More Big Miles At Big M
Arockin Hanover stepped up into the $30,000 A-1/Free-For-All Handicap Pace and was a repeat winner at The Meadowlands on Saturday night, circling a field of seven for his first sub-1:50 triumph.
Arockin Hanover rallied from dead last with a :26.3 final frame to win in 1:49.2 for trainer Jason Robinson and owner Robert Main. The victory was one of three on the card for driver John Campbell.
Campbell also steered Hypnotic Blue Chip to a sub-1:50 victory in the B-1/A-2 Handicap for trainer Kevin McDermott and owner Francis Azur. The millionaire stallion's 1:49.3 win was his second in a row.
The fastest mile of the night went to Dovuto Hanover, who looked like a powerhouse drawing clear impressively in a 1:48.4 triumph in the B-1/A-2 Handicap for three-year-olds. Pierce, also a three-time winner on the card, drove the son of Dragon Again for trainer Darran Cassar and owner Marty Scharf.
The 2013 Rising Star Award winner, Corey Callahan, led all drivers with four Saturday scores, and more impressively he did so in his last five drives of the night and came within one length of winning the last five races on the card.
The first of his four wins came with a repeat winner in Road Untravelled, who took the ninth race B-1 Pace in a 1:50.3 dead-heat for trainer Gail Wrubel and owners Mike Simons and Christopher Giaccio. 'The Captain' came right back in the 10th race with A Sweet Ride, who scored in the $50,000 Claiming pacing event in 1:50.3 for trainer Aaron Lambert and C&G Racing Stable. Callahan narrowly missed in the 11th race, but came back to win the 12th with a rallying Late Night Joke in the C-1 for three-year-olds in 1:51 for P.J. Fraley and Bamond Racing. Callahan put a bow on the night winning the C-1 event to close the card with heavy favourite Avenue Hanover in 1:52.1 for owner/trainer Mark Silva.
The dead-heat on the card was not only one of Callahan’s four wins, but served as a triumphant ending to a marvelous career. Forest Vic A, having never won a race at the Meadowlands in his 14 years, got his nose on the wire simultaneously with Road Untraveled to dead-heat for the win and close out his career on the highest of high notes. Forest Vic A was campaigned by Karen Garland for Night Rogue Racing Stable, Bruce Kay and Steve Smith, who was in the bike for the gelding’s last trip around the oval.
While there were many storylines on the racetrack Saturday night, the most important was in the final numbers. Comparing to the opening night Saturday of last season, the results could not have been any better. Most notably, the live handle of $360,212 yielded a 56 percent increase over this same day in 2012. The total handle of $3,248,413 was a 12 percent increase over that same card and marked the first time the Meadowlands eclipsed $3 million in the month of December since December 27, 2008.
Racing returns as we flip the calendar to 2014 on Thursday night, featuring a 13-race program and the opening round of the Super Bowl Trotting Series containing four divisions. Post time for the Thursday card is 7:15 p.m.
(With files from Meadowlands)