Only a head separated last week’s second elimination race winner Gold Dust Beach, from the Joe Seekman Stable, and runner-up Richard Oldfield’s Thin Blue Line at the end of their 1.51.2 mile.
By drawing posts one and two for the championship—in that order—both 3-Year-Olds figure to again be looking each other in the eye at the finish of the windy city circuit’s annual richest added money event for open pacers.
Both drivers were impressed with the elimination performance of their respective pacer.
“Gold Dust Beach is really strong,” said driver Tony Morgan. “He's big and he's a bully.”
“Thin Blue Line is a big gaited, easy horse to drive and he had a lot left,” said Mike Oosting after the October 21 elimination. “I wanted to save something for the final.”
Gold Dust Beach has been installed as the slight 5-2 favorite over Thin Blue Line, who will open at 3-1. The 4-1 early third choice is Leading X Ample, who will have to buck the outside eight-post for Leading X Ample Stable of Port Berry, Ontario and trainer William Elliott.
Last week Morgan also handled Leading X Ample to his powerful 1:52.4 first elimination victory. The 44-year-old Ohio native will drive Gold Dust Beach because of a pre-elim commitment.
“The other horse (Leading X-Ample) is a great horse too but I had promised the owners (L&L DeVisser of Holland MI) of Gold Dust Beach before hand that I'd drive their horse.”
Morgan was full of praise for Leading X Ample after the horse raced three-wide from the three-quarter pole through the last turn and still came home in :26.3 for a 2 ¾ length triumph.
“Leading X Ample is a good finishing horse and he does everything right,” said Morgan after the race.
“The horse hunts the wire. He really likes to get by horses and acts like an old horse. He was three-deep down the backside and got around the turns really well. Before I drove him I was told that at times he'd go to a knee a little bit but he didn't even come close to doing that. He was very good-gaited and he even though I didn’t leave with him, he can leave real quick.”
David Miller, with over 7700 winning drives, has come our windy city to guide Leading X Ample, who despite being saddled with the outside eight-slot deserves plenty of consideration.
The son ofwas overlooked at 7-1 odds when he left from the seven-slot in Windsor’s Provincial Cup Final and despite being parked-out most of the mile he still posted a 1 ¾ length victory in 1:51 on the five-eighths Canadian track.
A victory with Leading X Ample from a post has only produced 3.0 percent winners this season would be sweet for Miller, who looking for his first winning drive in a Windy City Pace Final. Two years ago the 44-Year-Old Columbus, Ohio native guided the 2003 Horse of the Yearin our showcase event but the colt never fired and went on to post a wire-to-wire performance.
Perennial Maywood Park leading driver Tony Morgan is also seeking his first Windy City Pace title. Morgan has won the driver’s race here the last six consecutive years and nine times in the last ten.
The 23rd consecutive annual edition of the Windy City could see for the first time since 1996—when Oye Vay won as the 3-2 favourite—the public’s choice go off at higher than 4-5 odds.
Courtesy Of Mike Paradise, Publicity Director, Maywood Park