'Next Level', 'Dovescry' Prove 'Versatile'
Next Level Stuff and When Dovescry were the winners of their respective $30,000 divisions for the second leg of the Miss Versatility Series for Open mares on the trot at The Meadowlands Saturday night (May 29).
Next Level Stuff made it two wins in two Miss Versatility starts in the opening division for driver Tim Tetrick and trainer Jim Campbell. The four-year-old daughter of Sebastian K S-Nantab sat a four-hole to the quarter, was out and after leader A Fancy Face soon thereafter, made the top at the half in a brisk :54.4, and did not have an anxious moment from there, scoring by a safe half-length over Weslynn Quest in 1:52 over a track rated ‘good’. A Fancy Face was third.
“There were two or three leavers being very aggressive,” said Tetrick, “so I settled in. Then we made a move to the front. I was hoping she’d be tight enough after going :54 to the half. It’s good that I got a breather in the third quarter [of :29.1], especially after being off for three weeks.”
Next Level Stuff, a 2020 Breeders Crown champion, returned $3.20 to her backers as the 3-5 favourite in the seven-horse field, lifting her lifetime stats to 15 wins from 26 starts, good for earnings of $683,066.
The Brett Pelling-trained When Dovescry scored in the second division in wire-to-wire fashion as driver Dave Miller was permitted to cut out slow fractions on the point after the track was upgraded to 'fast'.
“She was coming into the race really sharp,” said Miller. “She got off on the right foot and got [to the lead] real easy.”
After reaching the quarter in :27.4, Miller and When Dovescry hit the half and three-quarters in a leisurely :58 and 1:27.3, respectively, meaning the 2019 Hambletonian Oaks champion had trotted her middle half in :59.4.
The five-year-old daughter of Muscle Hill-Cedar Dove then sprinted home in :26.2 to easily defeat the pocket-sitting Sorella, the Oaks winner from 2020, by one-and-a-half lengths in 1:54. Felicityshagwell S was third in the six-horse field.
“They let me get away with cheap fractions,” said Miller. “And I took it. She was very strong at the end and she was happy with herself after the race as well.”
When Dovescry’s lifetime bankroll swelled to $1,144,158 in winning for 13th time from 31 starts.
PRAYERS FOR JOE: The seventh race was marred by a three-horse spill nearing the wire. Joe Bongiorno, driving Pat Stanley N, had to be taken to hospital with a left arm injury. Doug McNair, driving Yacht Seelster, walked away and continued to drive the remainder of the card. Andy McCarthy, guiding Incredible Shark, had an apparent knee injury and opted off his drives for the rest of the night and went home. Unfortunately, Incredible Shark had to be euthanized. The other horses suffered no apparent major injuries.
A LITTLE MORE: All-source handle totaled $3,933,6222 on the 14-race program. When you add in the $3.1 million wagered Friday, it gave the Big M eight weekends when total action topped the $7-million mark during 2021.
David Miller led the driver colony with three winners.
Live racing resumes Friday (June 4) at 6:20 p.m. (EDT).