Will No No Yankee and Wellwood Hanover, two of the nation's top 3-year-old pacers, run away and hide? Or can Miller's Effort, a late-blooming colt, pull another upset?
Those are the questions to be answered tonight in the $50,000 William E. Miller Memorial Pace at Rosecroft's premier race are in the event for fourth and fifth money, which represents more then they could normally win in an overnight race.
Nevertheless, an interesting race should unfold, with the expected warm weather and a fast track leaving Jazzy Spark's track record of 1:58-2/5 in jeopardy.
No No Yankee was the 2-year-old pacing champion. winner of 10 to 11 races and $211,000 as a juvenile. The trend this season has been for the top3-year-olds to get late starts because of severe winter weather and rich stakes races in the fall.
So, when No No Yankee made his seasonal debut under trainer-driver Walter Ross last Friday at the Meadows, he was short. finishing second by 3 3/4 lengths to Miller's Effort in 1:58.
That included a final half mile of 57 2/5 by Miller's Effect. Unlike his chief competition, which has regal pacing bloodlines of Best Of All and Bye Bye Bird, Miller's Effort is some-what of a commor, sired by a decent stakes horse named Tarport Effrat.
What was so impressive about Miller's Effort was that he led wire to wire under new trainer-driver Lew Williams, who purchased the horse for $100,000 for Jean and Ed Friedberg of Sacramento, Calif, last month.
As a 2-year-old, Miller's Effort won less than $7,000. This season, he has won seven of 14 starts for $27,900, and won five of his last six outings.
Meanwhile, Wellwood Hanover gives the race another dimension. Another son of Best Of All, this colt from the Billy Haughton stable is a frontrunner, almost guaranteed to give the race a fast pace.
However, Wellwood also was short last week in his seasonal debut under trainer-driver Peter Haughton.Taking the lead in an exceptionally fast second quarter at the Meadowlands, Wellwood led until the stretch but faded to sixth place.
Wellwood won $160,000 last year, and that included No No Yankee's only defeat as a 2-year-old, when Wellwood beat his rival by 8 1/2 lengths when Yankee was forced to race outside the entire mile at Yonkers Race-way.
Wellwood will be driven tonight by Doug Miller, son of woner Albert Miller.
No No Yankee won out over his top challenhers in the draw for post position, getting No.2 to No.3 for Miller's Effort and No.6 for Wellwood Hanover. The other entries are No.1, Forrest Wave, Wayne Smullin: No.4. K.C. Three, Windy Donoway: No.5, Keystone Stuart, Pete Leszczynski; No.7, Aim, Ed Gannon.