Day At The Track

My Buddy Liz hangs tough in series opener

03:16 PM 01 Mar 2016 NZDT
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Spreester in a previous victory

My Buddy Liz opened a daylight lead at the three-quarters but had to hang tough late to capture the fastest division in Monday's opening leg of the Donna Dunn Memorial Pace at The Meadows for harness racing 3 and 4-year-old fillies and mares. Tricky Girl and Call Me Little Terror, each piloted by Mike Wilder, took the other $12,000 opening-leg splits.

The series honors the memory of the late Donna Dunn, a longtime Standardbred owner and wife of the late Walter "Boots" Dunn, the accomplished trainer, driver, breeder and United States Trotting Association director.

Away third for Aaron Merriman, My Buddy Liz made the lead easily with a first-over burst and drew off by 6 lengths. But she had to find more to hold off the rallying Shark Gal by a nose in 1:56.3, a lifetime mark. Wasaga Beach earned show. Dave Zito owns and trains My Buddy Liz, a 4-year-old daughter of Badlands Hanover-Taylorlane Action.

In the $20,000 Filly & Mare Not Listed Preferred/Preferred Handicap Pace, Spreester kept to her task when her cover broke in front of her and went on to score for Merriman and owner/trainer Bill Bercury in1:52.3, matching her career best. Set Me Up shot the Lightning Lane for second, 3/4 lengths back, with Champagne Shower third. With the victory -- her second straight -- the 5-year-old daughter of American Ideal-Rodeo Spree vaulted over $400,000 in lifetime earnings.

Tony Hall, Merriman and Wilder each collected a triple on the 15-race card.

Register now for The Meadows Live Bankroll Handicapping Contest set for Saturday, March 5, with a guaranteed $5,000 prize pool. Cost is $100, with $50 allocated to the prize pool and $50 to each player's bankroll. Registered players can enjoy the free lunch buffet in the Triple Crown Banquet Room and will receive a free March 5 Meadows race program. Winner gets 50 percent of the prize pool, with 25 percent for second place, 12 percent for third place, 8 percent for fourth place and 5 percent for fifth place. To register now, call 724.503.1509 or visit the Retail Center in the Racebook. Event-day registration begins at 11:30 AM.

The Meadows Racetrack & Casino

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