East Rutherford NJ — It took a while for the Bettor’s Delight mare Caviart Ally ($8.80) to find a way to defeat the season-long pacing mare divisional leader Shartin N, but she was able to exploit the late-found knowledge for the third time in recent weeks, just nosing out her ultimate rival in taking the $175,000 TVG Mare Pace final Saturday night (Nov. 23) at The Meadowlands in a stakes-record 1:48.3.
Youaremycandygirl made the early lead, then yielded to Kissin In The Sand before the :27.1 quarter. Shortly into the backstretch, the arch-rivals were on the move, with Caviart Ally first coming from third to grab the lead before the half, then yielding to 1-2 favorite Shartin N just past the :54.1 half.
Apple Bottom Jeans and 3-year-old Warrawee Ubeaut were first- and second-over, respectively, on the far turn past the 1:21.3 three-quarters, but in the stretch they couldn’t come closer, giving Caviart Ally and driver Andrew McCarthy the chance to vacate the pocket nearing mid-stretch.
The stretch drive was harness racing at its best, with Shartin N giving her all to hold her lead to the finish, with Caviart Ally charging after the two-hole trip. Caviart Ally just got the nod in the last steps over her game opponent; Kissin In The Sand (third-in) and Warrawee Ubeaut were next in line.
Trainer Brett Pelling was confident that his mare would be better tonight than in her last start, when she was a no-factor third behind Shartin N: “That race was a late addition to our schedule; I was fairly sure she would bounce back.”
Asked about Caviart Ally returning to the track next year for owner Caviart Farms, the conditioner said, “Well, we haven’t talked about that yet, but my vote would be yes.”
Caviart Ally has nine wins and $672,215 in a season where she has not missed the board in 19 starts.
Shartin N needed to finish first to become the first pacing mare to have consecutive $1 million seasons, but the defending champion’s $2,035,413 over the last two campaigns, with 34 wins, is by no means insignificant.
A win by Shartin N, coupled with other finishes in the evening, might have solidified Horse of the Year honors for her; she still could earn the award, but Caviart Ally’s nose will make a long discussion of supremacy extend even further.
Watch Race Replay here.