NGA News - Wayne Strong's youngster Packin The Heat, undefeated in three eliminations, leads the way in tonight's (Thursday's) semi-final 2nd round of Mardi Gras' $75,000 World Classic. Veteran 2009 Classic champ Yahoo Omar, twice a winner in qualifying, is lurking as the second-highest point earner in the stake.
Packin The Heat (Iruska All Star-Noah's Pollywog), who turned 2 last week, will go for his fourth straight qualifying win from the 7 hole in tonight's first race. Packin The Heat, who races for the James E. O'Donnell Kennel, is the only undefeated entry in the stake, leading the field of 40 remaining survivors with 36 points.
Norm Rader has the next two highest point-getters--Yahoo Omar (who turns 4 later this month) and Yahoo Rader, who has a first, second and third in three qualifying races. Both are racing in the Joe Trudden Kennel at Mardis Gras.
Omar (Lonesome Cry-Pin Oak Vicki) will contest with 2010 national win champ Where's Big Cash in the eighth race tonight. The rejuvenated veteran and two-time All-American seems to have discovered the fountain of youth and is on the verge of making his third straight final in the World Classic--a stake he won in 2009 as a stepping-stone to his All-American captaincy and Rural Rube Award that year. Omar's two wins and a third give him 31 points in the stake.
Yahoo Rader is another veteran from the Rader team--a January 2008 son of Dodgem By Design-Top Cat Olympia--who, like Omar, is a Palm Beach stake winner (having won the 2009 Dick Andrews Futurity). Rader, who just missed catching Packin The Heat in his last outing, has 28 points and is in tonight's fourth race. He's won five of his eight starts at Mardi Gras this winter and was 13-5-2-1 in his last 25 starts at Palm Beach.
Strong has another contender in the stake with Abilene Abby (fourth high in points, with 26). The daughter of Mulberry Gus-Iruska Molly B won her first two rounds and finished sixth her last race. She'll be meeting another Palm Beach star, Seeger & Rankin's Its A Phenomenon (sixth highest in points), in the second race this evening.
Others in contention in the stake who'll be seeing action tonight include George Harlan's Slatex Monaco (26 points, Janie Carroll Kennel); Atkinson & Tidwell's Dairyland's Dream (24 points, Trudden Kennel); Clayton Black's Rusky Husky (24 points, Black Kennel); and Vince Berland's Tiger Boy (24 points, Brindle Kennel).