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Delaware connections in half of starters in $1-million Meadowlands Pace

Saturday, July 16, 2011  By: Marv Bachrad


Horses bred or owned by Delaware residents have come a long way in recent years. Five of the 10 starters in the $1-million Meadowlands Pace on Saturday, July 16 are either owned or bred by a Delaware connection.

Even though trainer George Teague of Harrington, Del. has three colts entered in the prestigious seven-figure finals on Saturday, none will be the race favorite, though one, Custard The Dragon, owned by Fannin Racing of Lincoln, Del. and Teague, will no longer be a longshot. The talented sophomore is second favorite at 4-1 with Big Jim, the morning line choice. Delaware-bred champion colt Powerful Mist is listed third favorite at 5-1.

Custard The Dragon has won two early season top events but both at longshot odds.

The name Custard The Dragon is drawn from an Ogden Nash poem about a cowardly dragon who becomes brave. He is driven by Teague’s son, Montrell.

Already this season, Custard The Dragon has twice been upset winner of early season major stakes events. The three-year-old recently won the final edition of the $500,000 Hoosier Cup at Hoosier Park, Indiana. The colt has won four of nine starts this year and more than $500,000 in purses.

In addition to Custard The Dragon, trainer and co-owner Teague also starts two others both longshots, Feel Like A Fool, listed at 12-1 and Wink N Atcha, 15-1.

In 2007, Trainer and co-owner Teague won the Meadowlands Pace with Southwind Lynx. The Harrington-based trainer has had more Meadowlands Pace starters than all of the other Pace trainers combined with 10 while Teague’s son, Montrell, is making his Pace debut.

Custard The Dragon leaves from post 3 in a field of 10 starters. “ All my horses drew well,” explains Teague. “The best spot [in Meadowlands Pace history] is post 5, where Wink N Atcha [Yannick Gingras drives].”

In assessing the Meadowlands Pace eliminations, Teague said that he was satisfied with the performance of his trio. Feel Like A Fool [driven by Brian Sears], who finished fourth in his Pace elim, Teague states,“ he’s just had bad luck this year. He’s been out of position every time he’s raced. You’re not going to win very many races coming from 9th or coming from behind with slow fractions. He’s had a little bit of steering issues, but he’s better now.”

When asked about his 20-year-old son, Montrell driving in his first $1-million race, Teague said he is proud of his son’s driving skills, and adds that he does not give him driving advice. “I don’t tell any other driver how to drive and I don’t tell him either. But if he drives as well as he has been, he’s got as good a shot as anyone. And his colt is very versatile. With all the money we pay in staking and starting fees, that’s all we ask—just give them a chance.”

Two other Meadowlands Pace starters have strong Delaware connections.

Powerful Mist, the Delaware Standardbred Breeders Fund champion is trained by Seaford, Del. based Wayne Givens for Niel (cq) Gargiulo of Milford, Del., Louie Pagliaroni and Legacy of Delaware, also of Seaford. Andy Miller will drive from post 6. Another contestant is Roll With Joe, with Hall of Famer Ron Pierce in the bike behind the starter at 6-1 odds, from post 8.

Custard The Dragon, Powerful Mist, Betterthancheddar, and Roll With Joe were bred by Winbak Farm, owner of Delaware’s leading breeding farm.

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