Ontario Invaders Sweep 'Big M' Preferreds

Published: April 25, 2021 12:49 am EDT

Just call them “The Road Warriors”.

With things at a standstill at their home track due to a COVID-19 shutdown, a pair of horses who call Woodbine Mohawk Park home ruled The Meadowlands Saturday night (April 24) as trotter Its Academic and pacer Sintra scored in the co-featured $30,000 Preferreds.

Sintra was nothing short of scintillating in overcoming post 10 to score in 1:48.4. The eight-year-old gelded son of Mach Three-Dancin Barefoot left hard from the outside in the 10-horse field and got a spot fourth at the pegs out of the first turn.

The 8-5 favourite came first-over at the five-eighths and made his way toward leader American History, who blazed fractions of :54.4 and 1:21.4 after wrestling control away from the early leader, 5-2 second choice Ana Afreet N, at the three-eighths.

Continuing to chip away at the leader’s edge, Sintra grabbed the front with less than an eighth to go before holding off a fast-closing-along-the-inside Ana Afreet N by a neck in 1:48.4. American History held third.

Driven by Todd McCarthy and trained by Brett Pelling, Sintra not only overcame the outside post but also a 27-day layoff to register his 36th victory from 83 starts. His earnings now stand at $1,150,360 for owners Michael Guerriero, Kelly Waxman, Nunzio Vena and Frank Cirillo.

“I was concerned with where he was going to be at,” said McCarthy, whose hot hands guided five winners on the card. “You try to be as conservative as you can. I knew we’d have to go first-over at some stage. He showed his class tonight. I was a little worried as to how much we had left [in the stretch] but he got there.”

Sintra paid $5.40 to win.

Its Academic benefited from a third-place, once-over-the-track effort from a week ago to score in 1:51.3 in the Preferred Trot. The four-year-old son of Uncle Peter-Annapolis was sent to the gate as the 3-2 second choice in the betting and on a typical night that favoured speed, left quickly from post 5 in the eight-horse field and led at every call through fractions of :26.3, :56.3 and 1:24.4 on the way to recording his 15th win from just 30 lifetime starts.

Scirocco Rob, the 6-5 favourite, challenged the eventual winner at the three-quarter-mile mark, but was put away off the far turn as Its Academic rolled to a convincing three-length score. Scirocco Rob finished second with Buck Dancer third.

A Ron Burke trainee who is owned by Brad Grant, Its Academic returned $5.00 to win in lifting his lifetime earnings to $493,188.

“It just did not really work out last week when he got shuffled,” said winning driver Yannick Gingras. “Tonight, he proved he’s a nice horse. He can leave super-fast and he can go :26 [to the quarter], so I was able to get a good second-quarter breather [of :30]. He was full of trot late.”

SPEEDY SORTS: Last Saturday, the Jennifer Bongiorno-trained Nicholas Beach rocked the clock to the tune of 1:48.2 to become the second fastest performer of the year in harness racing. And on Saturday, her Stars Align A became the fastest horse of the year, recording a 1:48 clocking in the seventh race high-end conditioned pace, besting Let It Ride N’s Jan. 2 mile time of 1:48.1. All three season's-record miles took place at The Big M.

AN EARLY START: Before the beginning of the betting card, there were two non-betting divisions of the New Jersey Breeders Maturity contested for four-year-olds on the trot.

In the $12,500 event for mares, 2020 New Jersey Sire Stakes (NJSS) champion Absattitudexpress went wire-to-wire for trainer Lucas Wallin and driver Tim Tetrick in 1:54.2. The daughter of Trixton-Abbiesgotattitude sprinted home in :26.1 to best her only opponent, Spoiled Princess, by two-and-three-quarter lengths.

The Ake Svanstedt-trained and driven Back Of The Neck, who won a division of the 2020 Stanley Dancer, proved best of five horses in the $15,000 split for horses and geldings in 1:55.4 after leading at every call. The son of Ready Cash-Big Barb hit the wire two lengths in front of Play Trix On Me, the NJSS champion from a year ago.

A LITTLE MORE: There were no winning tickets sold in the 20-cent Pick 6, setting up a carryover of $9,992. Those with five correct collected $64.00.

For those who want to jump into what no doubt will be a big Pick-6 pool Friday night, free past performances for every race of every Meadowlands card are available by going to playmeadowlands.com.

All-source wagering was typically strong for a Saturday at $3,552,966, the eighth-straight program to see betting of over $3 million.

Racing resumes Friday (April 30) at 6:20 p.m. (EDT).

(The Meadowlands)



The 2021 stakes racing season at The Meadowlands begins next Sat. with the first leg of The Graduate. Watch out for Captain Barbossa, who won his first start of the year last night in 1:49.1, with the last quarter in 25.4!!

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