07/19/2012 8:49AM

The Meadows: Sweet Lou among those looking to qualify for Adios final


For most of the 18 sophomore pacers vying on Saturday for a spot in the $600,000 Delvin Miller Adios final at The Meadows, to be held on July 28, redemption is the “now” word.

With the exception of Meadowlands Pace and Max Hempt winner A Rocknroll Dance, each has something to prove if he wants to remain in the public eye as an elite 3-year-old pacer.

Perhaps the top name on the list is Sweet Lou. Following failures in both the $1.5 million North America Cup and the $600,000 Meadowlands Pace, he was installed as the 5-2 morning line favorite from post four in the first of two 9-horse eliminations.

Of course with each loss comes excuses and Sweet Lou certainly has some legitimate ones. He posted a Canadian record in his NA Cup elimination and is hard to fault him for coming up short despite pacing a 1:48 mile in the final. In the Meadowlands Pace, the outer flow never developed and the much-heralded colt could only pick up some pieces in the stretch.

One factor in Sweet Lou’s favor this Saturday could be home cooking. After travelling to Canada and New Jersey, he finally returns to trainer Ron Burke and driver Dave Palone’s home track. Both driver and trainer are based out of the Meadows.

Sweet Lou, who drew into the tougher split of the Adios, is running out of time to prove himself as the top second-year pacer in the country. He will have to step up against A Rocknroll Dance, Hurrikane Kingcole and Thinking Out Loud.

A Rocknroll Dance has been earmarked as the 7-2 second choice but probably deserves favoritism after practically wiring the field last week in the Pace. While at first glance the outside draw could be considered a detriment, The Meadows has a slanted starting gate that favors outside speed, a quality that regular driver Yannick Gingras often calls upon from A Rocknroll Dance.

The fastest horse of 2012 regardless of age starts from post 7 as the 9-2 third choice. Hurrikane Kingcole failed to make the Pace final but blitzed a short field in 1:47 3/5 to capture the $100,000 consolation. The freaky-fast son of Cam’s Card Shark has danced all the big dances but has yet to produce his quick speed when it mattered most.

Thinking Out Loud (10-1, post 9) already has a major title to his credit in the NA Cup. But memories run short in the racing world and after leaving in the Pace he failed to make an uncovered bid and faded to sixth in the stretch. A strong showing in the Adios could secure his place at the top of the division.

Rounding out the field for the first $50,000 elimination is Escape The News (post 1), EZ Noah (2), Special Forces (3), Bakin On The Beach (5), and One Through Ten (6).

Perhaps no horse has more to prove than Bolt The Duer (7-2) in the second elimination. He failed as the favorite in the Art Rooney at Yonkers Raceway, came up second best in the Hempt, and was dead last in the Pace final after driver Mark MacDonald elected to change tactics and come from off the pace.

MacDonald, who has stated his disappointment in his drive, was thrilled to draw post 2 in his Adios elimination and you can be sure this colt will be forwardly placed.

His main competition on Saturday figures to come from a Pace overachiever and a no-show.

Allstar Legend, who gunned off the gate at 100-1 in the Pace and held for third, is listed as the 5-2 early choice to beat Bolt The Duer. From post 4, the George Teague Jr. trainee figures to be on the move early once again.

Dapper Dude skipped the Pace because he scoped sick following a qualifying prep for the Meadowlands Pace. Any signs of illness were quickly put in the rear view mirror as the colt posted a strong 1:50 1/5 win against older foes on July 14 at Mohawk.

Dapper Dude will start from post 8 as the 9-2 third choice on the line. He will reunite with elimination winning driver John Campbell on Adios elimination night.

The remainder of the second elimination field includes: Star Recruit (post 2), McAttaboy (3), Breakin The Law (5), Ezpass Hanover (6), Hillbilly Hanover (7), Bettors Edge (9).

The two Adios splits are slated as races 4 and 6 on a 16-race program at The Meadows. The card also features eight divisions of the Pennsylvania Sire Stakes for 2-year-old colt and gelding pacers and 3-year-old fillies.

Post time for The Meadows on Saturday is 6:55 p.m., while next week’s Adios final program has a scheduled first post of 12:20 p.m.