point it was a full out sprint, with Shamballa unrelenting and Wiggle It Jiggleit settling for second. Dealt A Winner, off the pace throughout, rolled past the favorite on the wire to explode the dreams of some show players.

"I was thinking I couldn't be in a better spot right now.  I just hope this horse isn't sick today," said Scott Zeron following the contest.

Scott's dad Rick trains Shamballa. Shamballa was a winner for the third time this year in nine starts. A 6-year-old son of Somebeachsomewhere, Shamballa is owned by Rick Zeron Stable, Tao Racing, Howard Taylor and Cool Cat Racing.