TrackMaster Sweeps For Just A Rocket Man, Paige Perfect

Just A Rocket Man winning at The Meadowlands
Published: April 13, 2024 12:51 am EDT

On a Friday night at The Meadowlands that required a lot of hat-holding, where wind gusts surged as high as 33 miles an hour, Just A Rocket Man and Paige Perfect completed three-race sweeps of their respective TrackMaster Series for pacers.

Just A Rocket Man, who won the first two legs of the series for those with a rating of 71 or less after unhurried beginnings, was explosive from the start this time around, quickly making the top before completing the first turn and was able to establish a sleepy early pace, hitting the quarter in :29 and half in :57.

“He’s super sharp right now,” said winning driver Braxten Boyd. “And some great trips have helped the last couple of weeks. The wind kind of helped me get that cheap :29 first quarter, and after that, I thought it’d be tough to catch him.”

Just A Rocket Man was able to maintain calm after the half, reaching three-quarters in 1:25.3 while never being pressed on the point, and that left a :27 final quarter in his gas tank to complete an easier-than-it-looked-in-the-chart neck score in 1:52.3, a new lifetime best for the six-year-old gelded son of Hes Watching-Justanother Day. Baileys Rock N was second with Native Chief third.

“I couldn’t be happier for my friend [trainer] Bryan [Quevedo],” said Boyd. “He just got his license and has been working very hard.”

Owned by 20-year-old Quevedo, Just A Rocket Man returned $5.80 to win as the 9-5 favourite. The pacer now has 16 wins from 110 lifetime starts while his series sweep accounts for all lifetime wins for his young trainer.

Paige Perfect, off consecutive preliminary wins from well back after starting from post 10, was kept a little closer to the action from post three in the final for fillies and mares who had a rating of 73.5 or less. The four-year-old daughter of Always B Miki-Miss Jones got up at the wire to score by a nose in 1:52.3, a lifetime best.

Sitting fourth along the rail as Rags To Riches cut out the quarter in :27.2 and half in :56.1, Paige Perfect picked up cover from Miss Italia as that one vacated the three-hole with three-eighths of a mile to go as Rags To Riches took them past three-quarters in 1:25.3.

Through the stretch, Miss Italia moved to the lead, but Paige Perfect had just enough time to get past that foe after tipping off cover with a strong rally in deep stretch to record her third victory in as many 2024 starts. Our Shell Belle rallied for third.

“If I got away as far back as the first two starts, then something went very wrong,” said winning driver Marcus Miller with a laugh. “I definitely wanted to be closer tonight. As far as the trip, I thought everything went as well as it could have. I was able to let David [Miller, driving Miss Italia] tow me and I needed all of the stretch to get there. But one thing she’s good at is pacing through the lane. She feels fresh. Her final quarter was :26.3 and that shows me she has a lot of ability.”

After scoring at odds of 23-1 and 11-1 in the first two legs, Paige Perfect was sent to the gate as the 3-5 favourite and returned $3.40 to win. She is trained by Bruce Saunders for owner Julie Nash.

David Miller led the driver colony with three victories on the night.

The 20-cent Pick-5 got a jolt in its opening leg with a 36-1 winner, leading to a payoff of $10,804.44.

A carryover of just over $8,000 led to more than $30,000 in “new money” being wagered into the 20-cent Pick-6 for a total pool of $39,847, but five winning favourites and a 2-1 shot later, those who collected walked away with just $103.76.

All-source handle totalled $3,250,330 USD on the 14-race program, marking the 24th time this year from 28 race cards that betting bettered the $3 million barrier.

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

(With files from Meadowlands Racetrack)

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