Day At The Track

Post position won't matter to Smilin Eli

02:41 AM 25 Jun 2013 NZST
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Deshawn Minor
Deshawn Minor

Harness racing trainer Deshawn Minor was smiling from ear to ear when he said the following statement.

“His post position draw on Tuesday won’t matter,” Minor said, “Yes, that’s what I said. Post won’t matter, it’s only a starting point, and it’s not the finish.”

Minor was referring to his top three-year-old trotting colt, Smilin Eli. Last week the three-year-old son of Muscles Yankee – Gerri’s Joy – Enjoy Lavec, was able to leave from the outside post eight, take the lead by the opening quarter mile and then held the field at bay in winning his elimination division of the Early Beal, Jr. Memorial Trot at Pocono Downs.

Now his bay colt, regardless of what post position he draws Tuesday morning, will be the morning line favorite for this Saturday’s $500,000 final of the Beal Memorial. The race is one of four Sun Stakes at Pocono Downs with more than $2 million in total purses that evening.

Smilin Eli is undefeated in just four lifetime starts this year. He never raced at age two. Last week he won by one and one-half lengths in 1:52.3 and that was after being off from the races for three weeks. The colt was bred and is owned by Nicholas Cimino of Pompano Beach, FL.

“Overall he went a huge mile last week,” Minor said, “He was awesome from the outside after being off for three weeks. He wanted to race. I am very impressed how he held up trotting those fast fractions. At the end of the mile Timmy (driver Tim Tetrick) just showed him the whip, tapped the race bike with it a few times and he dug in a little more.”

Just how fast did Smilin Eli go?

“The teletimer said he trotted to the first quarter in :26.3 and the half mile in :55.1,” Minor explained. “In the next race the Pacer of the Year last season, Captaintreacherous, went to the lead the same as my colt did, only he paced his first quarter in :27.1 and the half in :55.4. My colt trotted a half mile faster than Captaintreacherous paced his. And everyone knows that for the most part, pacers are two to three seconds faster than trotters.”

Minor feels that it will be a good race on Saturday.

“Corky looked very good in winning his elimination race last week,” Minor said, “And Fico raced well again my horse and Dontyourforgetit raced big in the earlier division. He went 1:52.1 but he also had some good cover to come off of in winning. They are just going to have to chase him (Smilin Eli). He is a big strong horse but you can’t overestimate or underestimate any horse in the race.”

With an impressive effort after not racing for three weeks, Minor feels that his colt could be even better than last week.

“I can see that after his last start he (Smilin Eli) will be more controllable this week.” Minor said. “He’s now been over this racetrack and every week he shows me a little more. You have to remember that he never raced last year and has just four starts this year so he is still pretty green and learning. If he can get some cover early on then he will be that much stronger later in the mile.”

And that does not spell good news for his competition, no matter what post position Smilin Eli draws on Tuesday.

by Steve WOLF

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