Day At The Track


04:05 AM 08 Jul 2007 NZST
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Running Book Always A Virgin
Running Book
Photo by Michael Lisa - Lisa Photo, Inc. - 2007 Meadowlands Pace elimination
Always A Virgin - 2007 Meadowlands Pace elimination
Photo by Michael Lisa - Lisa Photo

The field for the $1 million Meadowlands Pace emerged from a pair of elimination races on Saturday night. The top five finishers in each $50,000 elimination advanced to the track's signature event next Saturday, July 14.

In the first split, Always A Virgin, with Brian Sears in the sulky, brushed to the top before the half and pulled away to a length win in 1:50.

It marked the third straight win for the son of Western Ideal. Trained by Joe Holloway, Always A Virgin counts a victory in the $175,000 New Jersey Sire Stakes Final and a third-place finish in the $500,000 Anthony Abbatiello New Jersey Classic among his accomplishments this season.

He is owned by Bluewood Stable, Roll The Dice Stable and Val D'Or Farms.

"I didn't know what to make of the race as it unfolded," Sears said.

"When the gate opened, I really didn't want to take all the way off the gate and have the horses I thought to beat behind me. I was able to drop in for a few steps and move him to the front and got some pretty easy numbers, and it worked out well. Yeah, I was [looking over my shoulder to see where Tell All was].

"I know that horse has a real good kick home and I said at the best, he's third over and I didn't see him, so it worked out. Like I said, the third quarter didn't have that much pressure on him and he did and I really didn't have to stretch him out that much. He's definitely got a shot [to take the final next week]."

Southwind Lynx closed to finish second, while Pandoras Sox was third. Trueys Legacy [fourth] and Tell All [fifth] also advanced to the Pace Final from the first elimination.

Sears also took the second elimination with 40-1 shot Running Book. The Real Desire colt pounced off a perfect pocket trip behind the pacesetter Sutter Hanover for a 1:48.4 victory. Artriverderci was second, while Sutter Hanover held on for third.

Running Book picked up his first win in six starts this season for trainer Bill Elliott and owner Antonio Chiaravelle.

"There wasn't a whole lot of speed on the inside of Sutter Hanover," Sears said.

"I was just hoping to sit close, maybe shake loose and see what happens and hopefully make the final. Going into the half, the horse felt super and I said, 'you know what? I might have to pull this horse and see what happens' and the trip worked out and the horse was super tonight. He's a nice horse and just hasn't had any luck this year, but he definitely has some ability."

Fourth-place finisher Kenneth J and Watta Hotshot, fifth, also moved on to next week's $1 million final.

Post positions will be drawn for the Meadowlands Pace, presented by TVG, at noon on Tuesday, July 10.

Courtesy Of The Meadowlands Media Relations Department

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