Brian Brown is ready to get a renewed look at a refreshed Done Well, who returns to harness racing action for the first time in three weeks as the 5-2 morning-line favorite in Saturday's first of two eliminations for the Delvin Miller Adios Pace for the Orchids at The Meadows.
Done Well, who was second to Lather Up in mid-June's North America Cup, got time off following a fourth-place finish in the consolation division of the Max C. Hempt Memorial on June 30. The colt led midway through the race, but had been wide around the first turn from post eight in a :25.3 opening quarter and reached the half in :53.2. He nearly held for second place, missing by only one-quarter length.
A week earlier in his Hempt elimination, Done Well raced uncovered on the outside in a :53.1 closing half-mile, challenging eventual winner Lather Up for the lead before missing a spot in the final by a neck.
In his remaining seven career starts, Done Well has five wins and two seconds.
"He's really only had one bad race, and he kind of had a reason," Brown said. "He just needed a break after that last race. We just gave him a little rest, tried to freshen him back up, and we'll give it a try again Saturday.
"I haven't lost confidence in him, but he's got to come back again and show that he can go with those. We trained him today (Wednesday) and he trained good. He had a week off after the Hempt consolation and this is his third training back. I didn't over-train him, just trained him enough. I hope he's tight. If he makes the final he should be even tighter."
Brown won last year's Adios with Fear The Dragon and is trying to become the first trainer since Brett Pelling in 2004 (Timesareachanging) and 2005 (Village Jolt) to win the event for 3-year-old pacers in consecutive years. Brown trains Done Well for owners James Stambaugh, Wingfield Brothers LLC, Milton Leeman, and Alan Keith.
Done Well, who won a Pennsylvania Sire Stakes division at The Meadows on the day of last year's eliminations for the Adios, will start his elim Saturday from post seven with driver Tim Tetrick. The eight-horse field also includes American History, the 7-2 second choice from post three, and Wes Delight, the 9-2 third choice from post eight.
In the second elimination, Meadowlands Pace runner-up Dorsoduro Hanover is the 2-1 favorite.
The first four finishers in each $25,000 elimination and the fifth-place finisher with higher career earnings return for the final.
The connections of elimination winners will select their post positions for the final, with the selection order determined by draw. All other post positions will be determined by a draw on Tuesday (July 24).
"It's not where I'd want to be," Brown said about Done Well's elimination post. "I'd like to be the four or five, but at The Meadows I'm not sure the seven isn't better than the rail. It's a slanted gate so it's a little easier to get out of there. That's Timmy's decision on what happens there."
Done Well is a son of Well Said out of Dagnabit Hanover and was purchased for $45,000 at the 2016 Standardbred Horse Sale. He was undefeated in four races at age 2, but saw his season cut short by injury. In the spring he was slowed by a lung abscess, which delayed his start to this year's campaign.
"I would have liked to race more last year to get him more seasoned and we would have found out more about him, but I don't think it's a big detour this year," Brown said. "The bigger problem was the abscess. He knew how to be a racehorse when he came back this year; the abscess is what set us back and hurt us the most (coming into this season)."
Racing at The Meadows on Saturday begins at 1:05 p.m. (EDT). The Adios eliminations are races 12 and 13. Following are the fields.
Race 12/Elimination 1
1-Summer Travel-David Miller-Andrew Harris-10/1
2-No Easy Day-Matt Kakaley-Ron Burke-8/1
3-American History-Yannick Gingras-Tony Alagna-7/2
4-Shadow Cat-Brett Miller-John Butenschoen-6/1
5-Bambino Joe-Aaron Merriman-Greg Wright Jr.-10/1
6-Gd Western Joe-Dave Palone-Ron Burke-8/1
7-Done Well-Tim Tetrick-Brian Brown-5/2
8-Wes Delight-Corey Callahan-Mark Harder-9/2
Race 13/Elimination 2
1-Springsteen-Simon Allard-Rene Allard-6/1
2-Larry Karr-Yannick Gingras-Ron Burke-4/1
3-Dorsoduro Hanover-Matt Kakaley-Ron Burke-2/1
4-Hitman Hill-Brett Miller-Chris Oakes-10/1
5-Thinkbig Dreambig-Jordan Stratton-Jimmy Takter-9/2
6-Odds On Lauderdale-Andy McCarthy-Tony Alagna-8/1
7-Western Beachboy-Jim Pantaleano-Christen Pantaleano-10/1
8-Babes Dig Me-David Miller-Tony Alagna-8/1
by Ken Weingartner, for the USTA