07/29/2016 10:18AM

Meadows: Alagna, Burke hold the cards in 2016 Adios Final

Nikki Sherman
Racing Hill leads all sophomores in earnings this year at $636,702.

Nine of the best 3-year-old pacers in the sport will line up behind the gate on Saturday afternoon for the 50th Delvin Miller Adios Final at The Meadows. To say that the odds favor a victory by a Ron Burke or Tony Alagna trained horse would be an understatement.

Burke, far and away the leading trainer in the sport in terms of wins with 466 this year, will send out five hopefuls chasing the $400,000 purse. While there is strength in numbers, Alagna seems to have the advantage over Burke, as his pair is led by 8-5 morning line favorite Racing Hill.

With North America Cup winner Betting Line remaining in Canada and Meadowlands Pace champion Control The Moment sitting on the sidelines, Racing Hill has a prime opportunity to add the Adios trophy to his Max Hempt prize earned on July 2 at the Downs at Pocono. With $636,702 earned, the Alagna-trained colt sits atop the leaderboard for all sophomores regardless of gait.

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Racing Hill comes into the Adios final off a convincing 1:49 1/5 elimination victory over The Meadows’ five-eighths oval last Saturday. While the margin of victory was less than one length, driver Brett Miller appeared to be very confident while holding runner-up Check Six at bay on that day and the son of Blue Chip Farms’ Roll With Joe seems to be ready to roll this week as well.

“He’s had a great week so far,” Alagna said. “He came out of the race good and shipped home good. He was fresh on Sunday and I jogged him (Tuesday) morning and he was very good, so we’ll see what happens. We took the four post in the final. It’s very good.”

Alagna also sends out American Passport in the Adios from post six with Scott Zeron. Prone to mistakes and erratic behavior, the son of American Ideal was at it again in his elimination when he put in a few steps on the final turn. Fortunately, he was able to recover to finish fourth to make the final.

Despite sending out more than half of the field, Ron Burke has his work cut out for him if he is to win the featured race at his home track. Elimination winner Manhattan Beach would appear to provide him the best opportunity, though he did pace more than a second slower (1:50 2/5) in victory than Racing Hill last week. Manhattan Beach will start from post three with Matt Kakaley in the bike.

Check Six is another from the Burke handful with the ability to step up. While he couldn’t get to Racing Hill last week, he does own five wins in 10 starts this year and earnings just shy of $470,000. Yannick Gingras will drive the Somebeachsomewhere-sired colt from post six.

Burke also has starters from post one (More Dragon), post eight (Fernando Hanover) and post nine (Big Top Hanover).

“We’ve got enough shots,” Burke said with a laugh. “Racing Hill is tough. We’ve got to put him in a spot where he’s not on the inside just getting his own fractions. But he’s a very good horse and it’s going to be hard to do that probably.”

Rounding out the field for the Adios are Another Daily Copy (post two) and Lyons Snyder (post seven).

The Meadows will offer a 17-race program commencing at noon with the featured Adios slated as race 12.

The track will also offer a filly companion race, the $110,950 Adioo Volo, for 3-year-old pacers. Dismissal puts her seven-race winning streak on the line as she faces Open foes for the first time in her career. Brett Miller will drive the Michael Hall trainee from post six in the ninth race undercard topper.