Trump Nation benefitted from aggressive Yannick Gingras handling Saturday night (Feb. 8) to take the $37,500 featured Preferred for pacers at the Meadowlands.
The five-year-old gelded son of Betterthancheddar-Late Flyin N was in a first-turn scrum with Sicily and Endeavor and raced second while parked to the quarter as Sicily led in a snappy :26.2. Trump Nation then sped to the top, but led only briefly as Endeavor, the 3-5 favourite who was in search of a second-straight score in the weekly feature, went past Trump Nation and hit the half in :54.1.
The pocket trip worked to perfection for Gingras and Trump Nation, as the duo ducked to the inside nearing the wire to nail a super-game Endeavor by a neck in 1:49.4. Franco Totem N was third.
“He raced big,” said Gingras of Trump Nation. “That’s the trip I was looking for tonight, but he can win no matter what the trip. He’s just a nice horse.”
Trump Nation, who races out of the Ron Burke barn, returned $7.80 to his backers as the second choice in the wagering. He’s now won 14-of-38 lifetime outings, good for earnings of $414,246 for owners Burke Racing Stable, E. Katz, Weaver Bruscemi and Purnel & Libby.
CHANGES WORKING WELL: Based on the big action that was taken on the 13-race program at the industry’s handle leader, it appears that the new earlier 6:55 p.m. post time and extensive wagering menu changes will be around for some time to come.
A total of $2,856,554 in bets were taken, the third-highest handle during 2020 at the mile oval. Wagering has now gone past the $2.5-million mark for five straight programs.
The action was hot and heavy from the get-go as a season’s-best $72,364 was put in play in the 20-cent Pick 5, serving as the catalyst for the first-race total pool of $293,871. The sequence saw but one 5-1 shot and four other winners that went off at 7-2 or less yet still came back a giant $3,548.36.
The 20-cent Pick-6 pool saw an increase of 36 percent from its first offering Friday. Total play Saturday was $24,474, and one shrewd player who used 10-1 shot Americanfirewater in the payoff leg (Race 9) walked away with $20,797.76.
Adding a second 50-cent Pick-4 appears to be a hit with the racing faithful. The Early Pick 4 saw a total pool of $86,015 while the Late Pick 4 saw $61,934 in action, meaning that a total of $147,949 in Pick-4 bets were taken. Big M TV’s Dave Brower gave out the Early Pick 4 on the track’s live in-house simulcast show, investing just $30 before cashing in for $291.
The big action wasn’t limited to the multi-leg wagers, as the fifth race was the only one on the evening to push past the $300,000 mark in total play. A huge exacta pool of $88,403 led the way to the total wager of $301,002.
A LITTLE MORE: Dexter Dunn led the driver’s colony by scoring five times. Marcus Miller, Andy McCarthy and Corey Callahan all had two apiece. Dunn has 32 winners at the winter meeting, tops at the track. Callahan is next with 24.
Racing resumes Friday (Feb. 14) at 6:55 p.m.