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Sweet Rock Lights 'Big M' Tote

Published: April 14, 2019 1:03 am ET

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Dover Downs shipper Highalator rose to the top of the horse colony at the Meadowlands by putting together a pair of dominant wins, but his quest for a third consecutive score was thwarted by another Dover invader, Sweet Rock, in the 'Big M’s $30,000 Preferred Pace on Saturday, April 13.

Sweet Rock, a Wayne Givens trainee who shipped in from Delaware off a pair of hard-fought wins, got a perfect ground-saving trip and pulled off a 24-1 upset. In the process, he became the fastest performer in the sport this year when he stopped the clock in 1:48.1.

The script played out differently than expected as a group of leavers left 4-5 favourite Highalator four-wide into the first turn. Driver Richard Still opted to take back and sit third to the quarter as Sunfire Blue Chip hit the first split in :26.

Another Dover invader, Bags To Riches, ventured uncovered towards the lead, but Sunfire Blue Chip did not yield and parked that foe to the half in :53. At three-quarters, Bags To Riches started to back out of it as the pocket-sitting New Talent took second. Highalator, now second-over, swung three wide around Bags To Riches retreating while Sweet Rock and driver Dexter Dunn sat third at the rail.

After hitting three-quarters in 1:21.1, Sunfire Blue Chip folded. Highalator hit his stride on the outside while Sweet Rock charged along the pylons after New Talent had angled off the rail. In deep stretch, Sweet Rock, the eighth choice in the nine-horse field, grabbed the lead and held off Highalator by a half length. New Talent took third.

Sweet Rock, an eight-year-old gelded son of Rocknroll Hanover-Penny For Nickel, returned $51.00 to his appreciative backers while lowering his previous lifetime-best by one-and-one-fifth seconds. For his career, he now has 31 wins from 169 starts and earnings of $719,106 for owners Legacy Racing of Delaware, Reginald Hazzard II and Gary Calloway.

BETTING REACHES $3 MILLION: Players who don’t care for favourites bet with both hands all night long, as no post-time choices hit the winner’s circle after 3-5 chance Abigail Dawn took the first race. All-source wagering exceeded the magic $3-million mark for the sixth time this year, as $3,025,740 was pushed through the windows during the 13-race card.

A LITTLE MORE: Dexter Dunn, Yannick Gingras and Dave Miller all drove three winners on the program while Chris Ryder had a training double.

Blood Line made his seasonal debut a winning one, gunning 2-5 shot Wheels On Fire in the second race high-range conditioned pace. Wheels On Fire had won two weeks ago in 1:49.1, at the time the fastest Big M mile of the year.

Racing resumes Friday, April 19 at 7:15 p.m. as the fifth edition of the Can-Am Pick-4 will take center stage.

(with files from the Meadowlands)

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