If Rick Zeron can craft a winning trip with Miss Paris in the $530,000 final of the Elegantimage Stakes on Saturday night at Mohawk Racetrack, the end result will mean a trip to 'The City of Light' for the veteran driver and his wife, Joyce.
“I want you to write this down,” said Zeron. “If we win this race, I am taking Joyce to Paris. I’ve been to other places in Europe, but never to Paris. Wouldn’t it seem appropriate to celebrate by going there?”
Indeed it would.
Before he books flight and hotel arrangements, Zeron will have to guide the daughter of Kadabra to a win on Pepsi North America Cup Night, against a talented field of three-year-old fillies that includes trotting titan Check Me Out, who boasts 16 wins from 19 starts.
Post 9 certainly doesn’t help Zeron’s chances, but the reinsman exudes confidence when he speaks of Miss Paris.
“It’s certainly not ideal to have nine, but it doesn’t diminish my belief in what she’s capable of doing,” said Zeron, of the filly that won seven of 14 races in 2011, including two seconds and one third, for $486,656 in purse earnings. “It will be a case of hoping for a nice early flow, watching and waiting to see how things unfold and then hoping the flow continues.”
Zeron has faith Miss Paris can finish with a flourish, something the Richard ‘Nifty’ Norman trainee utilized in crossing the wire second in her elimination of the Elegantimage on June 8 at Mohawk.
She had qualified four times, from April 20 to May 26, before finishing fourth over a 'sloppy' Mohawk strip in her return to racing in her Casual Breeze division on June 1, coming home in a final quarter of :27.2.
On June 8, Miss Paris, at 50-1, kicked home in :28.2 and wound up two and a quarter lengths behind Maven, who will also contest the final.
“I love the way she can fire when you ask her,” said Zeron, who was in the sulky for both the Casual Breeze and Elegantimage. “I just talk to her and she responds. I’m impressed at the way she’s competed in her last two starts after those four qualifiers. There are some good horses in here, definitely some tough competition, but I absolutely have faith in this filly.”
Miss Paris, who captured her $300,000 OSS Super Final last season, is owned is owned by Melvin Hartman, Herb Liverman and David McDuffee.
Zeron would love to deliver them a victory in the ducat-deep final, which has been slated as Race 3 on the card.
He’d also be happy to keep his pre-race promise.
“Absolutely,” said Zeron. “I told Joyce we’re heading to Paris if we win this. Hopefully, we can get it done on Saturday.”
To view the full entries for Saturday's card of harness racing, click the following link: Saturday Entries - Mohawk Racetrack.