by Evan Pattak
Washington, PA, July 29, 2023–As the field turned for home in Saturday’s $350,000 final of the Delvin Miller Adios Pace for the Orchids at Hollywood Casino at The Meadows, two questions remained before the house: Could Cannibal find the Lightning Lane in enough time to speed by the trio vying for the lead? Would he have enough pop to overtake them?
The answers were, he could and he did, as Cannibal poured through the Lightning Lane to capture a head victory in 1:49 in the 57th edition of the Adios.
It’s My Show, the race favorite who set a world record 1:47.4 in his elimination last week, quarter-poled to the top for Scott Zeron but was forced to a swift 53.3 front half.That was the signal for Redwood Hanover to move first over from fifth while Seven Colors picked up the live cover. As they thundered down the stretch, all four had victory within reach.
But it was Cannibal and Yannick Gingras who took advantage of the best trip, downing Redwood Hanover by a head, with Seven Colors a close-up third. It’s My Show had to settle for fourth.
Gingras said he wasn’t confident he had enough racetrack left to get the job done.
“I liked the spot I got in early in the race, and I could see It’s My Show getting a little tired,” he said. “But when I saw Palone’s horse (Seven Colors), I was a little worried that I wouldn’t get there in time. It’s actually exactly how I saw the race unfold. About once every hundred races, it does unfold the way you see it.”
It was the second Adios title for Gingras, who triumphed in 2013 with Sunfire Blue Chip for trainer Jimmy Takter, a Hall of Famer and the father of Saturday’s winning conditioner, Nancy Takter.
Cannibal, a son of Sweet Lou-No More Losses, has won six of seven starts this year, tasting defeat only in the Meadowlands Pace final. He now has banked $365,978 for owner/breeder Diamond Creek Racing.
Nancy Takter completed a rare Adios Day double as her 3-year-old filly, Always B Naughty, took the $114,770 Quinton Patterson Adioo Volo, the companion feature to the Adios.
Asked if she viewed her Adios victory as the continuation of a family tradition, since her dad won the event twice (2013, 2009 with Vintage Master), she replied:
“No, not really. I try not to compare myself to my dad because I’ll probably lose every time if I try to do that. It’s a classic race, and it’s a special day for harness racing.”
She said both her Adios Day winners will head to Kentucky for sires stake action.
ADIOS DAY NOTES: The Ron Burke Brigade had 17 horses spread over 10 Adios Day races, an uncommonly light work load for them and a far cry from their high of 29. But the quality was there, as Burke horses won five races on the 16-race program. Ronnie Wrenn, Jr. notched three of those victories with the other two to Chris Page . . . In the day’s Grand Circuit racing, sweep was the order of the day. Burke swept both divisions of the Mary Lib Miller for freshman filly pacers while Anthony MacDonald and trainer Tim Twaddle captured both splits of the James Manderino for sophomore colt and gelding trotters.