Rockeyed Optimist Triples At Big M

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Published: March 13, 2016 12:03 am EST

Odds-on choice Rockeyed Optimist rolled to the front and never looked back en route to his third consecutive win in Saturday (March 12) night's $25,000 Open Handicap Pace at The Meadowlands.

In the featured $25,000 Open Handicap Pace, Rockeyed Optimist ($3.60) sprinted off from his five rivals after using the first three-eighths of the mile to work clear, earning his third consecutive win and second at the Open level. Tim Tetrick spotted the five-year-old Rocknroll Hanover gelding second-over on the first turn, tracking Bettors Edge (Joe Bongiorno) through a :27.1 quarter before losing cover and subsequently working clear on the backstretch. Once assuming the lead, Rockeyed Optimist faced no pressure, edging clear off the far turn and powering home in 1:49, using a :26 last quarter burst to evade his foes. Rockeyed Optimist ultimately prevailed by two lengths over Bettors Edge, while Sunfire Blue Chip (John Campbell) stayed on for third from his stalking trip.

Steve Elliott trains the 18-time winner for the partnership of Perretti, Berkner, the A & B Stable, and Battaglia. For Elliott, it was a sweep of the evening's main events, as another trainee of his, Art History ($8.20), captured the night's sub-featured $16,000 upper-level conditioned pace earlier in the program. The five-year-old Western Ideal gelding sustained a first-over push through the far turn, overtaking 2014 Little Brown Jug winner Limelight Beach in mid-stretch and subsequently staving off a late rally from K Lees Shakenbake. Scott Zeron drove 12-time winner Art History to his 1:50 triumph.

Anthony Napolitano led all drivers with a grand slam, teaming up with Honey Im Home ($2.80, 1:51.4), Hoboken Hanover ($7.40, 1:52.2), Last Dragon ($18.00, 1:50.2), and Major War ($4.60, 1:50.3). Tetrick and Bongiorno drove three winners apiece on the 13-race card.

Total betting turnover exceeded $3 million for the 12th time in the last 13 cards at The Meadowlands, with punters wagering $3,088,696 on the Saturday program -- $423,919 more than the corresponding Saturday card in 2015.

Racing returns to The Meadowlands on Friday (March 18) evening, with post time at 7:15 p.m. EDT, $105,000 in guaranteed Pick 4 and Pick 5 pools, and a last-race 20-cent Jackpot High 5 carryover of $135,800.

(With files from Meadowlands Racetrack)

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