The first of many New Jersey Sire Stakes-Standardbred Development Fund finals will be held at Freehold Raceway this Saturday (Sept. 11), when a field of five will contest the $56,000 final for three-year-old filly pacers.
The headliner of the field, and likely favourite, is Mikala, for trainer Nik Drennan and driver George Brennan. She won the first leg of the series in impressive fashion on Aug. 28, pacing the mile in a sharp 1:53.3. Last out, she lost the Pennsylvania Sire Stakes final at Pocono Downs by 2-1/2 lengths. She has been installed as the 8-5 morning line favourite.
Her stiffest competition figures to come from post position four, in the form of Always B Laughin. She finished third behind Mikala in the first leg, then crushed the second leg field by 13 lengths while pacing in 1:54. Tyler Miller will be at the controls for trainer Julie Miller.
Podium Girl, who drew post position three, is a track record holder. Last year, she paced in 1:54.3 en route to victory in the NJSS-SDF final for two-year-old filly pacers, tying the all-time Freehold mark for freshman fillies. This year, she has placed in several stakes races, and looks to put it all together here. Dan Dubé is between the wheels for trainer Chris Ryder.
Incaseyoudidntknow and Major Houlihan round out this sophomore quintet. The race is scheduled as the seventh of 12 on the card, with a listed post time of 2:30 p.m.
The program also features the second leg of the NJSS-SDF series for three-year-old colt and gelding pacers. Trainer Bill MacKenzie sent out the top two finishers in the first leg last week, Captain Fancy and Ideal Beach, and both loom large once again. Dan Dubé and Jim Marohn Jr. will drive from posts three and one, respectively. That race will be the third on the card, scheduled to go at 1:10 p.m.
Post time for the first race on the card is listed for 12:30 p.m.