05/26/2017 10:05PM

Yonkers: Stealth Bomber goes for the upset in $300,000 Art Rooney Final


When driver Brett Miller decided to show up at Yonkers Raceway last week for one horse in the Art Rooney elimination that was beaten by over 11 lengths in his previous start, it seemed a bit odd. After watching Stealth Bomber make three moves and finish just 1-1/2 lengths behind in third, everything began to make more sense.

“As much as the charted line doesn’t look good, after his race at The Meadows I was so disappointed in myself for not driving him more aggressively. I wound up trapped when I could have gone first-up versus Huntsville. I’m not saying I would have beaten him, but I could have given him a run for the money,” said Miller on his drive in a Pennsylvania Sire Stakes race on May 6 with Stealth Bomber. “That was kind of why I drove him so aggressively last week at Yonkers.”

Aggressive may have been an understatement. Stealth Bomber was hustled off the gate from post six into the pocket before quickly rushing to the front by the quarter. He would have the lead only briefly as Funknwaffles and Downbytheseaside both made quick moves of their own to take command. Sitting third on the backstretch the final time, Miller pulled again, gaining into the pocket behind Downbytheseaside before weakening slightly late to be third.

Miller may not have realized the ability of the Tony O’Sullivan-trained Stealth Bomber prior to his start at The Meadows, but he has every right to be a top horse via his bloodlines. As a full brother to 2010 Horse of the Year Rock N Roll Heaven and half-brother to double millionaire Clear Vision, the son of Artistic Vision should have what it takes to compete against the best in the sport.

According to Miller, perhaps the number one fan of Clear Vision, Stealth Bomber feels “just like” the 11-year-old war horse, who he’ll drive on Friday in the $150,000 Molson Pace at Western Fair.

Few would argue that Downbytheseaside is the horse to beat in the $300,000 Art Rooney Final for 3-year-olds on Saturday night. The sometimes headstrong colt was able to overcome a second-tier starting post in his elimination and is widely considered one of the top two or three sophomore colts in North America. Starting from post three with regular driver David Miller in the bike, Downbytheseaside, despite showing some signs of running in during his elimination, will be 3-5 or lower at post time.

While “Seaside” came away from the post position draw in good order, that good fortune didn’t shine on Stealth Bomber and owner Frank Bellino. Coming off his brutal trip from the elimination, Miller will now need to navigate a favorable trip from post eight.

“That’s going to make it so hard now,” said Miller on the bad post. “I’ll just have to play it off the gate. But that doesn’t take away from how good this colt is.”

The Rooney, race eight on the 12-race program, is the first major test for 3-year-old pacers on the stakes calendar. It is joined on the Yonkers card by the $140,760 Lismore companion event for second-year filly pacers.

The Lismore is led by elimination winners Agent Q and Big City Betty. Both horses went wire-to-wire last week posting 1:55 1/5 and 1:55 2/5 victories, respectively. Agent Q starts from post four with David Miller in the bike while Big City Betty is one spot to her outside with Jim Marohn, Jr.