For the first time this meet, there was a back-to-back winner in the Free For All Handicap Pace at The Meadowlands and his name is Doctor Butch.
Doctor Butch showed good speed early in the mile for Tim Tetrick, who elected to sit the pocket behind the hard-leaving Beach Memories. The pacesetter established an opening quarter of :26.3 and while not feeling any pressure on the lead, settled down and reached the half-mile in :54.4. From there, Beach Memories picked up the pace, with Casimir Jitterbug stalling first over. But Doctor Butch was able to stick with the leader through a third quarter of :27-seconds flat. Wake Up Peter kicked off dull cover and came with his rally in the stretch as Doctor Butch took dead aim from the pocket. The field closed in on Beach Memories nearing the wire, with Doctor Butch grabbing the lead and holding off the rally of Wake Up Peter to score in a sensational 1:48.4.
Doctor Butch is trained by Linda Toscano for Kenneth Jacobs.
Major Uptrend may have been making his debut for the Ron Burke stable, but he picked up right where he left off, in the winner’s circle, this time in the first round of the Escort Pacing Series.
Sent off as the 2-5 betting choice, Major Uptrend settled just off the speed of Khan Blue Chip through an opening quarter in :27.2. Moving past the three-eighths pole, Major Uptrend made an aggressive move to the lead for new pilot Yannick Gingras and settled in through a half-mile of :56-seconds. Not feeling any pressure, Major Uptrend coasted through a :28.2 third panel before sprinting to the wire in just :26.1 to score a compelling victory over Khan Blue Chip in 1:50.3, which established a new lifetime mark for the four-year-old gelded son of Somebeachsomewhere. I Am Will shook free late to be third.
Major Uptrend is owned by Howard Taylor.
The second division of the Escort was a more competitive event on paper as it looked like a three-pronged battle between JK Patriot, Brick Bazooka and Company, and it played out that way throughout the mile on the racetrack.
JK Patriot showed speed, and after briefly relinquishing the lead to Autobiographical, he moved back to the front past an opening quarter of :28-seconds. Big Bazooka was the next to move for John Campbell as he was launched past the three-eighths pole and cleared the lead past the half-mile in :56.3. Woodbine Racetrack's Valedictory Series champion Company Man was not far behind as he revved his engine and was the next to brush to the front. He cleared the lead into the far turn, where he proceeded to widen the margin past three-quarters in 1:24.3. Company Man put some daylight between himself and Big Bazooka in the stretch while JK Patriot searched for racing room. Company Man took them all the way to the wire, winning in 1:51.4 for Tim Tetrick. JK Patriot shook free too late and was a fast-closing second with Brick Bazooka third.
Company Man is trained and owned by Daniel Mitchell.
The third division of the Escort featured a 3-5 favourite in What I Believe, who worked hard to earn the victory in 1:51.2.
What I Believe moved to the lead early, before relinquishing the lead briefly on the backstretch and then re-taking the advantage through fractions of :27.4 and :55.4. He then led the field through three-quarters of 1:24 before holding off the late charge of Blacktree to score in 1:51.2. What I Believe gave Yannick Gingras his fifth of six victories on the night and his fourth teamed up with trainer Ron Burke.
What I Believe is owned by Burke Racing Stable LLC and Weaver Bruscemi LLC.
Honourable mention tonight goes to Hurrikane Kingcole, widely known as one of the fastest horses this sport has ever seen. He got back to his winning ways in a $10,000 C-1 event with a powerful first over performance, completing the mile in 1:49.4.
Both Jackpot Super Hi-5 wagers continue to carry over. The fifth race carryover is now $17,715 while the last race carryover now stands at $39,252.
Racing returns with the second division of the Super Bowl Series on Thursday, with first post time at 7:15 p.m.
(With files from Meadowlands Racetrack)