The recently-departed Riyadh was a personal favourite of driver Tim Tetrick when he was growing up, but which pacer on the track right now does he consider "the best free-for-aller" he's seen in the last couple of years?
On Saturday, Tetrick was the guest on The Meadowlands' pre-card In The Sulky interview segment. He discussed some of the horses he's currently prepping for stakes season, but a horse he's not driving has certainly caught his attention. That pacer is Always B Miki.
"He's the best free-for-aller I've seen in the last couple of years," stated Tetrick. "Yet to see what he'd do if four or five go after him but right now he's the one to beat."
McKee feels that if everything lines up properly in a race, Always B Miki could break the 1:46.1 mile standard set by Cambest in 1993. Tetrick didn't disagree with his assessment.
"He's the first one I've seen since I've been out here that could do that. If somebody gets a little silly the first three-eighths and he removes, he might be down there [to the three-quarter mark] in 1:17, I don't know," Tetrick stated.
Earlier that day, Tetrick sat behind a number potential stakes standouts in Saturday morning qualifiers. Among the horses he and McKee discussed were Market Share, Boston Red Rocks and Anndrovette.
Market Share made his second seasonal appearance and was just picked off late in the mile to finish second by a half-length to Crazshana, individually timed in 1:53.
"The connections were a little upset with him but I wasn't," Tetrick said of Market Share's Saturday effort. "That's the first time I've really stretched him out in ten months, off a long layoff...that was a pretty big mile, so I wasn't disappointed in him.
"He got caught by a four-year-old that's raced eight, nine times this year and I know the connections have high hopes for the Graduate and some of the races so, you know, he sat in the pocket and just outsprinted 'Markie'...his biggest game has never been on the front but I wasn't disappointed in him."
Now seven, the 2012 Hambletonian winner is coming into his fourth older campaign after a sub-par season in 2015 with just one win from nine starts.
"He was just sore from all the war miles he's gone in his career, in my opinion. He's already exceeded what he's supposed to do: he's a Revenue, he won the Hambo, he was a cheap yearling...you watch him going slow, he doesn't look like he can trot in :50 but he's got a big heart and he's going to bounce back. Is he going to be the Market Share of old? We hope so but he's still got a spot in my heart."
Another horse with high earning potential for Tetrick in 2016 is sophomore pacing colt Boston Red Rocks, who was extremely impressive in his second qualifier of the year: a 1:51 mile with a :54 back half.
"He was very, very good. Finished with the plugs in," noted Tetrick. "He's kind of a lazy colt and he was looking around, and at the top of the lane I really got after him and after that I put him away and he just coasted down the lane. It was a very good qualifier."
The 2015 divisional champion stateside makes his pari-mutuel debut on Saturday night in a division of the New Jersey Sire Stakes at The Meadowlands. Tetrick feels that Boston Red Rocks has all the tools to be a potential superstar.
"You watch some of the qualifiers today and there are some very talented colts out there, and until we start going halves in :54 and :53 and some of them get beat up, the true ones are going to stay there and the weaker ones are going to show that they don't belong."
Tetrick also talks about pacing mare Anndrovette, how his hips feel after multiple surgeries and divulges one thing you likely didn't know about him. To watch the full interview, click the play button below.