East Rutherford, NJ – It’s safe to say that McWicked is ready for next week’s TVG Free For All Pace.
The current leader in the race for Horse of the Year, McWicked lived up to his name in a big way Saturday night at the Meadowlands, scorching the mile oval in 1:47.3 in taking the $20,000 Preferred Handicap for pacers.
“I wasn’t expecting that,” said trainer Casie Coleman of the blazing-fast effort in cold 42-degree conditions. “I was kind of worried about a slow half, but they went (the half) :53.4. He looked like he did it pretty easy.”
That he did.
McWicked was in no hurry early, racing fifth and last as he swung to the outside at the half-mile marker. He grinded his way toward the leaders down the backside and was just a length behind the horse in the top spot, Dealt A Winner, as three-quarters was timed in 1:20.4.
From there, McWicked put on a show, sprinting the final quarter in :26.4 to hit the wire 2-¼ lengths in front of 7-2 second choice Filibuster Hanover. Western Fame was third.
As the 1-5 favorite, McWicked, who was driven by Brian Sears, paid $2.40 to win in scoring for the 33rd time in 92 lifetime starts. He lifted his bank account to a gaudy $3.725 million.
“He always gives everything he’s got,” said Coleman. “Tonight, he looked as strong as he’s been in any of his races this year. That mile tonight was crazy.”
Coleman confirmed the good news that had previously been shared several weeks ago. “The TVG will be his last race of the year,” said the conditioner. “But he is 100 percent coming back next year. We’ve had a lot of offers to go to stud, but his owner, Ed James, is loving this and he said McWicked is racing next year.”
Next Saturday’s (Nov. 25) huge Meadowlands program includes eight stakes events: The Fall Final Four has two pair of $400,000 events for 2-year-olds – the Three Diamonds, Goldsmith Maid, Valley Victory and Governor’s Cup – while the TVGs for 3-year-olds and up have a pair of $350,000 events (the Free For All Pace and Trot) as well as two $175,000 races (the Free For All Mare Pace and Trot).
A LITTLE MORE: Trix And Stones (1:55.1, $14.20 to win) and Chin Chin Hall (1:54.4, $22.20) were victorious in the two Valley Victory elims for colt and gelding trotters, while the single Governor’s Cup elim for pacing colts and geldings went to Mangogh (1:51.3, $16.40). … All Bets Off showed his class in a high-end conditioned event, stopping the clock in 1:48.4 as the 3-5 favorite. … Geez Joe (2-1 favorite), racing in a non-winners of $8,500 pace, lowered his previous lifetime best by two full seconds, stopping the clock in 1:48.1. … All-source wagering on the 13-race card totaled $2,449,013. … Racing resumes Friday (Nov. 24) at 7:15 p.m.