Hightstown, NJ — Real Cool Sam, the 2019 Dan Patch Award winner for best 2-year-old male trotter, makes his seasonal debut Saturday (July 18) in the first of two $142,250 divisions of the Stanley Dancer Memorial at The Meadowlands.
The Dancer, the penultimate stakes prep at The Big M for 3-year-old male trotters ahead of August’s Hambletonian, is part of a stakes-packed card headlined by the $636,650 Meadowlands Pace for 3-year-old male pacers. Pace elimination winner Tall Dark Stranger, also a Dan Patch Award recipient in 2019, is the 7-5 morning-line favorite.
First race post time Saturday is 45 minutes earlier than usual, at 6:30 p.m. (EDT).
Real Cool Sam, who was named in memory of late Meadowlands announcer Sam McKee, won nine of 10 races last year for trainer Jim Campbell and owner Jules Siegel’s Fashion Farms. The homebred son of Muscle Hill-Cooler Schooner counted the Peter Haughton Memorial and Pennsylvania Sire Stakes championship among his victories and set multiple world records along the way.
The colt is among 17 Hambletonian eligibles in the two 10-horse Dancer divisions. He will start from post one with driver David Miller and is 4-1 on the morning line. Amigo Volo is the 3-1 favorite followed by Big Oil at 7-2.
Real Cool Sam enters the race off second-place finishes in his two most recent qualifiers, June 27 and July 3, at The Meadowlands. He was timed in 1:52.4 last time.
“I was real happy with his last two qualifiers,” Campbell said. “A few of these other horses have gotten a couple starts ahead of him, but we’re just looking to get him prepped and ready for the Hambo. So far so good.”
Real Cool Sam, who is No. 2 behind Amigo Volo in Meadowlands announcer/analyst Ken Warkentin’s Road to the Hambletonian rankings, will attempt to become the first returning Dan Patch Award winner since Pinkman in 2015 to win the Hambletonian.
“There wasn’t too much that didn’t make us happy last year,” Campbell said during the winter about Real Cool Sam. “He’s good mannered in a race, good gaited, he’s got speed. He’s obviously going to have to carry his speed a lot further at 3 than at 2. That’s the main thing, just carrying your speed further.”
Campbell will decide Real Cool Sam’s next start following the Dancer. He could race once more or go directly to the Hambletonian eliminations Aug. 1 at The Meadowlands.
“I’ll play it by ear,” Campbell said. “Our goal all along was to keep him at The Meadowlands until after the Hambletonian.”
Campbell also will send out Beyond Kronos in the second Dancer division. Beyond Kronos, by Muscle Hill out of Oyster Kronos, was a three-time winner in the Pennsylvania Stallion Series last year and runner-up to EL Ideal in the Kindergarten Classic final. He is winless in three races this season, but trotted 1:51.4 in a fourth-place finish in a division of the W.N. Reynolds Memorial last weekend at The Meadowlands.
“I’ve been real happy with the way he’s gone,” Campbell said. “He’s gotten into tough races every start but he trotted (1):51.4 last week and I was real happy with the way he did it.”
Beads is the 3-1 morning-line favorite in the second Dancer division.
In addition to the Dancer and Meadowlands Pace, Saturday’s racing includes an 11-horse $253,500 single division of the Del Miller Memorial for 3-year-old female trotters, the 13-horse $464,900 Hambletonian Maturity at 1-1/8 miles for 4-year-old trotters, the 11-horse $391,300 William R. Haughton Memorial for older male pacers (as well as a $123,100 consolation), $172,850 Dorothy Haughton Memorial for older female pacers, the 11-horse $194,400 Mistletoe Shalee for 3-year-old female pacers, and the third leg of the Miss Versatility Series for older female trotters.
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