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Stellenbosch Superb In Big M Feature

Published: January 15, 2021 11:58 pm ET

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Millar Farms' homebred Stellenbosch withstood bitter pressure in a dazzling effort on a rainy Friday night (January 15) at The Meadowlands, taking the $18,000 featured high-end conditioned pace for fillies and mares in wire-to-wire fashion.

Driver Scott Zeron, who raced Stellenbosch from off the pace after drawing outside posts in her previous two outings, fired away from post four in the nine-horse field, grabbing the lead on the first turn before hitting the quarter in :26.4.

There was no spot for Callmequeenbee A, who left from post eight, and that one had to rough it uncovered on the rim. She engaged Stellenbosch in a cut-throat battle to the half over the track rated ‘good’ in an eye-popping :53.4.

Enter 6-5 favourite Ivana Flybye N, a Woodbine Mohawk Park shipper that hadn’t raced in 26 days, who circled up three-wide around the far turn under a full head of steam on the way to an apparent score as Callmequeenbee A predictably faltered.

But Stellenbosch wasn’t having it.

Zeron and the 2-1 second choice kept to their task as Ivana Flybye N flattened out and went on to a 2-1/2-length win. The pocket-sitting Shes Nun Bettor N out-finished Ivana Flybye N in the race for place.

“Because I had driven her aggressively in the past, I knew I could leave with her," said Zeron. "We took back with her two weeks in a row and were waiting for the right spot. I definitely didn’t think she would be that good for the final half-mile, but if she was ever going to be at her best, it was going to be tonight. Everything led up to her putting forth a good effort.”

Despite the soggy conditions, Stellenbosch, a seven-year-old daughter of Mach Three-Catch A Wish who paid $6 to win, lowered her previous lifetime best by one and three-fifth seconds, hitting the wire in 1:50.2. The Scott Blackler trainee, who is owned by Ontario-based Millar Farms, now has 14 wins from 102 lifetime starts and earnings topping $200,000.

A LITTLE MORE: The off-going didn’t alter the form as seven favourites scored on the 14-race card. Overall, winner’s odds were 3-1 or less for 12 of the races. … Dexter Dunn and Yannick Gingras led the driver’s colony as both won three races on the program. … Jeff Cullipher and Ron Burke had training doubles. … All-source handle totaled $2,878,592. … Racing resumes Saturday at 6 p.m. … Check out the Dan Patch Awards show on the live Meadowlands feed. It gets underway at 5 p.m. after which Dave Brower will interview a special guest in another edition of “In the Sulky.”

(With files from Meadowlands Racetrack)

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