McWicked Blazes Through The Cold

Published: November 18, 2018 12:27 am EST

The current leader in the race for Horse of the Year, McWicked lived up to his name in a big way Saturday, Nov. 17 at the Meadowlands, scorching the mile oval in 1:47.3 in taking the $20,000 Preferred Handicap for pacers.

“I wasn’t expecting that,” said trainer Casie Coleman of the blazing-fast effort in cold 42-degree conditions. “I was kind of worried about a slow half, but they went (the half in) :53.4. He looked like he did it pretty easy.”

McWicked was in no hurry early, racing fifth and last as he swung to the outside at the half-mile marker. He ground his way toward the leaders through the backside and was just a length behind the horse in the top spot, Dealt A Winner, at three-quarters in 1:20.4.

From there McWicked put on a show, sprinting the final quarter in :26.3 to hit the wire two-and-a-quarter lengths in front of 7-2 second choice Filibuster Hanover. Western Fame was third.

As the 1-5 favourite, McWicked, who was driven by Brian Sears, paid $2.40 to win in scoring for the 33rd time in 92 lifetime starts. He lifted his bank account to a gaudy $3.725 million.

“He always gives everything he’s got,” said Coleman. “Tonight, he looked as strong as he’s been in any of his races this year. That mile tonight was crazy.”

Coleman confirmed the good news that had previously been shared several weeks ago. “The TVG will be his last race of the year,” said the conditioner. “But he is 100 percent coming back next year. We’ve had a lot of offers to go to stud, but his owner, Ed James, is loving this and he said McWicked is racing next year.”

Next Saturday’s huge Meadowlands program includes eight stakes events: The Fall Final Four has two pairs of $400,000 events for two-year-olds – the Three Diamonds, Goldsmith Maid, Valley Victory and Governor’s Cup – while the TVGs for three-year-olds and up have a pair of $350,000 events (the Free For All Pace and Trot) as well as two $175,000 races (the Free For All Mare Pace and Trot).

In stakes action, Trix And Stones (1:55.1, $14.20 to win) and Chin Chin Hall (1:54.4, $22.20) were victorious in the two Valley Victory elims for colt and gelding trotters, while the single Governor’s Cup elim for pacing colts and geldings went to Mangogh (1:51.3, $16.40).

Owned by trainer Carl Jamieson along with partners Joanne Morrison and Dr. Robert Boyce, Trixton colt Trix And Stones won the first Valley Victory elim going wire to wire with Scott Zeron in the bike. Pocket-rider Southwind Avenger took second ahead of favourite Hudson River third. Quiksilvr Bluechip and Divine Spirit also advance to the final.

Chin Chin Hall brushed to the lead past the quarter and held off the first-over challenge of favourite Seven Hills to take the second Valley Victory elimination. Owned by Gene Oldford Farms LLC and David Mc Duffee, Peter Wrenn drove the Cash Hall gelding for trainer Melanie Wrenn. Forbidden Trade, Reign Of Honor and No Drama Please also progress to the final.

In the Governor's Cup elimination, Mangogh pressed favourite Captain Crunch from first over and had the first nose on the wire with only two lengths separating the top eight finishers. Corey Callahan drove the Bruce Saunders trainee for owners M And L Of Delaware LLC and M & M Harness Racing LLC. Also advancing to the final are Escapetothebeach, Macs Power, Reigning Deo, Captain Crunch, Waterway and Yacht Week.

A LITTLE MORE: All Bets Off showed his class in a high-end conditioned event, stopping the clock in 1:48.4 as the 3-5 favourite.

Geez Joe (2-1 favourite), racing in a non-winners of $8,500 pace, lowered his previous lifetime best by two full seconds, stopping the clock in 1:48.1.

All-source wagering on the 13-race card totaled $2,449,013.

Racing resumes Friday, Nov. 23 at 7:15 p.m.

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