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Stage Set For Meadowlands Pace; Major Efforts In Graduate Finals

Published: July 10, 2016 12:08 am ET

Last Comment: July 11, 2016 8:59 am ET | 3 Comment(s) | Jump to Comments

Control The Moment, driven for the first time by Brian Sears, stormed home with a :26.2 final quarter to win Saturday’s $50,000 Meadowlands Pace elimination by a length in a lifetime-best 1:49.2 on a card that also featured two $250,000 Graduate Finals for four-year-olds.

The Brad Maxwell-trained Control The Moment defeated Lyons Snyder, who finished second, and third-place finisher JK Will Power. Check Six was fourth.

“He is a really nice horse and did everything that I asked him to do tonight,” said Sears, who won the 2005 Meadowlands Pace with Rocknroll Hanover. “The opportunity knocked to be able to drive this horse and I was really looking forward to it. I know he races well from off the pace and everything worked out well.”

By winning the elimination, Control The Moment earned the right to draw for post positions one through six and will start from post three. He was made the 5-2 second choice on Dave Little’s morning line.

Tom Hill’s Racing Hill drew post position four and was installed as the 9-5 favourite for next Saturday’s $732,050 Crawford Farms Meadowlands Pace.

Racing Hill is trained by Tony Alagna, who won the 2013 Meadowlands Pace with Captaintreacherous. The colt will be driven by Brett Miller. By virtue of being the top seasonal money-earner in the field, Racing Hill elected to take a bye to the final.

The complete field for the Meadowlands Pace is as follows:

1. Another Daily Copy – Trace Tetrick – Nick Devita - 30/1
2. Good Living – T.B.A. – Tom Cancelliere - 30/1
3. Control The Moment – Brian Sears – Brad Maxwell - 5/2
4. Racing Hill – Brett Miller – Tony Alagna - 9/5
5. Lyons Snyder – David Miller – Mark Silva - 9/2
6. Boston Red Rocks – Tim Tetrick – Steve Elliott - 6/1
7. Manhattan Beach – Joe Bongiorno – Ron Burke - 20/1
8. JK Will Power – Yannick Gingras – Ron Burke - 8/1
9. Check Six – Matt Kakaley – Ron Burke - 15/1
10. Talk Show – Scott Zeron – Steve Elliott - 25/1

Saturday's card also saw Wiggle It Jiggleit shrug off heavy rain and a sloppy track to record a sensational half-length win over rival Freaky Feet Pete in the $250,000 Graduate Series Final for four-year-old pacers.

The winning time of 1:47.2 was a lifetime best for the defending Horse of the Year.

One week after finishing third behind Always B Miki (as a five-year-old, ineligible for the Graduate) and Freaky Feet Pete, Wiggle It Jiggleit was away well from post three. Freaky Feet Pete also left quickly and while parked had the lead at the quarter in :25.3. With Wiggle It Jiggleit right behind him, Pete hit the half in :53.1 and three-quarters in 1:20.4 and appeared to get a bit of separation as they turned for home. But then driver Montrell Teague hit the gas pedal, and once again, Wiggle It Jiggleit had more than enough fuel left in the tank, edging clear in the final sixteenth to record his 32nd win in 40 lifetime starts for trainer Clyde Francis. Rock N Roll World was third.

“He’s a great horse who likes to do what he does,” said owner George Teague, Jr. “Great horses do great things.”

Wiggle It Jiggleit paid $3.00 to win.

In the $250,000 Graduate Series Final for four-year-old trotters, John Campbell gave Musical Rhythm a perfect steer from post 10, and after yielding the top before three-quarters, came back for more in deep stretch to storm home a convincing two-length winner.

Musical Rhythm left quickly and was parked in second as Crazshana hit the quarter in :27.4. Musical Rhythm took over shortly thereafter, trotting past the half in :55.4. Wings Of Royalty, who got off the rail at the three-eighths and provided live cover for even-money favourite Maestro Blue Chip, ranged up to get the top at three-quarters in 1:23.2 as Campbell handled his charge with care through the far turn. Through the stretch, Maestro Blue Chip did not fire, and nearing the wire, Campbell swung Musical Rhythm out of the pocket and exploded home in the final sixteenth to record the win in 1:51.2, a lifetime best. Centurion ATM finished second, with Crazshana third. Maestro Blue Chip faded to sixth.

"This little guy amazes me all the time,” said winning trainer Ben Baillargeon. “But you have to be careful with him in the turns. He [driver John Campbell] let the guy go on the turn, but then he swelled right up.”

Musical Rhythm returned $12.20 to win as the third betting choice for owners Santo and Nunzio Vena, Claude Hamel and Baillargeon, and has now won 12 of 14 starts this year.

For Campbell, it marked his second consecutive win in the Graduate for trotters. A year ago, he guided JL Cruze to victory lane in 1:49.4, the only sub-1:50 mile on the trot in Meadowlands history.

(With files from The Meadowlands)

July 11, 2016 - 8:59 amAwesome races and beautiful

Mike Scott SAID...

Awesome races and beautiful drives from all the drivers who won those three races.

July 10, 2016 - 9:25 amJust wanted to note that WIJI

Allan Schott SAID...

Just wanted to note that WIJI wore blue fuzzies in tribute to Ben Stafford Jr. who passed away this past week. What a nice gesture.

July 10, 2016 - 1:21 amWow, congrats to Brad M and

Mike Scott SAID...

Wow, congrats to Brad M and Benoit! Well done!

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