All systems appear to be go for early Hambletonian favourite Southwind Frank, who marched to an easy two and a half-length win in his first start as a three-year-old in a $25,000 division of the New Jersey Sire Stakes for trotting colts and geldings Friday night (May 20) at The Meadowlands.
“He was Frank,” said winning trainer Ron Burke. “He couldn’t have been any better. It’s what we expect from him.”
The son of Muscle Hill was unhurried early, and made his way to the top shortly after vacating the four-hole at the three-eighths after an opening quarter of :27.4.
Meeting little in the way of resistance, driver Yannick Gingras was able to relax his colt, who cut moderate fractions of :57 and 1:25 before kicking home in :27.1 to win going away in a lifetime-best 1:52.1. Brooklyn Hill was second while Bar Hopping finished third.
As the 1-9 public choice, Southwind Frank, who is now 12-for-13 lifetime, returned $2.20 to win. He is owned by Southwind Frank Partners.
Earlier on the card, All The Time ($2.10), a major Hambletonian Oaks contender, crushed seven overmatched foes by seven and a quarter-lengths in a $20,000 division of the NJSS for three-year-old trotting fillies in 1:53.2, a lifetime mark. Hillosophical was second with Southwind Pearl third.
Once again, it was Gingras calling the shots, but this time it was with a Jimmy Takter trainee. The 2015 Breeders Crown champion has now won eight of 13 lifetime starts for owners Marvin Katz and Al Libfeld.
The other Sire Stakes division for three-year-old trotting fillies was won by the season-debuting Wildflower ($4.80), who edged out slight favourite Southwind Hope by a head in a career-best 1:55 for trainer/driver Ake Svanstedt. The Muscle Hill miss, whose only other career win was in the Kindergarten Classic, is owned by Ake Svanstedt Inc., Douglas Sipple, and Mal And Janet Burroughs L.
Rose Run Parker ($10.40) held off 3-5 favourite Obrigado to win the $25,000 Open Handicap Trot in a lifetime-best 1:50.4. Gingras drove the five-year-old Jailhouse Jesse gelding for Burke Racing Stable LLC and Weaver Bruscemi LLC.
The 12th race 20-cent Jackpot Super High Five, which has not been hit the entire meeting, failed to have a single-ticket winner again, upping the carryover to $226,527.68 for the next card. All-source wagering on the program totalled $2,693,370.
(With files from Meadowlands Racetrack)