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Western Joe Back At Big M

Published: November 15, 2020 12:50 am ET

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Longtime fan-favourite Western Joe worked his way into a live flow and got up after a thrilling stretch duel with Ana Afreet N to win the Saturday night (Nov. 14) feature at The Meadowlands, the $28,000 Preferred Handicap Pace.

It was anything but easy for the six-year-old gelded son of Western Ideal-Ante Fay, who departed from post 10 in a strong field for trainer Chris Choate. Filibuster Hanover, with his gaudy lifetime bankroll of $1.8 million, was sent to the gate as the 6-5 public choice and after driver Yannick Gingras asked for a quick burst of speed, cleared the top before the half, which was timed in :54.1.

Western Joe, winless in his last five Meadowlands starts, then worked his way into the outer flow, following fourth over behind the red-hot Ana Afreet N, who was searching for his fourth win in five starts.

At the head of the stretch, the field bunched as Filibuster Hanover weakened. Ana Afreet N and Western Joe battled throughout the final eighth of a mile on the far outside, and at the wire, it was Western Joe, the winner of the 2018 Sam McKee Memorial, scoring his 28th win from 91 starts by a nose. The time for the mile was 1:49.4, and after being dismissed at odds of 10-1, Western Joe paid $22.60 to win. Wes Delight finished third. Filibuster Hanover was eighth.

Western Joe, who now sports career earnings of $687,208 for owners Anthony Ruggeri and Richard Tosies, is heading for the Nov. 21 TVG Open Pace at The Big M.

BIG NIGHT AT THE WINDOWS: Betting was solid throughout the 13-race program, as a Fall Meet high of $2,823,647 was pushed through the windows.

The 20-cent Pick-6, with a $28,142 carryover serving as the catalyst, saw a total pool of $104,695. Those with winning tickets cashed in for $5,642.38 after seeing a sequence where the winner’s odds were 4-5, 5-1, 10-1, 6-5, 5-2 and 5-1.

Four races on the card saw action that exceeded $250,000, while betting was vigorous on the two Pick-4s, as the Early Pick took in $75,400 while the Late Pick saw $70,574 in action.

FINAL FOUR PREPS: Always A Miki (Always B Miki-Beach Gal) readied himself for next week’s Governor’s Cup by taking a two-year-old colt and gelding pace in 1:52.3 for driver Dexter Dunn and trainer Nancy Takter as the 6-5 favourite, ending a personal seven-race losing streak in winning for fourth time from 12 starts.

Three Diamonds hopeful Notorious Pink sat a pocket trip behind JK Alwaysbalady before getting up at the wire in 1:53 in a two-year-old filly pace as the 8-5 public choice. Driven by Tim Tetrick and trained by Tony Alagna, the daughter of Captaintreacherous-Shes A Hot Mess upped her lifetime stats to five wins in 12 tries.

A LITTLE MORE: The final stakes-laden card of the year takes place Saturday, Nov. 21 when $2.8 million in purses will be up for grabs on Fall Final Four/TVG Finals Night.

Todd McCarthy, Andy McCarthy, Dunn and George Napolitano Jr. accounted for eight of the winners on the card by winning two races apiece.

Racing resumes Friday (Nov. 20) at 7:15 p.m. (EST).

(Meadowlands Racetrack)

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