Yonkers, NY --- She entered the preliminaries with a lot of questions. She enters the final with a lot of supporters.
That's what happens after See You At Peelers won all four of her legs (including an opening-round dead-heat) in Yonkers Raceway's Blue Chip Matchmaker for Open pacing mares, then won the draw for Saturday night's (April 28) $297,000 final (race seven, approximate post time 9:20 p.m.).
The See You At Peelers saga is well known in these circles, and even beyond.
That's what happens after winning 22 consecutive races to start a career. The 4-year-old statebred daughter of Bettor's Delight earned national notice with her precocious perfection, which including beating the boys here in last season's $307,734 Art Rooney Pace.
However, three consecutive losses to end her 3-year-old season, and persistent heart issues, left her future very much up in the air.
"I didn't know if she'd make it back," trainer Jimmy Takter said. "We had her on medication, but that didn't help. She needed about 60 days of total rest, and then we started with her again.
"We had aimed for this series. She loves racing here (Yonkers, nine-for-nine lifetime), but this is a tough place to start a season. It's five weeks of hard racing (though See You At Peelers skipped the fourth leg), then the final.
"She qualified three times at the Meadowlands, and even then, I wasn't sure. Even after she won the first week, I didn't know. It probably wasn't until the second week (down the road from post position seven in 1:52.2) that I felt she was back."
Now 26-for-29 in her career, See You At Peelers has earnings of $1,573,260 for co-owners (breeder) Christina Takter, Jim Fielding and John Fielding.
"She's acting like her old self, though we're always keeping an eye on her, making sure she's hydrated," her trainer said.
As for the final -- See You At Peelers was tabbed (by the author) as the 4-5 early choice, with Brian Sears doing the honors.
"She trained awesome, but there are some very tough mares in there," said Takter.
The complete draw, with drivers and morning line odds: 1-See You At Peelers (Brian Sears, 4-5), 2-Rocklamation (Yannick Gingras, 5-1, coupled with Ginger And Fred), 3-Anndrovette (Tim Tetrick, 3-1), 4-Fox Valley Sage (Cat Manzi, 30-1), 5-Ginger And Fred (Jason Bartlett, 5-1, coupled with Rocklamation), 6-Billmar Scooter (Eric Goodell, 20-1), 7-Chancey Lady (Andy Miller, 10-1), and 8-Western Silk (George Brennan, 4-1). Anndrovette and Chancey Lady go uncoupled due to bona fide separate ownership.
The field for Saturday night's $455,000 final of the George Morton Levy Memorial Pacing Series (race nine, approximate post 10 p.m.): 1-Blatantly Good (George Brennan, 8-1), 2-Art Z (Brett Miller, 6-1), 3-Atochia (Ron Pierce, 6-5, coupled with Foiled Again), 4-Fitz's Z Tam (Brian Sears, 8-1), 5-Strand Hanover (Luc Ouellette, 10-1), 6-Nob Hill High (Jordan Stratton, 20-1), 7-Real Nice (Jason Bartlett, 9-5), and 8-Foiled Again (Yannick Gingras, 6-5, coupled with Atochia).
The Levy and Matchmaker are the sport's two richest North American races of the season to date.