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Atlanta Awesome Again In Graduate

Published: June 21, 2019 9:59 pm ET

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Fresh off her Canadian record victory in the Armbro Flight, the awesome Atlanta continued her perfect four-year-old campaign in the fourth leg of the Graduate Series on Friday night (June 21) at The Meadowlands.

Returning to the scene of her Hambletonian heroics, Atlanta streaked to her fifth straight win this season in one of two $50,000 open trotting divisions, overcoming the outside post eight and an overland trip in rein to Yannick Gingras.

Near the rear of the field entering the first turn, Atlanta picked up live cover from Muscle M Up down the backstretch and powered home in :26.3 to win in 1:50.4. The time of the mile matched her Hambletonian clocking and was two-fifths of a second off the track record and three-fifths off the world record for four-year-old trotting mares.

Custom Cantab had the early lead heading through the first turn with Muscle M Up leaving from post six for pocket position and Manchego trotting up from post seven to take over command past the :27.2 opening quarter mark.

Crystal Fashion swept to the top by the half in :55.1 before a shuffled Muscle M Up was flushed first-up by the overland Atlanta. Crystal Fashion hit three-quarters in 1:23.3 and turned for home with pressure mounting from Muscle M Up and the late-closing Plunge Blue Chip passing Manchego along the pylons.

However, Atlanta kicked off cover and went by them all to score the clear victory. Plunge Blue Chip edged out Crystal Fashion in photo for place. Custom Cantab finished fourth and Muscle M Up grabbed the final paycheque in fifth ahead of Manchego.

"I kind of wanted to race her off a helmet tonight," said Gingras. "Last week down the stretch, she was drifting; I wanted to see what she would do off a helmet. It definitely made my decision easy, when we were leaving the gate everybody was leaving inside of her. I was hoping to get a cover trip for her.

"When Timmy [Tetrick aboard Crystal Fashion] decided to move to the front, I just waited and let Andy [Miller and Muscle M Up] out in front of me, again to make sure I was covered. Honestly, there was never an anxious moment. The only thing, she was running out a little bit still finishing and we've got to fix that, but as far as trot goes, if she would have gone straight, she would have won by five [lengths] easy."

The Chapter Seven-Hemi Blue Chip mare also won the June 1 leg of the Graduate at Woodbine Mohawk Park before sweeping the elimination and 1:50.2 record final of the Armbro Flight for trainer Ron Burke.

She is owned by Brad Grant of Milton, Ont., the New York-based Crawford Farms Racing, and Howard Taylor of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

Fiftydallarbill posted a scintillating 1:50.2 mile of his own in the second division to come within one-fifth of a second of Chapter Seven's track and world record for four-year-old trotting stallions.

Favourite Six Pack muscled by 2-1 second choice Fiftydollarbill through a :27.4 quarter and continued to lead the way through middle splits of :55.3 and 1:23.1. He turned for home with the clear lead, but Fiftydollarbill pulled the pocket down the stretch and prevailed by a neck. Phaetosive was flushed out from the three-hole by Run Director down the backstretch and finished third ahead of that foe.

"That was my plan all along," said driver Corey Callahan, who picked up the winning catch-drive. "The last time this horse had to follow Ake [Svanstedt and Six Pack], he really went kind of slow so I was trying to make him work a little bit there in the first turn and it worked out. He kept rolling along enough and my horse was fresh when it came time to get him there in the stretch.

"He finished up with the [ear] plugs in. I was pretty sure I was going by him so I didn't want to take the chance of popping the plugs and having something stupid happen."

Katricia Adams trains the Swan For All-CR Dixie Chick son, who is approaching millionaire status, for owner John Barnard of Miami, Florida.

Earlier on the card, Caviart Farms' millionaire pacing mare Caviart Ally picked up another Rainbow Blue Series victory, with a 1:48.3 front-striding effort in the $40,000 third leg. Brett Pelling trains the five-year-old Bettors Delight-Allamerican Cool mare, who bested Apple Bottom Jeans and Dont Think Twice A following a third-place finish in last weekend's Roses Are Red Stakes. Andrew McCarthy was the winning driver.

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