He was forced into a first-over challenge and skipped shadows for much of the mile, but when all was said and done, Dude’s The Man captured Saturday’s (August 1) $400,000 final of the Delvin Miller Adios Pace for the Orchids Presented by Coors Light at The Meadows in 1:48.4, fourth-fastest in the 49-year history of the event.
Yankee Bounty rallied for second, 2 lengths back, while Lost For Words, who threatened briefly in the lane, was third.
Winning trainer Jessica Okusko won the Adios orchids in her first try while winning driver Corey Callahan, who had 13 previous Adios starts including eliminations, took his first Adios title.
M&L of Delaware and Victoria Dickinson own Dude’s The Man, a son of American Ideal-Art’s Risk who finished second to Wiggle It Jiggleit in the Meadowlands Pace final but has been hampered at times by lack of early speed. Callahan said he wanted to get the colt into the race early from post 2.
“On these speed-favoring tracks, you can’t circle them from last,” Callahan said. “You can’t get away seventh, be third over and have a shot. I wanted to get away as close as possible, and fourth is where I ended up.”
Although Dude’s The Man was first up from fourth, he had little trouble clearing My Hero Ron, winner of an Adios elimination last week.
“I thought My Hero Ron was just okay last week,” Callahan said. “I came at him last week with Yankee Bounty and almost got him, so I was pretty confident being first up with that horse on the lead.”
Of greater concern was the winner’s persistent battle with shadows. Okusko said she added a Daisy roll and a Pelling pacifier during the week to keep the colt more focused, but their impact was limited.
“I was trying to talk him over the shadows and hold onto him,” Callahan said. “Around the last turn, clouds came over. Someone was looking out for me in the last turn. The clouds covered the sun, and he paced right home.”
Another potential problem for Dude’s The Man vanished in the lane when Lost For Words, right on the winner’s bumper, didn’t finish strongly.
“At the top of the stretch I thought I had a shot,” said Brian Brown, who trains Lost For Words. “He scoped with blood, so he may need more Lasix. Any time a horse bleeds, he’s in trouble.”
Okusko said Dude’s The Man may be pointed to the Cane Pace and also remains eligible to the Battle of the Brandywine, the Little Brown Jug and several stakes at the Red Mile.
“He’s from a great family, and he has great conformation,” she said. “He’s really come into himself. This was the first time he raced on a five-eighths, and he got around it great.”
Story by Evan Pattak for The Meadows Racing. Photo by Chris Gooden Photos.