Talent Soup was making only his second start of the year for trainer Bruce Saunders after a promising fourth-place finish in last week’s prelim, beaten less than a length, but Talent Soup really showed some talent in snapping the four-race overall winning streak of Dash Of Danger, who set a moderate half (56.2) but couldn’t handle the speed-grinding of his conqueror late. David Miller had sulky honors as the sophomore knocked 3 2/5 seconds off his mark for owners Charles and Julie Nash.
The four-year-old stallion Dakota Jack was a pocket rocket in winning the other male prelim, using a 55.2 individual last half to overhaul pacesetter Rough Odds to win by ¾ of a length in 1:51.4, just a tick slower than his other Weiss prelim victory. George Napolitano Jr. was behind the son of Duneside Perch for trainer Matias Ruiz and A Piece Of The Action LLC.
The top nine winners in the prelims have earned places in next Monday’s $30,000 Weiss Series Championship for the group; from highest-ranking first, the qualifiers are Dash Of Danger, Dakota Jack, Highalator, Rough Odds, A Better Risk, Magritte, Ascaryone Hanover, Western Tyrant, and My Three Sons. Talent Soup is tenth and “on the outside” looking in as AE1; he and his connections will be among the many anxiously awaiting the results of Wednesday morning’s post draw.
The pacing distaffs also raced two $15,000 divisions of their last preliminary, and with the top four after three legs together in one division, most of the attention focused on that cut. And it was again Cousin Mary who came back to Victory Lane, keeping her Weiss record unblemished after three starts, and posting her seventh straight triumph, while in the process lowering her lifetime best to 1:52.3. The Camluck mare sat behind the pacesetting Miss Jones, previously 2-for-2 in the Weiss, then paced home strongly in 55.2 – 27.2 to triumph by a neck for driver Anthony Napolitano, trainer Andrew Harris and owner Jeffrey Williamson.
It was “déjà vu all over again” in many ways in the other Weiss distaff cut – “ANap” and Harris were back in Victory Lane to greet a horse who just lowered her mark to 1:52.3 after maximizing a two-hole journey to win by a neck. This one was the Always A Virgin filly Itty Bitty, who sat behind the leading I Deal In Kisses, then actually bettered her stablemate’s speed home – 55.1 / 27.1 – for owners Evan Katz, J. Robert Darrow, and A Harris Racing LLC.
The top nine ladies set to come back for their $30,000 Championship next Monday are, leading with the highest-ranked: Cousin Mary, (tied) Itty Bitty and Miss Jones, Twist Of Fate, I Deal In Kisses, Rewind Again, Angel’s Pride, Warrawee Sunshine, and Tica Hanover.
Tomorrow night the Weiss trotters take center stage, with both sexes competing in three $15,000 divisions. For the fillies and mares, this will be their fourth and final prelim; the males started their Weiss action a week later, with Ooh Rah, Bend In The River, and Hilarious Hero hoping to make their Weiss tally 3-for-3 on Tuesday.
FINISHING LINES: Trainer Mark Goldberg needs to take a field trip more often. With his home base of The Meadows taking a two-week hiatus, “Goldy” started his first horse outside western Pennsylvania since mid-2012 (at Pocono, a DH4) and won with the trotter Queen’s Lonely Earl. In fact, he’s won two of his last three starts at Pocono – on June 23, 2006, he took a Pennsylvania Sire Stake 3TC event with Adonis B.