Reigning divisional champ Walner returned to the racetrack with a stunning 1:51.2 qualifying win in the rain.
Saturday’s (June 17) Meadowlands morning with 18 2-year-old races and two qualifying events for older horses, which included champion Walner, began at 9 a.m. on a cloudy, windless morning with temperatures in the mid-60’s. It would turn out to be a long, strange 20-race trip with odd, gloomy weather conditions turning the track wet for the last third and a warm-up accident throwing Ray Schnittker out of the bike, although he walked off and returned to drive.
On the track it was Hambletonian winter-book favorite Walner returning after a six-week absence from the track. He and driver Tim Tetrick would find sloppy conditions and just two opponents for his 19th race qualifier but no details would hinder today’s performance. Basically by himself the entire mile, Walner cruised through fraction of :28.3, :57, and 1:24.4 before trotting home in :26.3 with Tetrick a statue in the bike to stop the clock in 1:51.2. He could not have looked better.
As far as the 2-year-old races, it was Erv Miller’s day as he and his son Marcus brought in a powerful string of young horses to try The Meadowlands mile and left with smiling faces. They won five races on the day.
Trotting filly Sevenbuyeleven (Chapter Seven-Musclelini) opened the day’s races with an impressive come-from-behind 1:58.3 win for Tim Tetrick. Third through the 1:01 half and 1:30.2 three-quarters, Sevenbuyeleven advanced when Foxy Fantasy (Explosive Matter-Meucci Madness), steered by Åke Svanstedt, broke in the pocket. She then tracked down Caviart Cady (Credit Winner-Order By Wish) and Marcus Johansson, who had led from the start, and who eventually was second best. Linda Toscano trains the winner for Ken Jacobs, who paid $50,000 for her at the Standardbred Horse Sale at Harrisburg. Foxy Fantasy recovered to be third.
Manchego (Muscle Hill-Secret Magic),in rein to Yannick Gingras ,won her second qualifier for the Jimmy Takter stable, leading all the way in 1:57.4 with a :27.2 final quarter. She has been impressive in both starts and held sway here over Seviyorum’s (Donato Hanover-Armbro Domino) and Andy Miller’s late bid as well as Tiffany’s Flash’s (Cantab Hall-Up Front Laura) with Tetrick. Manchego was a $120,000 Lexington Selected Yearling Sale purchase by Black Horse Racing, John Fielding and Herb Liverman.
Svanstedt won the third race with Knutsson Trotting’s Fury Road (Muscle Mass-Bar Ballad). Raced mid-pack through the 1:02 half. Fury Road tracked down Sound Check (Yankee Glide-Wind Stroll) and Andy Miller in deep stretch for the 1:59.3 mile with a :28 last quarter. The filly was a $60,000 Standardbred Horse Sale at Harrisburg buy for her connections.
Marcus Miller drove Supergirl Riley (Muscle Mass-Crown Laurel) to a 2:00 win in the fourth race. The pair raced in third as Southwind Cookie (Chapter Seven-Southwind Cabernet) and Svanstedt, then Holy Bones (Donato Hanover-On The Bones) with Tetrick set moderate fractions. The filly then trotted by willingly through the :28.2 final stanza to get up over Holy Bones. It was the first winner of the day for trainer Erv Miller for the interests of Paymaq Racing, George Golemes and Harvey Eisman, who paid $32,000 for this filly at the Lexington Selected Yearling Sale last year.
Vivacious Allie was another Svanstedt winner, emerging from the pocket to take over in the stretch then holding off the late rush of Special Hill (Muscle Hill-Honor Thy Daughter) and Takter in 200:3 mile with a :29 last quarter. The Muscle Hill-KD Girl filly was a $120,000 Lexington Selected Yearling Sale buy for Hans Enggren.
Trotting colts came out after a break and Wolfgang, a sharp looking son of first crop sire My MVP out of Summer Savory took the sixth race for trainer/driver Jimmy Takter in 1:57.4. Max’s Beast (Cantab Hall-Contender Hanover) and Andy Miller cut the mile through the 1:31 three-quarters. Takter then tipped Wolfgang to the outside and went by to an open-length win. Brothers In Arms (Cantab Hall-Gala Dreams) and Gingras trotted into second while Six Pack (Muscle Mass-Pleasing Lady) with Sarah Svanstedt closed up the inside to be third. Brixton Medical, Goran Falk, Bud Hatfield and breeder Fair Island Farm share ownership of the winner, who was taken home for $60,000 from the Lexington Selected Yearling Sale.
The $120,000 Lexington Selected Yearling Sale graduate Bautista (Muscle Hill-Ever Gorgeous) and Gingras won for the second time, trotting home in :27.4 on the end of a pocket trip to finish the 1:59.2 mile. The colt hails from the Takter barn for owners Brixton Medical, RAW Equine, Herb Liverman and Joe Sbrocco. Haveitalltogether (Cantab Hall-We’ve Got It All) and Andy Miller rallied for second while Shoshie Deo (Wishing Stone-Fortune Dream) and Dewayne Miller were third.
You Know You Do was one of the highest priced yearlings sold at auction last fall, fetching a bid of $350,000 from owners Howard Taylor, Order By Stable, Bud Hatfield, Marvin Katz and Al Libfeld who entrusted him to Jimmy Takter to train; the results to this point indicate that it was money well spent. The Muscle Hill-You Want Me colt won for the second time, this in 1:58.3 off a 1:02 half under confident Takter handling. Toast Of Lindy (Cantab Hall-Bellini Lindy) and Andy Miller made late gains to be second with Meadowbranch Ricky (Muscle Massive-Meadownbranch Jill) and Svanstadt third.
Farsetti Hanover (Marcus Miller) was the second winner from Erv Miller’s barn this morning, setting all the fractions then sprinting home in :27.1 on the end of a 2:00.3 mile over Levitation (Kadabra-Southwind Amiga) and Scott Zeron with Final Dream (Cantab Hall-Oh Sweet Baby) and Svanstedt third. The winner is a big, handsome Donato Hanover-Finesse Hanover colt that Miller, GT Golemes and DM Prushnok purchased for amere $27,000 at the Standardbred Horse Sale at Harrisburg.
Pacing fillies began in race 10 and first crop sire Betterthancheddar had a winner in the sharp looking All On Top Hanover who is out of Allamerican Apex. Marcus Miller was the winning driver for the second time in as many starts for trainer Erv Miller. She set slow fractions then took right off when asked through a :26.1 final quarter that included a slight ripple mid-stretch when changing gears on the end of the 1:56.4 mile. Better Than Happy (Betterthancheddar-Happy Doris) and Andy Miller were second while Sand Artist (Art Major-Parlee Beach) with Tetrick followed the winner around the track to be second and third respectively. Erv Miller Stable, Ron Michelon and GT Golemes plucked their $14,000 bargain from the Goshen Yearling Sale.
Michelle’s Jazz (Roll With Joe-Michelle’s Dream) steered by George Dennis was a 1:57.2 winner benefitting from a ground-saving trip to skim the cones late and just nip Speedo Miss (Roll With Joe-String Bikini) and Joe Bongiorno with Ideal Talker (Western Ideal-Flibbertigibbet) and Andrew McCarthy. The filly was a $15,000 Lexington Selected Yearling Sale purchase for George and Tina Dennis Racing and is trained by Joe Columbo.
Rainbow Room (Dave Miller) wowed the crowd again this morning turning on the jets for a :26.4 end to another 1:55.2 mile under no urging. The royally bred Somebeachsomewhere-filly who is out of champion Rainbow Blue has done everything with ease thus far for trainer Joe Holloway and owners Crawford Farms, Val D’Or Farms and Ted Gewertz. Rainbow Room was a $100,000 Lexington Selected Yearling purchase. KJ’s Beckah (American Ideal-Upfrontandpersonal) with Tetrick was a good second and Eden (Somebeachsomewhere-Olivette Hanover) with Brett Miller were third.
Kissin In The Sand (Somebeachsomewhere-Kiss Me Kate) with Gingras was a 1:54.4 winner flashing good late speed as he closed from third with a :27.3 final quarter to just get up over Newsday (Art Major-Good News Lady) and David Miller while With Wings (American Ideal-Maximum Bet with Bongiorno were third. The winner is trained by Nancy Johansson for Marvin Katz and Bud Hatfield Stable who paid $130,000 at the Standardbred Horse Sale in Harrisburg for the filly.
The 14th race had some talent to flash and Nutcracker Sweet (Bettor’s Delight-Sweet Future) with Tetrick lived up to his pedigree and price as the $150,000 Standardbred Horse Sale in Harrisburg yearling from the dam of two Breeders Crown winners in Sweet Lou and Bettor Sweet was a 1:55 winner. Third through early fractions, Nutcracker Sweet fanned off the cover of Born To Be Bad (Big Bad John-Cruzin Angel) with Andy Miller then outdueled that one to the wire through a :26.2 final quarter. Jimmy Takter trains the colt for Howard Taylor and Order By Stable.
As consistent rains turned the race track into a somewhat sticky surface, Karpathian Kid (Somebeachsomewhere-Vysoke Tatry) with Marcus Miller was a 1:55.2 winner gaining widest of all through the last quarter in :27 to photo out Prophet Blue Chip (Rock N Roll Heaven-Weeping Wannabe) with Andy Miller and Macadoodledoo (Somebeachsomewhere-Piroutte Hanover) and Gingras on the wire. The homebred colt is owned by breeders David and Don Prushnok along with DJ Miller and LM Means and was the fourth winner of the day for trainer Erv Miller.
The Erv Miller show continued with Suddenly Sam (Somebeachsomewhere-Always True) winning the 16th race with the younger Miller in the bike, coming from well off the pace to get up in the shadow of the wire through the :27.2 final quarter of the 1:56 mile. JK Fielding (Well Said-Someheartsomewhere) and Gingras were second while the mile-cutter Key Advisor (Somebeachsomewhere-Credit Rating) and Zeron held for third. Ron Michelon, David Miller and Daniel Plouffe paid $115,000 for Suddenly Sam at the Standardbred Horse Sale at Harrisburg last year.
The top priced pacing colt sold last fall, Pro Beach who brought $450,000 at the Lexington Selected Yearling Sale, was a very impressive 1:55.1 winner for Gingras. He sat a nice trip just off the speed through the 1:28.4 three-quarters then sailed up the inside through the length of the stretch to just get by the gritty Hayden Hanover (Somebeachsomewhere-Hana Hanover) and Andy Miller, who had set those fractions. Paprike Blue Chip (Roll With Joe-Bliss N Vinegar) and Corey Callahan were third. Brixton Medical, Marvin Katz and Hatfield Stables own the Takter trainee, who is a son of two champions in Somebeachsomewhere-Darlin’s Delight.
Joe Holloway has some real prospects this season and the veteran trainer sent out the pacing colt Closing Statement (Tetrick) to win impressively in 1:54.2 with a :26.3 last quarter mile on a track that by now had turned sloppy. Closing Statement (Somebeachsomewhere-Ideal Newton) led all the way and repelled the late bid of Decoy (Somebeachsomewhere-Live Entertainment), driven by Gingras, to score. Val D’Or Farms, Rojan Stable and Ted Gewertz are the owners of the $125,000 Standardbred Horse Sale at Harrisburg purchase.
Live racing resumes tonight at 7:15 p.m. with the simulcast of the North America Cup card as a highlight of the evening.