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Calling Freshman Award Winners...

Published: April 29, 2015 8:35 am ET

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It's as though the secret bat signal for last year's Dan Patch Award winning two-year-olds has appeared in the sky, beckoning Artspeak, JK Shesalady, Mission Brief and Pinkman to the Meadowlands for Friday, May 1.

Following a star-studded session of qualifiers last Saturday at the Big M, this Friday's session features another group guaranteed to garner a ton of attention.

While he's not listed among the entries on Friday morning, divisional champion Artspeak is (as of this writing) slated to be on the track at the Meadowlands. Trainer Tony Alagna stated after last week's qualifiers that Artspeak (Western Ideal - The Art Museum) would return for a training mile after making a break in his 2015 debut. Alagna confirmed to Trot Insider that the training mile would take place on Friday.

"I’m going to take his hobbles back in a little bit more because they’re still two inches longer than they were last year," Alagna said last Saturday. " We’ll train him next week and make sure he’s OK before we put him back in to qualify. That’s why we gave ourselves some extra time, just to make sure, because he’s done it before. It’s frustrating, but if training horses was easy everybody would do it. We’ll fix it and he’ll be as good as ever.”

2014's Horse of the Year in both Canada and the U.S., JK Shealady (Art Major - Presidential Lady) will enter her first qualifier of the year on Friday. She was 12-for-12 as a rookie for trainer Nancy Johansson and owners 3 Brothers Stable of New York, N.Y. She will head to the gate in the 14th qualifier (PP6, Tim Tetrick) against a group of familiar foes, including co-world record holder Sassa Hanover (PP3, Yannick Gingras).

In the morning's fourth qualifier, all eyes will be on trotting titan Mission Brief (PP2, Gingras). The three-time world record setting trotting filly from last season will be pointed toward an appearance against the boys in the 2015 Hambletonian, and she'll also be making her seasonal debut for trainer Ron Burke and owners Burke Racing Stable LLC, Our Horse Cents Stables, J And T Silva Stables LLC and Weaver Bruscemi LLC. Mission Brief (Muscle Hill - Southwind Serena) won nine of 13 races last season, and one of those races she didn't win -- the Goldsmith Maid Final -- was won by Smexi, who lines up to her outside in Post 6.

Pinkman, the Dan Patch Award-winning two-year-old colt trotter whose connections surely have Hambletonian aspirations, will return to The Meadowlands after a 1:55.1 qualifying win last Saturday. In eight starts last year, Pinkman (Explosive Matter - Margie Seelster) assembled a record of 6-1-0 and never missed a cheque. He's in the qualifier before Mission Brief.

“Pinkman is so lazy,” trainer Jimmy Takter said after last week's session. “He does what you ask of him. It’s not impressive at all, but that’s him. And he wins. He might be one of those horses we always underestimate.”

Pinkman (PP6, Gingras) will face off against stablemate French Laundry (PP7, Brett Miller), who qualified faster than Pinkman (individually timed in 1:54.2) while finishing second to Crazy Wow.

A number of the stars from last week's qualifiers will return Friday, including older trotters Market Share and Father Patrick (Qualifier 8) and 2014 North America Cup winner JK Endofanera (Qualifier 15). Also on the card will be a number of three-year-old pacing colts eligible to this year's North America Cup.

In the ninth's qualifier of the morning, two of the top-rated colts in the 2015 Pepsi North America Cup Spring Book will debut: In The Arsenal (6-1 Spring Book odds; PP7, Brian Sears) will line up beside Lyons Levi Lewis (20-1, PP6, Gingras). Rockntouch (65-1, PP1, B. Miller), Asap Hanover (38-1, PP5, Tetrick).

The next field on the docket includes North America Cup-eligible Lyons Geoff Jnr (80-1, PP1, Gingras), Dealt A Winner (25-1, PP5, David Miller) and Freedomformysoul (42-1, PP6, B. Miller), and the third of three qualifiers for sophomore pacing colts and geldings features Yankee Bounty (18-1, PP1, Gingras), Gallic Beach (40-1, PP2, Tetrick), Lyons Again (23-1, PP3, also Gingras) and Trading Up (70-1, PP5, Scott Zeron).

First qualifier is set for 9:30 a.m. and all qualifiers are streamed live on the Meadowlands' website. To view program proofs for Friday's qualifiers, scroll through the embedded PDF below or click the following link: Friday Program Proofs - Meadowlands Qualifiers.

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(photo credits: Lisa Photo, New Image Media, Nigel Soult Photo)


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