A pair of big-time Hambletonian contenders – Dancinginthedark M and Venerate – bounced back from poor performances when they made breaks with impressive victories Saturday night (July 10) in the W.N. Reynolds Memorial for three-year-old trotting colts and geldings at The Meadowlands.
Dancinginthedark M ($3.20 as the 3-5 favourite) was moved to the front of the line in his $42,550 split by driver Tim Tetrick before the half and held sway from there as heavy rains fell to record a 1 1/4-length victory over Take All Comers in a lifetime-best 1:51.4. The Marcus Melander trainee is a son of Readly Express-Leila and is now six-for-11 lifetime.
Venerate (Love You-Peaceful Kemp) had to overcome post 9 and a brutal parked-out trip to get his mojo back in the other $43,050 division for males. The winter-book Hambletonian favourite floated away from the gate from post 9 and was handled with care by driver Andy Miller around the first turn. Racing first-over, he steadily advanced on leader Sonofamistery, the even-money public choice, down the backstretch but lost a little ground off the far turn into the stretch.
After they straightened up for the wire, Venerate began a steady gain once again and kicked into another gear at the sixteenth pole. Nearing the wire, Sonofamistery went off stride, but it likely would not have mattered as the Julie Miller-trained Venerate ($8.80 as the third betting choice) scored by a half-length in 1:52.1 after a mile that saw him never see the rail. After a brief judges’ inquiry, no action was taken against second-place finisher Sonofamistery.
New Jersey Sire Stakes champion Beltassima ($6.40 as the 2-1 second choice) won the $49,050 first of two Reynolds splits for 3-year-old trotting fillies as the daughter of Trixton-Beltane Hanover gunned down Lady Chaos by three-quarter lengths in a lifetime-best 1:52.3 for driver Andy McCarthy and trainer Tony Alagna.
Piper Hanover ($4.80 as the 7-5 favorite) rallied from off the pace to score by 1 3/4 lengths over Darlene Hanover in 1:53 in the other division for fillies, this one for a purse of $49,550. The Father Patrick-Personal Style miss made it four wins in five seasonal starts for the team of McCarthy and Alagna.
A LITTLE MORE: McCarthy had the hot hand among the drivers, recording four winners on the card. Ron Burke trained four to victory lane.
All-source handle totaled $3,524,173.
Racing resumes Friday (July 16) at 6:20 p.m. (EDT).
The Reynolds Memorial was part of an action-packed night at the Meadowlands that also included the Meadowlands Pace eliminations and Graduate Series finals.