On this night, the house horse got the money.
Opulent Yankee, co-owned by Meadowlands chairman Jeff Gural, upset a field of razor sharp upper-level conditioned trotters to headline a 13-race program at the Big M.
Andy Miller and Opulent Yankee were part of an early three-pronged duel for the front. Crosbys Clam Bake, returning a week after a sick scratch and gunning for his fourth straight win, won the battle and set the early fractions of :27.1, :56.2 and 1:25.4. Opulent Yankee followed all the way from the pocket while favourite Muscle Diamond was beginning to rally from the back of the pack with John Campbell.
Turning into the stretch, Jim Marohn Jr. asked Crosbys Clam Bake while Opulent Yankee used the slingshot move from the pocket. Opulent Yankee proved strongest down the lane, kicking home in :27.3 to win in 1:53.3.
“Opulent Yankee took advantage of a great two-hole trip on the muddy track,” said trainer Julie Miller. “It was really satisfying to see him at his best tonight. I’m hoping we can keep him together and have another good season here at the Meadowlands with him.”
B Yoyo closed up the pylons to grab second with Crosbys Clam Bake backing up to third and Muscle Diamond rallying belatedly to be fourth.
Opulent Yankee returned $32.40 to win and topped a $289.60 exacta and $1,209 trifecta.
Yannick Gingras made his 2017 debut at the Meadowlands after an extended winter break and immediately posted a driving double, winning with Can Do in the fifth race and Sheer Flex in the seventh.
Brett Miller led all drivers with three wins. Ten different drivers visited the winner’s circle.
Total handle was $2,744,956, up more than four per cent over last year’s corresponding night with one fewer race.