Cane Pace final set for Labor Day at Freehold

Harness racing’s newest millionaire, If I Can Dream, can dream big. On Aug. 29, If I Can Dream, the 3-yearold son of Western Hanover, won the $108,300 Cane Pace Elimination at Freehold Raceway, Freehold.

With the victory, If I Can Dream not only secured his entry to the Labor Day, Sept. 7, $325,000 Cane Pace final at Freehold, he pushed his lifetime earnings to $1,013,013, making him harness racing’s newest millionaire.

The Cane Pace is the first leg of the Pacing Triple Crown. This will be the 55th edition of the Cane Pace, which was first run in 1955 at Yonkers Raceway in New York.

Freehold Raceway has been hosting the Cane Pace since 1998.

In the Aug. 29 elimination, Driver Jimmy Morrill Jr. took If I Can Dream to the front before the quarter-mile pole and passed the first quarter in a swift 26.4. He remained in front for the rest of the mile, challenged by Arctic Warrior, who finished one length back of the winner.

If I Can Dream stopped the timer in a fast 1:51.4 on a sloppy track. Finishing third behind Arctic Warrior was Hail Storm.

With 10 horses entered in this year’s race, as per the conditions of the event, the top two money earners were given byes to the final and the other eight horses raced for the other six positions in Saturday’s elimination.

Western Posse, Clear Vision and Johnny Z finished out of the money on Aug. 29, but in fourth, fifth and sixth place they were winners in their own right as they advanced to the Sept. 7 Cane Pace final.

Vintage Master ($876,326) and Mr. Wiggles ($728,537) were the top two money earners in 2009 and received the byes to the final. Vintage Master has a lifetime best mark of 1:49.2. He won the Adios and was second in the Meadowlands Pace. Mr. Wiggles has a 1:49.1 lifetime mark and his big win was the Hoosier Cup.

The other two legs of the Pacing Triple Crown will be the Little Brown Jug in Delaware, Ohio, (Sept. 24) and the Messenger Stakes at Yonkers Raceway (Nov. 7).

Since the Pacing Triple Crown started in 1956, 10 pacers have won all three races. The most recent Triple Crown winner was No Pan Intended in 2003.

Two $100,000 Sire Stakes finals were also on the Aug. 29 card at Freehold Raceway.


ingle Bay won the New Jersey Sire

Stakes Division Championship for 3-yearold pacing fillies in 1:53.3. Yannick Gringas drove the McArdle filly to her fourth win in her last five starts.

The New Jersey Sire Stakes Premier Division Championship for 3-year-old trotting colts and geldings went to Vesuvio AS. A 28.4 opening quarter was too much for the rest of the field as the son of Windsong’s Legacy drew away from the others to win by more than five lengths in 1:57.2.

In addition to the Cane Pace, Freehold Raceway’s Labor Day card will include the $145,000 Shady Daisy for 3-year-old fillies and two $10,000 New Jersey Sire Stakes Green Acres legs, one for 2-year-old colts and the second for 3-year-old colts.