EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. (AP) - Captaintreacherous was the pacer of the year in 2012 and nothing seemingly has changed this year.
Trainer Tony Alagna's 3-year-old will try to keep his undefeated season rolling when he takes on nine rivals in the in $635,750 Meadowlands Pace on Saturday.
The Tim Tetrick-driven pacer, who has already won the North America Cup and Hempt Memorial this year, drew the No. 5 post position earlier this week and has been made the has been made the 6-5 morning line favorite. The colt received a bye into the final based on seasonal earnings.
Also receiving byes were Alagna-trained Wake Up Peter and Twilight Bonfire. Wake Up Peter is winless in six races but has earned $156,225 with third-place finishes in the North America Cup and New Jersey Sire Stakes championship. Twilight Bonfire has two wins in five starts and $319,336 this season for trainer Danny Collins and owner Bob Key.
Captaintreacherous will be hard to beat. The colt won 8 of 10 starts last season, earned $918,253 and became the first 2-year-old in 25 years to be chosen Pacer of the Year. This year, he is undefeated in five races, with $808,293 in purses.
``I don't know, he seems invincible,'' said trainer Robin Schadt, whose colt Odds On Equuleus is the 4-1 third choice. ``He's really a tough horse. He looks like he's vulnerable and going to get beat and the next thing you know he just digs in and wins. That's what great horses are made of.''
David Miller agrees. He will drive Twilight Bonfire, who finished second to Captaintreacherous in the $980,000 North America Cup on June 15 at Mohawk Racetrack in Ontario.
``Captaintreacherous, he's just a beast of a horse,'' Miller said. ``He's got that desire to get to the wire. I tell you what, few horses have that. He fights to get his head in front. That's something special.''
Sunshine Beach, trained by Mark Steacy and driven by George Brennan, won an elimination this past weekend to determine the remainder of the 10-horse Meadowlands Pace field. He defeated Odds On Equuleus by a neck in 1:48 and will start the final from post No. 2. He is 3-1 on the morning line.
Sunshine Beach has won 4 of 6 starts this year, including a division of the Somebeachsomewhere Stakes at Mohawk.
Following Sunshine Beach and Odds On Equuleus into the final from the elimination were Resistance Futile, Rockin Amadeus, Beach Memories, Johny Rock and Sir Cary's Z Tam.
``I think the final is going to be action packed,'' Miller said. ``It's going to be a good race. Odds On Equuleus and Sunshine Beach are very sharp right now.''
Odds On Equuleus, who battled sickness and foot troubles earlier this year and is winless in four starts this season, is one of the two horses to beat Captaintreacherous. He defeated Captaintreacherous, making his career debut, by a neck at the Meadowlands on July 20, 2012.
The other horse to knock off Captaintreacherous is Rockin Amadeus, who sprung his upset in last October's Breeders Crown at Woodbine Racetrack. Captaintreacherous finished third in the Breeders Crown, with Wake Up Peter getting the second spot.
The field in post-position order is Odds On Equuleus, Sunshine Beach, Resistance Futile, Twilight Bonfire, Captaintreacherous, Sir Cary's Z Tam, Johny Rock, Beach Memories, Wake Up Peter, Rockin Amadeus.