Beckwith Takes Big M Feature With 'Smart' Drive

Smart As Hill winning at The Meadowlands
Published: March 23, 2024 12:27 am EDT

Despite being just 21 years of age, Brett Beckwith has been distinguishing himself on the harness racing scene and on Friday night, Narch 22 at The Meadowlands, he gave a drive that would be the envy of any seasoned veteran to Smart As Hill, who pulled off an upset in the featured $22,972 Play Meadowlands Series final for mid-range conditioned trotters.

Sent to the gate as a 24-1 outsider, Beckwith, currently No. 2 in all of North America with 143 dash wins, had Smart As Hill last in the field of seven past the quarter and the half, as another longshot, 50-1 chance Hoofbeats De Vie, was dictating the pace.

Lindys Irishcream then came calling first-over as Amador and Papa Doc got into the live flow, giving Beckwith an opportunity to get into contention by scooting up the inside along a now-vacant rail.

“The draw limited me. I didn’t have many options with the seven-hole,” said Beckwith. “There were quite a bit of horses who drew inside that all factored really well in there.”

Beckwith opted to keep Smart As Hill at the rail as the action got more intense and found himself in the pocket at three-quarters behind a vulnerable Hoofbeats De Vie, who had cut out fractions of :27.3, :56.4 and 1:26.4.

“It worked out really well,” said Beckwith. “The rail kept opening up and when I ended up on [the back of Hoofbeats De Vie and Troy Beyer] off the last turn, I was making up a lot of ground without having to use much of my horse’s energy.”

In deep stretch, Smart As Hill found room along the cones and surged to the lead as Papa Doc and Amador were closing in. But the wire came just in time as Smart As Hill won it by a neck over Amador in 1:55.1 with Papa Doc third.

“I knew I had a shot at it if something opened up,” said Beckwith. “Luckily, it did.”

Smart As Hill, an eight-year-old gelded son of Muscle Hill-Smarty Pants owned by It’s All Good Racing, returned $50.80 to win as the sixth choice in the wagering. The Bruce Lauer trainee now has 18 career wins from 116 starts, good for earnings of $395,143.

Native Australian Madeliene Young made her first career drive at The Meadowlands a winning one, guiding Somiki to an off-the-pace score as the 2-1 second choice in the eighth race, a Meadowlands Amateur Driving Club event.

Dave Miller won the track’s “Driver of the Week” award and threw his hat in the ring for a second straight trophy after leading the driver colony with four victories on the card. The 59-year-old U.S. Hall of Famer has now won at least three races on three straight programs and has a total of 12 winner’s circle visits over the last four cards. He currently is far in front in the Big M standings with 45 wins.

All-source handle on the 14-race program totalled $2,756,042 USD.

Racing resumes on Saturday at 6:20 p.m.

(With files from Meadowlands Racetrack)

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