IT WAS billed as Round Three of a budding rivalry between two superstar pacers in Lazarus N (Yannick Gingras) and McWicked (David Miller) and the contest lived up to every bit of the hype, as on Friday (Sept. 21) Lazarus N defeated a hard-charging McWicked bya neck in a scintillating edition of the $177,000 Hoosier Park Pacing Derby at Hoosier Park Racing & Casino in 1:48.4.
“He felt very good when I was warming him up so I was confident he would race well tonight,” said Jimmy Takter, who conditions Lazarus N for Taylor Made Farm. “We knowwhat a talented horse he is, and he really seems to like it here at Hoosier Park.”
Unlike his last race at Woodbine Mohawk Park on Sept. 15 where Gingras drove Lazarus N rather conservatively after his second place finish to McWicked in the $462,000Canadian Pacing Derby on Sept. 1, the 6-year-old stallion was placed right on the lead prior to the first turn. Leading the field of nine through a first quarter in :26 and the half-mile in :55, Lazarus N looked very strong on the lead he maintained over FilibusterHanover and Split The House.
As Lazarus N hit the three-quarter pole in 1:23, McWicked was pacing comfortably in fifth place and when Western Fame moved first-over, he received a perfect second-overtrip to commence his bid for victory.
Around the final turn, the separation Lazarus N had placed between himself and the rest of the field began to vanish while McWicked swung to the outside to close withhis customary power.
As the wire loomed ever closer, McWicked was gaining on Lazarus N with every stride, but Lazarus N was determined and held off McWicked by a diminishing neck. Donttellmeagain(Tim Tetrick) used a :24.3 final quarter to finish third.
“He felt just like he did the first time we came to Hoosier Park,” Gingras said. “He is definitely back to himself.”
- EMILY GASKIN