Trump Nation may have looked a bit class-challenged in the past performance lines, but driver Yannick Gingras and the betting public showed confidence and were rewarded with an impressive victory in the Saturday night (Dec. 14) featured Preferred Pace at the Meadowlands.
The Ron Burke trainee was facing a strong field—including Geez Joe, who won the Preferred last week in 1:50 as the 8-5 favourite—but the parimutuel players sent him to the gate as the 6-5 choice despite the fact that he had beaten a far weaker conditioned field in his last start. As for Gingras, he had choice of Trump Nation and another Burke trainee, Wheels On Fire (who would finish last in the field of eight), and as it turned out, he backed the right candidate.
Yonkers shipper Saying Grace N left hard to grab the early lead and hit the quarter in :27.3. Gingras then called on Trump Nation to move to the top, and the pair reached the lead before the half. Lyons Steel was now moving toward the leader from first over, almost getting on even terms with Trump Nation as three-quarters went in 1:23.2.
Geez Joe, the 5-2 second choice, gapped third over up the backside before rallying well through the stretch, only to be outkicked for the place spot by Franco Totem N, who finished one length behind the winner. Lyons Steel hung in there for fourth. The time for the mile was 1:51.1.
“He was very good again,” said Gingras of Trump Nation. “I wasn’t too worried [when Lyons Steel challenged] but you still have to respect the competition.”
Trump Nation, a four-year-old gelded son of Betterthancheddar-Late Flyin N who is owned by Burke Racing, E. Katz, Weaver Bruscemi and Purnel & Libby, returned $4.60 to his backers. He now has 13 wins in 35 career starts and earnings of $383,796.
Driver Pat Berry reached a milestone victory plateau and one of the Meadowlands’ more popular wagers resulted in a giant payoff.
Berry, 43, who has $39 million in career earnings, won the 4,000th race of his career in the third race behind 26-1 shot Revelry. The best year of the former Chicago-land horseman’s career came in 2007, when he won 508 races, good for earnings of $4.7 million.
Revelry and another longshot, 36-1 chance Mindtrip, won legs three and four, respectively, of the 50-cent Pick-5, which resulted in a one-ticket winner cashing in for $33,873. The winning combination was 5-7-7-7-1.
A LITTLE MORE: The amazing Dexter Dunn keeps on winning races in bunches. On Friday, he scored five times and added four more on Saturday to run his meet-leading win total to 41. Gingras, who had two on Friday and three more Saturday, is next with 27.
At the opposite end of the spectrum was the 50-cent Pick-4, which came back $68.95 after two favourites, a 5-2 and a 9-2 shot won during the sequence.
All-source handle totaled $2,222,157.
Racing resumes Thursday, Dec. 19 at 7:15 p.m. “Borrowing Ken’s Binoculars” that night will be the USTA’s Michael Carter.