Several sophomore stakes stars of last season will make their return to the races on Saturday night at The Meadowlands. With the first of three Graduate Series pacing legs set for May 6, Boston Red Rocks, Check Six and Western Fame gather in the evening's eighth race to get their four-year-old seasons underway with an eye on that target.
Boston Red Rocks was the top freshman of the 2015 class and had a successful if not spectacular sophomore season, picking up over $400,000 and edging past $1 million in career earnings for owners Peter Blood and Rick Berks. Trainer Steve Elliott put three qualifiers into him, the most recent a solid closing 1:50.1 win from off the pace for regular driver Tim Tetrick.
Just edged out in that 1:50.1 mile was Western Fame. The son of Western Ideal was virtually unraced at two but blossomed into a major stakes winner last summer for trainer Jimmy Takter. He won a heat of the Jug and a division of the Bluegrass, earning nearly a half million dollars for Brittany Farms with Mark MacDonald doing the bulk of the driving.
Check Six had a million-dollar season last year for owners Burke Racing, Weaver Bruscemi, Switala and Martin. He dominated the Pennsylvania program and was a presence on the Grand Circuit, winning eleven times including the PASS final. He's had two preps going in for trainer Ron Burke with Yannick Gingras at the lines, his latest a 1:52.2 score with a 26 flat kicker.
They'll sort it out on Saturday while gaining form toward future Grand Circuit engagements.
Saturday also marks the $50,000 final of the World Harness Handicapping Challenge and it is not to late to enter the competition.
First race post time is 7:15 p.m.
(With files from The Meadowlands)