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Awesomeness To Pelling Barn

Published: January 26, 2018 10:40 am ET

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A familiar face from the Preferred ranks at Woodbine & Mohawk will make his debut 2018 stateside for one of harness racing's most successful trainers.

The Saturday night feature at The Meadowlands is a seven-horse $20,000 Preferred Pace where a pair of names synonymous with success at the sport's highest level will join forces for the first time. Making his first start stateside after a lengthy campaign north of the border, Awesomeness is also making his debut for Brett Pelling who is conditioning the five-year-old for owner Martin Scharf.

Awesomeness, winning at Woodbine in 2017

Scharf's greatest success was with his champion Gallo Blue Chip who retired in 2005 as the top money winning pacer in history with more than $4.3 million, having won virtually every major stake including the 2000 Meadowlands Pace and North America Cup. The old horse is fondly remembered each year by the "Gallo Blue Chip Scholarship Fund" presented by Scharf at The Meadowlands to aspiring students with harness racing connections.

Scharf also has a serious rooting interest in a thoroughbred earlier in the day with a stake in second choice Sharp Azteca going in the $16 million Pegasus stakes at Gulfstream Park.

Brett Pelling dominated the sport for over a decade before returning to his native New Zealand in 2006. Pelling is the only trainer to have recorded 12 straight million-dollar Meadowlands seasons and 21 in all while winning virtually every pacing classic over that span. The list of top horses in his care reads like a Hall of Fame roster, led by a pair of great racehorses that became great sires in the father-son duo of Western Ideal and Rocknroll Hanover.

Brett returned to the U.S. last winter and has slowly been assembling a stable, racing a few mid-level types over the summer then including some yearling purchases that are currently taking their early training lessons with an eye toward the 2018 Grand Circuit stakes.

This mantle of representing such imposing accomplishment, for now at least, falls squarely on the shoulders of Awesomeness who picked up $198,260 in a solid if unspectacular campaign last season and will embark from post 6 for the meet's top driver Jimmy Marohn, Jr. on Saturday.

In the building, the battle is on this Saturday, January 27 in Meadowlands Racing & Entertainment’s 3rd annual Homestyle Chili Cook Off! 38 contestants are competing for the $1,000 grand prize plus a spot in the International Chili Society’s World Championship cook-off in Reno, Nevada.

Last year’s Meadowlands winner, Joseph Callahan, went on to win the 2017 International Chili Society’s World Championship for his Homestyle chili and took home the $4,000 top prize. Fans are invited to taste the entries and encouraged to support their favourites.

Post time is 6:35 p.m.

(with files from The Meadowlands)

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