Stratton Reunited With 'Marty' For A Special Win

Vicki Stratton driving Marty Monkhouser A at The Meadowlands
Published: April 6, 2024 02:48 am EDT

Third-generation horsewoman Vicki Stratton kicked off Friday night's 14-race card at The Meadowlands with her first career driving win in a $15,541 Meadowlands Amateur Driving Club pace.

Stratton scored the victory driving Marty Monkhouser A, trained by her husband Cory. 

A veteran 15-year-old claiming pacer, Marty Monkhouser A was no match for his nine foes as he romped to an 11-length victory in 1:53.1 for Stratton. He paid $10.50 to win as the 4-1 third wagering choice. Favourite Atta Boy Dan and Tony Beltrami followed in second the entire mile while Harry Hanover and James Slendorn finished third.

Marty Monkhouser A was recently re-acquired by VIP Internet Stable and the Stratton Stable, where he had spent of few of his more recent racing years before being claimed last August. The Village Jasper-Penny The Pussycat gelding earned his 59th career victory and now has nearly $760,000 earned lifetime from 338 starts.

“We promised to bring him home one day. Now, he’s home for good," said Stratton of the reunion with 'Marty' in a social media post.

The 30-year-old Hamilton, Ont. native, who began driving last summer and has competed in multiple amateur races, earned her first win in her 15th sulky start.

Beach Cowgirl takes Friday feature

After a dismal start to her 2024 season when last as the 3-5 favourite, Beach Cowgirl followed that up with a solid second-place finish to Always B Naughty, a stakes filly from a year ago, last week. That effort set her up to find the winner’s circle on Friday in the featured $22,973 high-end conditioned pace for fillies and mares.

Despite facing another top-flight mare, Zanatta, a lifetime earner of more than $600,000, Beach Cowgirl was sent to the gate as the 6-5 public choice and was handled aggressively by driver Tyler Miller, sprinting away from post six in the eight-horse field as Zanatta left underneath her from post two. Miss Chantilly N (post four), seeking her third win in four tries, went past Beach Cowgirl at the quarter, hitting that station in :27.4, before Beach Cowgirl retook the top and hit the half in a tepid :57.2 before reaching three-quarters in 1:24.3.

“We were the only three leaving in the race,” said Miller. “When we were able to turn John [Ahle, driving Miss Chantilly N] loose, and then retake, after the half, I knew they’d have to pace pretty hard to get by us. Nobody was pressing hard to the half, and that allowed us to rate the second fraction.”

Through the stretch, Miss Chantilly N emerged from the pocket to offer a challenge that never truly threatened the eventual winner while Zanatta took the inside route in her seasonal debut. Beach Cowgirl finished the mile in 1:52 after pacing her back half in :54.3, and was three-quarters of a length in front of Miss Chantilly N at the finish. Zanatta was third.

“We went :27.1 in the third quarter, some of it due to the wind at our back, but after the half I wanted to get her in gear,” said Miller. “I wanted her to be able to finish strong.

“I wasn’t very nervous at all through the stretch. I knew that [Miss Chantilly N] had been racing well, but my mare was going to be good off those fractions. She’s a very nice mare, all the credit to Mickey [Burke] and everyone in the Burke barn. They’ve done a great job with her.”

The four-year-old by Captaintreacherous-Stonebridge Sundae mare is owned by Joseph DiScala Jr., Zippett Racing Stable and Scarlett Stables. Beach Cowgirl now has eight wins from 23 lifetime starts and earnings of $411,610. 

Beach Cowgirl returned $4.60 to her backers.

Friday’s seventh race came in 10-6-1-9-8, and with two of the three longest shots in the race finishing third and fifth, no one had a winning ticket in the 20-cent Hi-5 (or Pentafecta, if you prefer), setting up a carryover of $14,783 for the Hi-5 that will be offered on Saturday’s seventh race.

All-source handle on the 14-race card totalled $3,107,299 USD, marking the 22nd time from 26 Big M programs this year that betting has busted the $3 million USD barrier.

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

(With files from Standardbred Canada and Meadowlands Racetrack)

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