After watching and competing against three-year-old pacing filly Yellow Diamond, all trainer Eddie Dennis is asking is a "shot" in this Saturday afternoon's $250,000 James M. Lynch Memorial Pace final at Mohegan Sun at Pocono Downs.
Yellow Diamond has been tabbed as the 6-5 favorite after her 1:51 victory in the first Lynch elimination race last week.
"I'd like to be sitting two or three at the top of lane in Saturday's final," offered Dennis, whose father J.D. Dennis was the top driver at Pocono Downs when the track first opened its gates back in 1965. The latter was on hand to see his son's horse, Mellissa's Fancy, finish second in the final Lynch elimination split.
Melissa's Fancy, half sister to multi-millionaire, is listed as 8-1 on the Morning Line and drew the three post while No. 1A Yellow Diamond will leave alongside from the four hole.
John Campbell, who drove Melissa's Fancy, won't be available and will be in Canada, leaving the catch driving to Corey Callahan.
"My filly got her own personality and attitude," noted Eddie Dennis. "She is an honest mare with a lot of guts. I expected her to pace in 1:52 and change. I believe she can go faster than that but only time will tell.
"She's not a big filly and we didn't punish her last year. My horse definitely has a nice kick at the end of the mile. I'm hoping we'll be close at the top of the lane. I just want that opportunity."
Dennis was hoping for a good draw and he got his wish with Melissa's Fancy in the eight-horse field finale.
Dawn's Legacy, a winner of the third Lynch elimination race, will not be in the field and will be competing in an elimination race of the Miss New Jersey Saturday night at the Meadowlands.
Owners of Dawn's Legacy feel she'll have a better chance of winning the $200,000 final at the New Jersey track.
Jim Morrill Jr., who has been on fire this season at Mohegan Sun at Pocono Downs with a leading 109 wins through this past Wednesday night's 37th card, is full of confidence going into the Lynch final. He'll be driving the favorite Yellow Diamond, trained by Tracy Brainard, who will have three fillies in the Lynch final.
Brainard also has Shacked Up and Fashion Week in Saturday afternoon's 11th race.
Morrill Jr. said Yellow Diamond is the fastest three-year-old filly he has ever driven following last Saturday's 1:51 win. He noted the win was done with relatively ease and feels she can pace the mile in 1:49 and piece.
Since the James M. Lynch Memorial Pace was inaugurated at Pocono Downs in 1995, the fastest any three-year-old filly has gone is 1:49.3, a world record on a five-eighths mile track with Southwind Tempo winning the Lynch with Tim Tetrick in the bike in June of 2007.
Morrill Jr. believes Yellow Diamond will threaten that time if the weatherman cooperates Saturday afternoon.
Here's the field with posts and drivers:
No. 1 Shacked Up, Post 1, Brian Sears
No. 1A Yellow Diamond, Post 4, Jim Morrill Jr.
No. 1B Fashion Week, Post 5, Tim Tetrick
No. 2 Ginger And Fred, Post 2, Dave Palone
No. 3 Melissa's Fancy, Post 3, Corey Callahan
No. 4 Shanghai Lil, Post 6, Mike LaChance
No. 5 Kiss Me Kate, Post 7, Jason Bartlett
No. 6 Cammy's Heart, Post 8, Dan Dube