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Taylor Impressed By Captain Groovy

Published: July 22, 2020 1:15 pm ET

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Howard Taylor’s horses are keeping him up at night, but only for the best of reasons. Taylor, a longtime owner who has experienced his share of success over the years, is enjoying a month to remember and hoping the good times continue as the calendar advances.

Among Taylor’s July highlights: Trotting mare Atlanta winning the Arthur J. Cutler Memorial over rival Manchego; three-year-old pacing colt Tall Dark Stranger capturing the Meadowlands Pace after a dramatic stretch duel with rival Papi Rob Hanover; three-year-old trotting colt Back Of The Neck winning consecutive stakes to stamp himself a prime contender for the Hambletonian; and a sparkling debut from two-year-old female pacer Somethingbeautiful, who is a half-sister to Taylor’s stakes-winner Shnitzledosomethin.

“I can’t even believe it, it’s like everywhere I look,” said Taylor, who this year is third in purses among North American owners. “It’s almost an embarrassment of riches; I’m on Cloud Nine.

“I don’t want to go to sleep at night because I’m afraid that when I get up it will be a dream.”

This weekend, Taylor will watch Captain Groovy compete in the first of three seven-horse eliminations for the Delvin Miller Adios for three-year-old pacers at the Meadows. The top-three finishers in each elim will advance to the August 1 final.

Captain Groovy, trained by Ray Schnittker and driven by Mark MacDonald, will start from Post 6 in his elimination. The race includes The Greek Freak, who brings a three-race win streak to the event, and Meadowlands Pace finalist Roll With JR.

Last year, Captain Groovy started his campaign with four consecutive wins — three in divisions of the Pennsylvania Stallion Series and the other in a division of the Pennsylvania All-Stars. He was winless in his remaining five races, with three having come on the Grand Circuit, but was third in a division of the International Stallion Stakes at Lexington’s Red Mile.

Captain Groovy, pictured winning at the Meadowlands Racetrack in 1:48 on June 20, 2020.

Captain Groovy opened this season with consecutive victories in conditioned races, including a 1:48 score over older horses on June 20 at the Meadowlands Racetrack. That time is tied for second fastest among all three-year-old pacers this year. He then finished second in a division of the Pennsylvania Sire Stakes at Harrah’s Philadelphia and fourth in a PASS split last week at the Meadows.

“Last year, he started out like some sort of a monster,” Taylor said. “Ray did the right thing, he put him in the Stallion Series to get him some education and not stretch him out expecting he would be real good at the end of the year. Then he sort of flattened out, but when he went to Lexington he raced real well.

“We turned him out sort of fresh, and when we brought him back this year, I couldn’t believe how good he was. The second start, he came first up against some good older horses and blew them away. I was in shock. I’m just hoping it’s not a repeat of last year. I don’t know what to think about that horse. He’s made me a liar every day, both ways.”

Captain Groovy is a son of Captaintreacherous and the first foal out of Lets Groove Tonite. He sold for $90,000 at the 2018 Lexington Selected Sale and in addition to Taylor is owned by Schnittker, Ted Gewertz, and Mary Kinsey Arnold.

Taylor has never owned an Adios winner, with his best finish of second having come in 2010 with Versado. Captain Groovy’s driver, MacDonald, won the Adios in 2012 with Bolt The Duer.

“[Captain Groovy] has got the speed to go with anyone,” Taylor said. “I’m hoping for the best. When he’s on, he’s as good as any. I’m hoping this is a good week.”

The second elimination of the Adios features Meadowlands Pace runner-up Papi Rob Hanover, as well as 'Pace' finalist Captain Barbossa. The split will also house recent PASS division winners Sea Of Life and No Lou Zing, who has won three consecutive starts since a second-place finish in his seasonal debut.

In the third elim, 2019 Ohio Sires Stakes champion and world record holder Elver Hanover will look to rebound from his first loss in 11 career races against a field that includes 2020 New Jersey Sire Stakes champ Rockin The Aces and Meadowlands Pace finalists Capt Midnight and Catch The Fire.

Racing will begin at 12:45 p.m. (EDT) Saturday at the Meadows. The $25,000 Adios eliminations have been carded as Race 5, 8 and 9.

The fields for the Adios eliminations with post positions, trainers and preliminary driver assignments appear below.

Adios Elimination (Race 5)
(Post - Horse - Trainer - Listed Driver)

1. Later Dudes - Brian Brown - David Miller
2. Roll With JR - Jeff Cullipher - Corey Callahan
3. Sandbetweenmytoes - Jim Campbell - Dave Palone
4. The Greek Freak - Ron Burke - Matt Kakaley
5. Put To Right - Tony Alagna - Andrew McCarthy
6. Captain Groovy - Ray Schnittker - Mark MacDonald
7. Chief Mate - Tony Alagna - Scott Zeron

Adios Elimination (Race 8)
(Post - Horse - Trainer - Listed Driver)

1. Somebodyitreasure - Andrew Harris - Andrew McCarthy
2. Tru Lou - Ron Burke - Matt Kakaley
3. Sweet Truth - Ron Burke - Matt Kakaley
4. Papi Rob Hanover - Brett Pelling - David Miller
5. Sea Of Life - Tony Alagna - Scott Zeron
6. Captain Barbossa - Tony Alagna - Andrew McCarthy
7. No Lou Zing - Nancy Takter - Josert Fonseca

Adios Elimination (Race 9)
(Post - Horse - Trainer - Listed Driver)

1. Rockin The Aces - Robert Cleary - Brett Miller
2. No Quarter - Brian Brown - Dave Palone
3. Macs Big Boy - Ron Burke - Matt Kakaley
4. Elver Hanover - Ron Burke - Chris Page
5. Capt Midnight - Tony Alagna - Andrew McCarthy
6. Seriously Hanover - Ron Coyne Jr. - Scott Zeron
7. Catch The Fire - John Ackley - Mike Wilder


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