06/25/2016 9:30PM

Pocono: Stage set for Franklin final with two world records

Curtis Salonick
Always B Miki tied Sweet Lou's world record of 1:47 after a scintillating effort in his Franklin elimination

The appetizer may be better than the main course of the Ben Franklin at The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono after Always B Miki and Mel Mara put on a display in one of three eliminations, with Always B Miki scorching the oval in a career-best and world record-equalling 1:47 clocking.

With only the top three horses guaranteed a spot in the final, the stakes were high, and apparently supplemental entry Mel Mara and prohibitive favorite Always B Miki recognized the moment and put on a vicious duel that proved the mettle of one in the end.

With longshots All Bets Off and Rockin Ron exchanging the lead through a 26 second first quarter, driver Corey Callahan hit the accelerator behind Mel Mara before the quarter and brushed intensely to the front. Always B Miki and driver David Miller had taken a five-hole tuck in the early stages, but Miller used his horse's extreme turn of speed in the homestretch the first time and looked to be securing the front before the second turn.  Callahan wouldn't yield the front with Mel Mara, though, and the two sped through a half in 53 seconds and a three-quarters in 1:19 4/5 with Always B Miki parked but pressing.

In the homestretch Always B Miki drew away from his rival and kicked home in 27 1/5 to win easily. All Bets Off rallied for the place spot with Mel Mara holding off Melmerby Beach and earning a qualifying berth in the $500,000 July 2 final.

The time equalled the world record set by Sweet Lou at Pocono in 2014.

Defending Horse of the Year Wiggle It Jiggleit had a much easier time of it in his $30,000 elimination, making two moves to gain the front and rolling to a 1:48 1/5 victory while appearing well in hand. Montrell Teague guided the 4-year-old through fractions of 25 4/5, 54 and 1:21 1/5 before posting a 27 second final quarter. State Treasurer made two moves as well to get a two-hole and finished second with Always At My Place and Shamballa finishing in a dead heat for third.

Capping three incredible elimination divisions and giving Indiana-sired horses a sweep was Freaky Feet Pete, with Trace Tetrick making a quarter move off the 26 1/5 opening quarter, and then marching down the road with scintillating fractions of 53 and 1:20 on his way to a sparkling 1:47 1/5 clocking, a career-best and new world record for a 4-year-old colt pacer on a five-eighths mile track.

Rock N Roll World came through along the inside for the place spot with Sunfire Blue Chip surviving a brutal first-over journey and finishing third to advance to the final.

Trained by Larry Rheinheimer, Freaky Feet Pete won for the 29th time in 33 career starts, taking more than a full second off his previous lifetime mark.