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Elliott sends speedy 1-2 punch into Graduate Series
Wednesday, June 17, 2015 - from the Meadowlands Media Relations Department

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East Rutherford, NJ --- Through the first two legs of the Graduate Series for 4-year-old pacers, it would be hard to find a trainer holding a stronger hand than Steve Elliott.

Elliott has swept the series so far with his devastating duo of Doo Wop Hanover and Rockeyed Optimist. The pair will finally face each other as part of an overflow field of 12 going the extended 1-1/8 mile distance in the third leg of the Graduate Series on Friday (June 19) at the Meadowlands.

“You never know what will happen in a 12-horse field going that distance,” said Elliott. “We’ll let the drivers decide what to do when the race starts.”

Fred Brown photo
Doo Wop Hanover won his Graduate division on May 25 in 1:47.4, the fastest pacing mile ever at Tioga Downs.

In the opening leg of the series on May 25 at Tioga Downs, Rockeyed Optimist won his division in 1:48.1 while Doo Wop Hanover won his division in 1:47.4, the fastest mile ever at the Upstate New York track. The sons of Rocknroll Hanover came back to each win their respective divisions in leg two of the series at the Meadowlands on June 6 in 1:48.

“Tioga was pretty impressive. The Meadowlands is just a fast track, but I really think they both have 1:47 miles in them,” said Elliott without hesitation.

Both horses are prime examples of why Meadowlands chairman Jeff Gural has advocated for more racing opportunities for 4-year-olds. Doo Wop Hanover and Rockeyed Optimist were talented horses last year, but have blossomed into top-class racehorses after an extra year to develop.

“The older horses all have four :26 second quarters in them which makes them so tough,” said Elliott in explaining 4-year-olds versus older horses. “The 3- and 4-year-olds can give you three :26 second quarters with a :27 second quarter. It’s a big change from three to four and racing against just 4-year-olds puts them on a more even keel.”

Doo Wop Hanover will be reunited with his regular driver John Campbell, who missed driving him in his previous start while racing out of town. Tim Tetrick will once again get the drive on Rockeyed Optimist.

Elliott’s horses are hardly the only top contenders in Friday’s race. Ron Burke sends out a pair of millionaires, recent Confederation Cup winner All Bets Off and last year’s North America Cup winner JK Endofanera. Burke will also be represented by Little Brown Jug champion Limelight Beach.

Friday’s 12-race card also includes the third leg of the Graduate Series for 4-year-old trotters featuring a much-anticipated rematch between champion Father Patrick and the red-hot JL Cruze, who upset Father Patrick two weeks ago in the second leg of the series. The 1:51 win was the eighth straight victory for JL Cruze, who has won 14 out of 17 races since trainer Eric Ell purchased him for $37,000 at last year’s Harrisburg Sale for owners Kenneth Wood, Bill Dittmar, Jr. and Stephen Iaquinta.

Handicappers will also have a pair of six-figure carryovers to chase on Friday in the two Jackpot Super High 5 wagers. The fifth race carryover is $159,224 while the last race carryover is $136,155.

Post time is 7:15 p.m.

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