07/30/2015 9:36PM

Meadows: Callahan hoping ‘Dude’ can be the ‘Man’ in Adios

New Image Media
Dude's The Man is the 5-2 morning line favorite in the Adios Final.

For much of his career Dude’s The Man has been a follower rather than a leader. The 3-year-old by American Ideal has only won four times in 19 career starts heading into Saturday afternoon’s $400,000 Delvin Miller Adios at The Meadows. That said, the Jessica Okusko-trained colt couldn’t be in a better spot to finally become “The Man” facing eight others as the probable favorite.

Corey Callahan finds himself in a perfect spot with post two and the driver appears to know what’s in store. “I’ll have to get him away in decent shape,” said Callahan, referring to the start of the race with Dude’s The Man.

After a huge closing effort to finish third in his preliminary division, Callahan knows what he’s sitting behind but he was somewhat concerned last week.

[THE MEADOWS: Watch the entire Adios Day card LIVE on DRF.]

“They told me that he was jumping shadows in the warm-ups,” said Callahan. “So I really wanted to be careful with him in the race.”

That meant that Dude’s The Man trailed for much of the way in his elimination, but came charging like a freight train to miss just a neck in the 1:49 4/5 division won by Cooperstown.

Callahan suggested the Okusko team was going to work on Dude’s The Man’s equipment during the week and he was confident that changes would solve the problem.

They had better considering the afternoon card at The Meadows is likely to produce even more shadows than last Saturday’s evening program.

For Dude’s The Man it has been a very good year thus far, though racing luck has not always been kind to him. He finished a solid second behind Wiggle It Jiggleit in the Meadowlands Pace following up to a solid performance in the eliminations for the event.

“He raced well in the North America Cup,” said Callahan, “But we had post eight and didn’t make the final.”

Though a majority of Dude’s The Man’s races have seen him come from off the pace, Callahan doesn’t believe he’s a horse that couldn’t move to the front. “I would have no issues moving him early,” said Callahan. “He’s got a great attitude and always gives his best.”

The nine-horse field for the Adios, race 12 of 17 on Saturday, will have three from the Ron Burke stable of which Yannick Gingras has chosen My Hero Ron from post seven. That improving son of Well Said was a dominant front-end victor in an Adios elimination a week ago. Though untested in Grand Circuit class events, My Hero Ron has displayed the speed needed to compete.

National Seelster, a very close relative to Dude’s The Man in his maternal line, also captured an elimination last week but he’s going to have an uphill battle having drawn post nine for the final. “I don’t think (Tim) Tetrick is going to take back,” said Callahan, predicting National Seelster will have to leave. “There should be a fast pace.”

That’s probably what Callahan would love to see for Dude’s The Man, a fast pace to close into with a horse that doesn’t mind going without cover at all. “He came first up in the Meadowlands Pace eliminations and finished in 25 2/5,” said Callahan.

Callahan wasn’t as fortunate with the draw in two $62,500 divisions of the Adioo Volo, the filly companion of the Adios. He’ll drive both Better Be Steppin (post 8) in the sixth race division and Divine Caroline (post 8) in the ninth race division.

“I was a little disappointed in Better Be Steppin in the Mistletoe Shalee finale,” said Callahan.

As for Divine Caroline, the second-place finisher in the Shalee, “She’s better racing from off the pace, but I’m going to have to get her into the race,” Callahan said.

The stakes-filled program at The Meadows on Saturday afternoon also features three divisions of the Arden Downs for 2-year-old pacing colts and geldings. The driver is eagerly awaiting race 13 where he’ll once again sit behind Ideal Rocky, the recent New Jersey Sire Stakes final winner.

“I’m looking forward to driving Ideal Rocky,” said Callahan. “He just seems to have bottomless speed.”

John Butenschoen trains Ideal Rocky, a 1:53 1/5 winner in the NJSS at The Meadowlands. The Rocknroll Hanover-sired colt landed the pole position in search of his third win in his fourth lifetime start.

First post on Saturday afternoon is 12:20 p.m.

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