'Miki' Brings Max Effort In Big M Feature

Maximus Miki
Published: April 21, 2024 12:54 am EDT

It’s not too often that a driver hopes to go a first-over trip, especially in a field of exceptional horses, but that’s exactly how it went for Andy McCarthy and Maximus Miki, who teamed up to win the $36,671 Winners-Over pacing feature at The Meadowlands Saturday, April 20.

“He’s been facing good horses down at Dover,” said McCarthy. “He’s just a big old grinder. He likes to get in motion and stay in motion.”

To no one’s surprise, even-money favourite American Dealer N blasted away from post seven in the seven-horse field, and after being slightly extended by Lyons Steel, made the top while parked at the quarter in a cat-quick :26.2.

Scott Zeron was able to back things down some to the half as American Dealer N reached that station in :54.3, but things still seemed OK for the chalk, given how speed-favouring the track played all night long.

Maximus Miki, a five-year-old gelded son of Always B Miki-Beach Gal, vacated the five-hole at the half and swiftly made up ground first-over on the leader, and was just a length behind at three-quarters, which went in 1:22.3.

Maximus Miki had American Dealer N right where he wanted him.

In the blink of an eye, ‘Miki’ poked a head in front at the head of the stretch and maintained a safe edge the length of the lane, hitting the wire first by a length. American Dealer N was second with a late-closing Rockin On Venus third. The time for the mile was 1:50.2.

“I was extremely happy with how many leavers there were,” said McCarthy. “I wanted to be first-over, so it worked out great. I thought I had the upper hand off the fractions. American Dealer N is a classy dude but the way the fractions went, it worked out well for me.”

Owned by John Cancelliere, Maximus Miki upped his lifetime stats to 15 wins from 31 lifetime starts, good for earnings of $198,766. As the 6-5 second choice, he returned $4.60 to win.

Lexus Kody, fresh off a track-record (for an older gelding) 1:50 win three weeks ago, had it easy in the featured trot, a $36,671 Winners-Over, going wire-to-wire from the rail as the 1-5 public choice.

The six-year-old son of Archangel-Lexus Helios, driven by Yannick Gingras and trained by Ron Burke, cut out fractions of :27.3, :55.4 and 1:24 before a :28.2 sprint home completed a 1:52.2 clocking to win his second straight at The Big M and third in four tries.

Before the betting card, three $17,123 divisions of the New Jersey Breeders Maturity for four-year-olds took to the track.

In the division for trotting mares, Tactical Mounds (Tactical Landing-Mounds) scored in a walkover in 1:56.1 for driver Scott Zeron and trainer Megan Scran.

Lisa Lane (Lazarus N-Special Kay Deo) came from off the pace to take the mare pace in 1:52.4 for Patrick Ryder and Chris Ryder after a blazing final quarter of :25.4 before Voukefalas (Lazarus N-Inittowinafortune) and Handlelikeaporsche (Lazarus N-The Signature) finished in a dead heat in the dash for pacing horses and geldings. Voukefalas was driven by Jordan Stratton and is trained by Michael Russo, Handlelikeaporsche was piloted by Dexter Dunn and conditioned by Chris Ryder. The time for the mile was 1:50.4.

There was one $17,123 division – for horse and gelding trotters – contested on the betting card, and that was taken by 1-5 favourite Bestfriend Volo (Walner-Bank Of Newport) in 1:52.4 for Dunn and Nancy Takter.

Zeron topped the driver colony with three wins on the card. Tony Beltrami, Gingras, Dunn and Tim Tetrick all won two apiece. Burke and Travis Alexander each had training doubles.

With $4,701 in “new money” upping the total pool to better than $8,000, three shrewd handicappers walked away with $2,453.24 after cashing in winning 20-cent Pick-8 tickets. All-source betting totalled $2,993,322 on the 14-race card. Racing resumes Friday, April 26 at 6:20 p.m.

(Meadowlands Racetrack)

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