Breeders Crown champ Summa Cum Laude grew leg weary off quick fractions while pocket-sitter Always A Miki vaulted with fresh legs to a 1:50.2 victory in the $371,900 Governor’s Cup—sponsored by Walnridge Farm & Heritage Hill Farm.
Captain Sleaze, at odds of 90-1, kicked to the front and held a brief lead by a :26.3 opening quarter as Always A Miki pulled wide from the pocket with Summa Cum Laude on his back. Always A Miki cleared command to the backstretch before yielding to Summa Cum Laude. Then Abuckabett Hanover tipped first over from fourth tracked by his stablemate, Metro Pace winner Exploit, approaching a :54.3 half.
Abuckabett Hanover ranged toward the pacesetter nearing three-quarters in 1:21.4, but his advance stalled nearing the straightaway and forced Exploit to launch three wide. Summa Cum Laude clung to the lead into the stretch as a lane opened for Always A Miki to vacate pocket, and the Always B Miki-Beach Gal colt lunged to a late lead over an extended Exploit and helf firm to a half-length victory. Summa Cum Laude held third with Captain Fancy closing for fourth.
“He’s a very small horse, there’s not much too him—but he’s shown all year [that] he’s a true competitor,” driver Dexter Dunn said after the race. “We re-moved there at the quarter, then Yannick [Gingras and Summa Cum Laude] came and it worked out perfect. The three-quarters was pretty fast, and he was tagged on Yannick’s helmet the whole trip. I knew he had something left if I could get him clear.”
Owned by Christina Takter, Goran Anderberg, Herb Liverman and Rojan Stables, Always A Miki collected his fifth victory from 13 starts, earning $342,418. Nancy Takter trains the $16.00 winner.
An $81,000 consolation was contested earlier on the card for the Governor’s Cup. Chris Ryder trainee Beachhead bolted down the center of the track off swift fractions of :26.2, :54.3 and 1:22.4 to win by three-quarter lengths in 1:51.2 over Baklouva, who rallied from last for second. David Miller drove the $13.40 winner for owners Steve Heimbecker and Mac Nichol.
The Governor's Cup was one of a number of major races on a stakes-packed Saturday card at The Meadowlands. Check out the rest of the recaps in the TVG / Fall Final Four News Centre.