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Vegas Vacation looks to win big at the Meadows

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The Meadows will conduct a “Pick and Pray” handicapping contest Saturday, with a free berth to the 2014 World Harness Handicapping Contest, valued at $1,000, awarded to the winner. In the contest, participants must place hypothetical $2 win and $2 place wagers on a number of designated races on Saturday's card. The winner will receive an automatic entry to the $100,000 WHHC final April 2014 at the Meadowlands. The Pick and Pray qualifier is limited to the first 1,200 entries. Visit HorseTourneys.com to register.

By John Grupp
Wednesday, July 17, 2013, 9:09 p.m.
 

Two elimination races Saturday will settle the field for the $600,000 Delvin Miller Adios.

If trainer Casie Coleman has her way, there will be a Vegas Vacation next weekend at the Meadows Racetrack and Casino.

Coleman-trained Vegas Vacation, coming off a pair of narrow losses to harness racing's top-rated colt, and Sunfire Blue Chip were installed as favorites for the nine-horse eliminations.

The top four finishers in each qualifier — races 6-7 on the 15-race card — advance to the Adios final July 27, the premier race of the year at the Washington County track.

“I couldn't be any happier,” said Coleman, the 2012 Canadian Trainer of the Year. “He's sharp and healthy, and everything seems to be good.”

Vegas Vacation, who lost by a neck to top 3-year-old Captaintreacherous on back-to-back weekends last month at Pocono Downs, is the 3-1 favorite and will leave from the rail in the second elimination.

The son of Bettor's Delight is followed in the odds by second choice Sunshine Beach (4-1).

In the first elimination, Sunfire Blue Chip, who will be driven by Hall of Famer Dave Palone, is the 2-1 pick, followed by second-choice Dedi's Dragon (3-1), trained by Ron Burke.

Palone, the all-time winningest driver in North America with more than 15,000 victories, will try to take another step toward his first Adios final win since 1999 and second overall. All told, Palone is 6 for 68 in Adios final and elimination races.

The Meadows-based driver guided Sunfire Blue Chip to third place at odds of 11-1 in the $500,000 Hempt Memorial on June 29 at Pocono Downs. The son of American Ideal finished behind Captaintreacherous and fast-closing Vegas Vacation, missing by a half-length.

“I think he's one of the top candidates in the race,” Palone said of Sunfire Blue Chip. “He put up a good fight against the top colts, and he didn't have the easiest of trips. I think he's got a great shot.”

Captaintreacherous, undefeated this year, won the $635,000 Meadowlands Pace on Saturday and isn't running in the Adios.

Palone also feels good about long shot Ultimate Beachboy (20-1), whom he will drive in the other elimination.

“I think that horse is a huge sleeper in that race,” Palone said.

John Grupp is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. Reach him at jgrupp@tribweb.com or via Twitter @JohnGrupp_Trib.

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