Top sophomores return to action

by Ken Weingartner, Harness Racing Communications

Ken Weingartner

Freehold, NJ — Well Said is well grown.

The colt pacer, who won the Breeders Crown and finished fourth in purses among all 2-year-old pacers last season, returned to action on May 7 with a neck victory in 1:54 in a qualifier at the Meadowlands Racetrack. Multiple-stakes winner Dial Or Nodial, who was ninth in earnings, was third in the same qualifier.

Trainer Steve Elliott expects Well Said (Western Hanover-Must See) to qualify again on Thursday. The colt enjoyed a growth spurt over the winter.

“His hobbles are seven holes longer than when he won the Breeders Crown,” Elliott said. “A lot of people don’t even notice because he was pretty small last year. He’s grown into the right size now. He’s a beautiful horse.”

New Image Media photo

Well Said was a 1:52.2 winner in his Champlain Stakes division last September.

In addition to the Breeders Crown, the colt won a division of the Champlain Stakes and was second in a division of the Nassagaweya, both at Mohawk Racetrack.

“He wintered well in Florida; I think the clay track lets them work out the kinks,” Elliott said. “We’ll qualify him again and see what we’ve got going on. He’s eligible to the Art Rooney Pace (at Yonkers Raceway), but I don’t want to start him out on a half-mile track. I’ve trained him on a half, and he gets around a half real good, but you try to minimize any trouble you can get into.”

In addition to Well Said and Dial Or Nodial, several of last season’s top earning 2-year-old filly pacers and three of the best earning 2-year-old trotters saw action on the racetrack last week in qualifiers as they prepared for their campaigns as 3-year-olds.

Leading the way among the filly pacers was Fox Valley Topaz, who was the divisional champion last season and finished the year with a victory in the Breeders Crown. Fox Valley Topaz, who won 10 of 15 races in 2008, won a May 6 qualifier at Balmoral Park in 1:55.3. Notjustaprettyface, who won the American-National, was third in the same qualifier.

Canadian standout St Lads Popcorn, who won 12 of 15 races last year, was fourth in a qualifier at Mohawk Racetrack on Monday (May 11). She was timed in 1:54.1. Three Diamonds and Matron Stakes winner Hawaiian Drink won a qualifier at the Meadowlands last week in 1:53.1, finishing ahead of New Jersey Sire Stakes champ Twist N Clout and International Stallion Stakes division winner Indulge Me.

Among the trotters, filly divisional champ Honorable Daughter won her second qualifier in a row, completing the mile in 1:57.2 at the Meadowlands. Stakes-winner Margarita Momma was third in her first action of the year, as was Peaceful Way Stakes runner-up I Wanted Wings.

Encore Encore, a colt who won a Bluegrass Stakes division and was second in the Valley Victory, won a qualifier in 1:56.3 at The Meadows in western Pennsylvania while William Wellwood Memorial winner Tom Cango won in 1:56.2 at the Meadowlands.

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