Borgata consolation winner Im Sir Blake A back for moreMarch 10, 2023,
Hightstown, NJ — After a five-month hiatus to freshen up from a busy 2022 campaign, Australian-bred male pacer Im Sir Blake is ready to make his first start of this season ahead of a trip to the MGM Borgata Series later this month.
The 8-year-old gelding, trained by Erv Miller for owner Douglas Overhiser, won last year’s $100,000 Borgata consolation final. He will make his seasonal bow Saturday in the $45,000 Open Pace at The Meadowlands, where he starts from post eight with Marcus Miller in the sulky.
Last season, Im Sir Blake won eight of 30 races, hit the board an additional nine times, and earned $200,770. He visited seven tracks in five states as he averaged three starts a month before seeing his campaign end in late September. He won on every sized oval — half, five-eighths, seven-eighths, and mile — along the way.
“He was busy right from the beginning of last year,” Marcus Miller said. “It was time to let him freshen up a little bit and take another crack at it again this year.
“He’s a really nice horse. He does well everywhere he goes. He’s just one of those horses that’s really handy and can get the job done. He’s got a really nice attitude. He always gives you a run from the top of the stretch home. He’s always digging at the wire. I think that’s the best part about him.”
Im Sir Blake is a son of Alta Christiano N-Jupiters Darling. He spent his first three seasons Down Under, where he won 14 of 39 races and earned $89,371. For his career, he has posted 26 victories in 84 starts and banked $342,877.
He heads to Saturday’s race at The Big M with two Pocono Downs at Mohegan Pennsylvania qualifiers under his belt. He won the first in 1:55 over a surface labeled “good.” He finished second by a half-length to Borgata-eligible Jack’s Legend N in the second, timed in 1:54.1.
“The track was pretty slow both days he qualified,” Miller said. “We had snow before the one, and I think the other time it had just rained. I was happy with him both times. He did get picked off by a pretty nice horse in the second qualifier, but I didn’t really tune him in going to the gate. I just wanted to make sure that he had a decent mile for his second go.”
In last year’s Borgata Series at MGM Yonkers Raceway, Im Sir Blake had a fourth-place finish in his opening-round division before four consecutive third-place efforts. He captured the consolation final by a nose over Chase H Hanover.
“He didn’t really draw bad last year, but it seemed anytime he did draw closer to inside in the legs there was always a super speed horse inside of him, one we couldn’t quite get around,” Miller said. “He only had enough points for the consolation, but luckily, he was pretty fresh for it, so it worked out good in that sense. It was pretty cool for him to get that win. It wasn’t the (championship) final, but maybe things will shake out a little bit differently this year.”
The Borgata Series begins March 20 and continues for five consecutive weeks with $50,000 preliminary legs before a $200,000-added final on April 24.
Miller is coming off one of his most lucrative seasons as a driver. His horses earned $5.22 million in purses in 2022 — the second-highest total of his career — and he topped 300 wins for the sixth time. He finished fourth in the standings at Pocono with 180 victories, just one behind third-place Anthony Napolitano.
“I didn’t have any superstars, but I had a lot of really nice horses,” Miller said. “Pocono has been going good. I probably had my best year there last year, and this year has started off well too. I’m happy.”
Im Sir Blake is 10-1 on the morning line for Saturday’s Open. Southwind Gendry, also making his seasonal debut, is the 3-1 favorite from post one with Yannick Gingras driving for trainer Ron Burke.
Racing at the Meadowlands begins at 6:20 p.m. (EST). Free TrackMaster programs for the Big M can be found here.