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McIntosh Celebrates Milestone Win

Published: June 1, 2014 12:45 am ET

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Canadian Hall of Famer Bob McIntosh celebrated his 4,000th training win on an electric Saturday night at Meadowlands Racetrack as his millionaire homebred pacer Thinking Out Loud slipped up the pylons to take the $30,000 Free For All Handicap Pace in the final strides.

Driven by another Hall of Famer, John Campbell, even-money favourite Thinking Out Loud left from the outside post six and settled into a pocket spot behind All Star Legend (Yannick Gingras) through a :26.1 opening panel.

All Star Legend led the way to the half in a rated :55.3 with Wake Up Peter (Mike Lachance) moving first over and up to pressure at the 1:23.1 third quarter mark. That left Thinking Out Loud boxed in and searching for room at the pylons down the lane. He eventually squeezed through in deep stretch and prevailed in a three-way photo finish over the quick-closing Ultimate Beachboy (Brett Miller) and All Star Legend.

The five-year-old gelding is by the sire Ponder and Camluck mare Los Angeles, all of which McIntosh campaigned. Thinking Out Loud, who was a 1:47.2 winner in The Meadowlands' U.S. Pacing Championship last year, previously provided the Windsor, Ont. conditioner with another major career accomplishment in winning his first Pepsi North America Cup title in 2012.

The pacer is owned by the Robert McIntosh Stables along with Al McIntosh Holdings Inc. of Leamington, Ont., and C S X Stables of Liberty Center, Ohio.

McIntosh's milestone win came in front of a large crowd estimated to be in excess of 14,000 in attendance as Meadowlands Racing & Entertainment played host to JerseyFest.

This year the event included a competition between 17 food trucks competing for prizes and recognition, as well as vendors and artisans from all over the Garden State on-site sampling and selling their wares. The weather finally cooperated with a pleasant, dry evening.

The festival began around 5 p.m. Saturday evening and the track apron and outfield park filled quickly. A portion of the crowd crept into the grandstand as the evening wore on with many drawn to the racing by the visual displayed on the high definition infield video screen. The design of the new grandstand nicely integrates the racing with events held outside with the track and horses in close proximity to the fans.

An added attraction was the appearance by Victor Espinoza, the jockey set to ride California Chrome in his date with destiny next week in the Belmont Stakes as he tries to be the first winner of the Triple Crown of thoroughbred racing since 1978. Espinoza greeted fans and signed autographs, joined in a winner's circle ceremony that included WNBC sportscaster Bruce Beck and spoke with Sam McKee about the upcoming race.

Trotters Trixton and Heavens Door and pacers Doo Wop Hanover and Act Now captured a quartet of $100,000 New Jersey Sire Stakes Finals for three-year-olds, the featured events on Jerseyfest night.

Even in a field of five, drawing the rail was the key to victory for 9-5 second choice Doo Wop Hanover in the $100,000 New Jersey Sire Stakes Final for three-year-old pacing colts and geldings.

Campbell sent Doo Wop Hanover ($5.80) to the lead on the backstretch, relinquished the front to 2-5 favourite Western Vintage as they passed the half and drafted until they straightened out in the homestretch. Doo Wop Hanover, a son of Rocknroll Hanover, outsprinted Western Vintage (by Western Ideal) to the wire in a lifetime-best of 1:50 flat. The margin of victory was one length. Beat The Drum (by Tell All) was third by two lengths. There was no show wagering.

“I think the difference was drawing the rail and getting away good, not using him hard,” said Campbell. “I was able to follow Western Vintage into the lane. We beat a very good colt in Western Vintage. I think this colt earned the right to go to Toronto for the North America Cup.”

Doo Wop Hanover had been assessed at odds of 55-1 in Trot Magazine's 2014 Pepsi North America Cup Spring Book while Western Vintage had cracked the top 10 at odds of 14-1.

Trained by Steve Elliott, Doo Wop Hanover now has two wins and one second in three starts this year. The $52,000 Harrisburg Sale purchase has finished in-the-money in nine of 15 career starts, banking $137,013 for the partnership of Peter Blood of Pompano Beach, Florida, Rick Berks of Boca Raton, Florida and Gary Piontkowski of North Smithfield, Rhode Island.

Trixton’s six and a half-length victory was no surprise in the $100,000 New Jersey Sire Stakes Final for three-year-old trotting colts and geldings.

The 1-5 favourite romped with a :26.4 final quarter, stopping the clock in 1:52.1, matching the stakes record set by Manofmanymissions in 2011 and equalled by Smilin Eli in 2013.

“He is so nice, a real pleasure to drive,” said winning driver/trainer Jimmy Takter. “He’s a [perfect] 10 in every category.”

Takter moved the Muscle Hill colt to the lead on the backstretch and opened up ground in the final eighth of a mile, leaving it to Martiniwithmuscle to edge out Lightning Force, both by Muscle Hill, for minor spoils.

Takter indicated that Trixton ($2.40) would be heading to the Goodtimes Trot in Ontario and not likely to meet his other two trotting standouts, Father Patrick and Nuncio, until the Stanley Dancer Memorial on July 12 at the Meadowlands.

Trixton, a $360,000 Lexington Selected Sale purchase, picked up his third straight win in four starts this year and now has seven wins, two seconds and one third in 12 tries. He has now earned $144,583 for the partnership of Brixton Medical AB of Orsundsbro, Sweden and Christina Takter of East Windsor, New Jersey.

Last week, Heavens Door was disqualified when she raced inside three pylons in the stretch. This week, the daughter of Muscle Hill was straight and true to the wire, winning the $100,000 New Jersey Sire Stakes Final for three-year-old trotting fillies in a stakes record 1:52 flat.

Trainer/driver Ake Svanstedt guided the filly to a length and a half victory over Lady Suffolk winner Cee Bee Yes (by Muscles Yankee). My Inspiration (by Chocolatier) was third by six and a quarter lengths.

Heavens Door ($10.40) scored a wire-to-wire tally, picking up her first victory in her seventh career start and doubling her lifetime earnings to $100,255 for Mellby Gard Inc. of Vero Beach, Florida. Bred in Sweden by Winwintrotting AB, she was a $90,000 Harrisburg yearling purchase.

The 1:52 clocking eclipsed the 1:52.4 stakes record established by Passionate Glide in 2006.

Tim Tetrick tested Act Now early and pushed her to the lead with a 26.4 first quarter and 54.3 half and extended that advantage in the stretch to win the $100,000 New Jersey Sire Stakes for three-year-old pacing fillies, the fifth race, in 1:49.3.

Sent off as the even-money favourite, Act Now, a daughter of Western Ideal, paid $4.20, finishing two lengths ahead of Sayitall BB (by Tell All). Fanticipation (by Rocknroll Hanover) was third by four and three-quarter lengths.

Act Now, a $40,000 Lexington Selected Sale purchase trained by Nikolas Drennan, posted her second straight win in her third start of the year. She now has five wins, one second and two thirds in 12 lifetime outings. She has banked $256,559 for Joseph Davino of Clarksburg, New Jersey and Patrick O’Brien of New Hyde Park, New York.

To view Saturday's harness racing results, click on the following link: Saturday Results - Meadowlands Racetrack.

(With files from Meadowlands & SBOANJ)


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