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"As Good As He's Ever Been"

Published: July 20, 2017 9:30 am ET

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For the trainers of all Adios colts and geldings not named Huntsville, his conditioner, Ray Schnittker, offers a scary report on the status of his Dan Patch Award winner: “He’s probably as good as he’s ever been.”

Huntsville is the 7-5 morning-line favourite in Saturday’s first elimination (race 9) for the $450,000 Delvin Miller Adios Pace for the Orchids at The Meadows. Fear The Dragon, another superstar of the three-year-old pacing division, is the 7-5 pick in the second elimination (race 10). First post is 1:05 p.m., with the elims scheduled to begin at approximately 3:45 p.m..

The July 29 Adios final anchors a blockbuster afternoon card that features six Grand Circuit stakes. First post that day is noon.

The schedule for elite three-year-old pacers can be grueling. Those contesting the North America Cup, the Max Hempt, the Meadowlands Pace and the Adios can face up to eight tough races in as many weeks. Knowing that, Schnittker skipped the Hempt; the time off refreshed Huntsville, who returned to win his elimination and the final of the Meadowlands Pace and push his career bankroll over $1.3 million.

Thus, when Schnittker indicates Huntsville is as good as he’s ever been, he’s referring more to fitness and race-readiness than ability, which is prodigious enough.

Schnittker, who owns the son of Somebeachsomewhere-Wild West Show with Ted Gewertz and Steven Arnold, said he jogged the colt lightly this week.

“After those two miles at the Meadowlands, he doesn’t need much,” Schnittker said.

Tim Tetrick will pilot Huntsville from post 7, a starting slot that doesn’t concern Schnittker.

“With the slanted starting gate they have at The Meadows, post 7 doesn’t bother me at all,” he said. “I’d like to leave and get a good two-hole trip. You don’t want to be on the front all the time -- it wears your horse out.”

Following the Adios, Schnittker said he would point Huntsville to the Cane Pace.

The first four finishers in each elimination, along with the fifth-place finisher with higher career earnings, return for the Adios final. The connections of the elim winners will choose their post positions for the final, with the other slots drawn randomly.

The fields for the Adios eliminations, in post position order with final driving assignments, trainers and morning-line odds, appear below.

Adios Elimination 1 (Race 9)
(Post – Horse –Listed Driver - Trainer - Morning Line Odds)
1. Boogie Shuffle – Scott Zeron – Mark Harder - 20-1
2. RJP – Yannick Gingras – Ron Burke - 5-1
3. Highalator – Dave Palone – Jeffrey Long - 10-1
4. Miso Fast – Matt Kakaley – Ron Burke - 5-2
5. Blood Line – Mark MacDonald – Jimmy Takter - 4-1
6. Southwind Yukon – David Miller – Ron Burke - 20-1
7. Huntsville – Tim Tetrick – Ray Schnittker - 7-5

Adios Elimination 2 (Race 10)
(Post – Horse –Listed Driver - Trainer - Morning Line Odds)
1. Western Hill – Dave Palone – Tony Alagna - 5-1
2. Lawrencetown Beach – Yannick Gingras – Ron Burke - 10-1
3. Fear The Dragon – David Miller – Brian Brown - 7-5
4. Hurricane Beach – Daniel Dube – Luc Blais - 20-1
5. Filibuster Hanover – Matt Kakaley – Ron Burke - 5-2
6. Eddard Hanover – Tim Tetrick – Ron Burke - 20-1
7. Independent One – Marcus Miller – John Butenschoen - 4-1

(with files from The Meadows)


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