Meadowlands Pace News Centre

Published: July 16, 2016 05:26 pm EDT

The Meadowlands Pace undercard featured a star-studded stakes line up that included a pair of world record performances by Always B Miki and Lady Shadow on Saturday night (July 16) at New Jersey's Meadowlands Racetrack. Trot Insider has provided complete coverage of all the stakes action.

Meadowlands Pace Night began with a dead-heat in the first $95,250 division of the Del Miller Memorial for three-year-old trotting fillies as Womans Will ($2.10) and Unica Steed ($3.80) crossed the wire together to share the top honours.

Leaving from the outside post six, 1-5 favourite Womans Will (Andy Miller) took the lead into the opening turn and carved out comfortable first-half fractions of :28.4 and :57.4. She then opened up two lengths to three-quarters in 1:26.2 and doubled that margin into the stretch. However, 6-1 third choice Unica Steed (Tim Tetrick) tipped out from third late and was gaining ground down the lane. She surged up in the final strides alongside Womans Will to make it a dead-heat in 1:54.2. Miss Tezsla (Brett Miller) finished third.

The Julie Miller-trained Womans Will matched her lifetime mark that she had established in last year's Matron Stakes. The homebred Donato Hanover filly is owned by Toronto's Marvin Katz and Al Libfeld of Pickering, Ont. Meanwhile, Unica Steed, a homebred daughter of Muscles Yankee trained by Jimmy Takter, earned her first North American victory for France's Ecurie Ab Trot.

Another internationally-owned filly was in the spotlight on Meadowlands Pace Night as sophomore pacer Blue Moon Stride ($3.60) captured the $157,400 Mistletoe Shalee for Australia's Emilio and Maria Rosati.

Driven by Andrew McCarthy for trainer Mark Harder, 4-5 favourite Blue Moon Stride moved first over down the backstretch after the O'Brien Award-winning L A Delight (John Campbell) broke stride from mid-pack at the half in :54.3. Blue Moon Stride then confronted the leading Lindwood Beachgirl (Yannick Gingras) at three-quarters in 1:23 and took over into the stretch en route to a career-best 1:49.2 triumph. Penpal (Pat Lachance), who gapped the gate early on and managed to track the winner's cover, rallied late while drifting out in the final sixteenth of the mile to finish second. Shezarealdeal (Marcus Miller) won a photo finish for show over Skinny Dipper (Scott Zeron).

"This race didn't come up quite the way I thought it would," said Harder in the winner's circle. "L A Delight was in here and obviously she was a great filly last year and had a miscue at the half. But I'm just happy to win this one.

"She's just good right now. She's in a little groove," said Harder of the winning Rocknroll Hanover filly, who was also victorious in the New Jersey Sire Stakes and was the Lynch runner-up this year. "She's happy and healthy, strong, and she's loving what she's doing. She's doing her job."

In another exciting Del Miller Memorial finish, three-year-old trotting filly Broadway Donna ($6.40) wore down All The Time in a career-best 1:52.2 effort in rein to David Miller.

After a :27.4 first quarter, 1-2 favourite All The Time (Yannick Gingras) swept to the lead over Celebrity Eventsy (John Campbell) and reached the half-mile mark in :56.2. As she raced to three-quarters in 1:25, Miller sent the 2-1 second choice Broadway Donna first over from fifth. All The Time continued to lead the way into the stretch with the reigning U.S. divisional champion Broadway Donna pursuing and Celebrity Eventsy closing in between the top pair. Broadway Donna ultimately got by late for the half-length victory while All The Time held on in a photo finish for second over Celebrity Eventsy.

"We were just taking our time getting there [in the final turn], it's a long stretch. I had a good filly on the lead and I wasn't going to run at her too early," said David Miller of the winning trip with the homebred Donato Hanover filly, who also won the Jim Doherty Memorial at The Meadowlands last year for trainer Jim Campbell and Fashion Farms LLC of New Hope, Pennsylvania. "She came back real good [this year] and so far so good."

Southwind Frank ($2.20) continued to assert his dominance in the three-year-old trotting colt ranks on the road to the Hambletonian with a 1-1/8 miles victory in the first of two $153,250 Stanley Dancer Memorial divisions.

The Yannick Gingras-driven 1-9 favourite got away fifth from post five in the field of 11 while the post seven starter Dominion Beach (Marcus Johansson) fired to the front into a :26.3 opening quarter. The early leaver continued to lead the field past the half in :55.2 before 9-2 second choice Dog Gone Lucky (Corey Callahan) rushed up to challenge into the far turn and took over command. As the new leader raced by three-quarters in 1:24, Southwind Frank picked up cover from Hollywood Highway (John Campbell) and rallied outside of that foe at the top of the lane. Southwind Frank drew clear down the stretch, passing the mile mark in 1:52.4, and hit the finish line in 2:06.4 for the added-distance. Sutton (Andy Miller) and Love Matters (Brett Miller) came on for second and third, respectively.

"I don't really think [the extra eighth of a mile] is a big deal for these horses, they're just starting up the stretch a bit more," said Ron Burke, who trains the Muscle Hill colt for the Pennsylvania-based Southwind Frank Partners.
"Maybe we were more confident to try to race from behind, especially if there's any variance tonight to the track, it looks like it favours closers maybe slightly."

While the near-perfect Southwind Frank notched his 15th win from 17 career starts, Burke noted that he plans to make some adjustments with the millionaire colt to ensure he is on top of his game for the Hambletonian.

"You know what, I wasn't really thrilled with today being honest," admitted Burke. "He was alright, he wasn't excellent. We'll go back to the drawing board. We've been messing with his bridle trying to calm him down. We're going to go the other way a little bit now and try to let him be a little more aggressive like he was before we started messing with his bridle."

Jewels In Hock ($6.60) earned her second Miss Versatility Series victory as she rallied off cover for a speedy score in Saturday's $40,000 third leg for trotting mares.

Driven by John Campbell, the popular post eight starter Jewels In Hock tracked the cover of Classical Annie (Yannick Gingras) past the half and sprinted home to take a new lifetime mark of 1:51.4. Barn Doll (Jeff Gregory), who had worked to the lead through a :27.1 opening quarter before Rules Of The Road (Corey Callahan) took over for middle splits of :55.4 and 1:23.4, finished second. Rules Of The Road was third.

Jewels In Hock was also victorious in the opening round of the Miss Versatility on May 23 at Mohawk Racetrack and was a runner-up in the Mohawk second leg on July 1. Linda Toscano trains the four-year-old daughter of Credit Winner for owner Kj Stables LLC of Baldwinsville, New York.

Peaking at prime time, the Hambletonian-bound Marion Marauder ($4) went wire-to-wire to win the second Stanley Dancer Memorial division for his Canadian connections.

Driver Scott Zeron had the even-money favourite Marion Marauder trotting out from post six to the lead the first time under the wire and rated fractions of :27.1, :57.2 and 1:27 while Desert Runner (Ake Svanstedt) led the outer flow with Bar Hopping (Tim Tetrick) on his back. Marion Maurauder pulled clear of the first over challenger at the 1:54.4 mile mark and opened up in the final eighth, stopping the timer in 2:08.1 for the 1-1/8 miles. Bar Hopping edged out pocket-sitter Iron Mine Bucky (George Dennis) in a photo for the second-place honours.

"You could tell they weren't leaving out of the gate much and Scott and I had discussed it once that we would try [racing on the front end] just to show that he can do it," said Mike Keeling, who trains the Muscle Hill colt with Paula Wellwood. "So it just seemed like they were going to give him the respect and it worked out great."

Marion Marauder is riding a three-race win streak that includes another stakes victory in the Goodtimes Trot for owners Devin Keeling of Cambridge, Ont. and Marion Jean Wellwood of Stratford, Ont.

"I think he's the best horse I've ever been around so we'll find out in three weeks just how good he is," said Keeling, noting that to have a horse like Marion Marauder in the Hambletonian would have meant "everything" to Paula's late father Bill Wellwood.

"Everybody that trains trotters, they dream about this. So I'm sure he's looking down here, and with Devin owning him with his grandmother, it really means a lot."

Always B Miki ($2.80) came out on top in another highly anticipated free-for-all showdown, winning the $471,800 William R. Haughton Memorial in a world record 2:01.1 for 1-1/8 miles.

The Jimmy Takter trainee extended his streak of world record performances to three in a row following back-to-back 1:47 miles in the Ben Franklin at The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono.

Mach It So (Tim Tetrick) fired from post six in the over-sized field of 12 with Freaky Feet Pete (Trace Tetrick) to his right and outsider Wiggle It Jiggleit (Montrell Teague) three-high entering the first turn. Wiggle It Jiggleit worked to the top over Freaky Feet Pete into the :25.3 first quarter, however, 2-5 favourite Always B Miki swept up from fifth and overtook his fellow Indiana-sired rivals at the :54 half-mile mark. Always B Miki continued on to three-quarters in 1:21.3 with Shamballa (Scott Zeron) advancing first over and moving up to his wheel, and All Bets Off (Matt Kakaley) fanning off cover as they turned for home. Always B Miki raced past the mile mark in 1:48.1 with Shamballa still in pursuit and held clear through the final eighth for his 24th career win. Shamballa finished second over Wiggle It Jiggleit and Freaky Feet Pete with All Bets Off fifth.

Always B Miki has finished no worse than second since recovering from an injury late last year with all of his race miles in 1:50 or faster. The five-year-old son of Always A Virgin is owned by Takter's wife Christina and partners Bluewood Stable of Hopewell, New Jersey and Roll The Dice Stable of Wilmington, Delaware.

"He's just a fantastic horse to do what he does," said Takter. "It's not like he had an easy road to get here. He's gone through a lot, this horse. It takes a patient horse to come back from all the injuries he had. He's just a fantastic horse. Every time I see a race, it gets me very emotional to just be around this horse.

"This was a great race and I'm just so happy to win the William Haughton Memorial. He was such a great guy," added Takter, referring to the race's namesake. "He really was one of a kind. Thirty years ago he passed away, I can't believe that time flies so fast, but what a wonderful person he was. I knew him personally and to win a race named after him I feel very honoured."

Supplemental entry Hannelore Hanover ($3.80) dominated her 10 male rivals in the $471,200 added-distance Hambletonian Maturity for four-year-old trotters.

Muscle Up The Goal (Aaron Merriman) got the first call leaving from post six before 2-1 second choice Musical Rhythm (John Campbell) crossed to command from post nine through the contested :26.3 opener. Meanwhile, Honor And Serve (Ake Svanstedt) was also advancing from the outside post and he made a brief appearance on the lead before being looped by Musical Rhythm en route to the half in :55.4, with 4-5 favourite Hannelore Hanover tracking that move.

The lone lass in the field of 11 and just the third mare to contest the Hambletonian Maturity, Hannelore Hanover trotted to the top before the far turn and reached three-quarters in 1:24.4. Wings Of Royalty (Brian Sears) was next in the outer flow with Crazy Wow (Tim Tetrick) hot on his heels, however, Hannelore Hanover kicked away to the 1:52.3 mile mark and continued to extend her lead to score by three and a half lengths in 2:05.4 for the 1-1/8 miles distance. Wings Of Royalty chased the winner home in second-place while Crazy Wow edged out Honor And Serves in a show photo.

The Ron Burke-trained Hannelore Hanover was supplemented to the Maturity for $50,000 following her impressive victories in the Armbro Flight -- a 1:51 world record -- and Miss Versatility at Mohawk Racetrack. The Swan For All mare is now nine-for-10 this year for Frank Baldachino of Clarksburg, New Jersey and his Pennsylvania partners Burke Racing Stable LLC and Weaver Bruscemi LLC.

"She was even better tonight than she was in Canada," noted Gingras after the race. "The second time I raced her in Canada she was a little bit hot. They made a couple of changes on her. She usually starts out a little stiff, but she warms right out of it. Tonight, the minute she hit the track she felt super and she just dominated them."

Lady Shadow ($3.40) capped off the Saturday stakes action with an overpowering world record performance in the $229,900 Golden Girls for pacing mares.

The five-year-old millionaire daughter of Shadow Play completed the 1-1/8 miles contest in a dazzling 2:00.3 time, besting Always B Miki's world record by three-fifths of a second that he established earlier in the Haughton.

Inittowinafortune (Scott Zeron) and Front Damage Blues (Andy Miller) fired out from posts seven and eight with the latter clearing to command into a eye-popping :24.4 opening quarter. Meanwhile, Yannick Gingras had the 3-5 favourite Lady Shadow on the move early out of post five and worked to the top in the second panel. She hit the half-mile mark in :53 and raced to three-quarters in 1:20.4 while beginning to draw away from the rest of the field. Lady Shadow powered past the mile marker in a sizzling time of 1:47 flat -- which would equal the world record for mares in a one-mile race -- and kept on rolling to the four-length victory in 2:00.3 for the added distance. Solar Sister (Brian Sears) was an impressive runner-up as she closed from the backfield while Inittowinafortune finished nine lengths back in third and held off Devil Child (Trace Tetrick) in a photo finish. Katie Said (Brett Miller) was fifth to round out the winning combination for the Super Hive Five wager.

Commenting on the fast fractions in a post-race interview, Gingras said, "Wow! :24.4 parked, yeah that's a first. I didn't know actually until after the race how fast we went the first quarter. I knew it was fast, but I was just trying to take my time to get there. I know it was hard, but it wasn't a pressed [:24.4] to get there.

"If I knew it was [1]:47 flat I might have let her go a little bit down the stretch. I was just letting her pace. I knew I had a big lead so I wasn't chasing her and I didn't kick the ear plugs, I was just kind of letting her do it on her own, but that would have been cool to go [1]:46.4 or something."

Reigning Canadian divisional champion Lady Shadow, who also recently swept the Roses Are Red Stakes, notched her fourth straight victory for trainer Ron Adams and owners David Kryway of Amherstburg, Ont., Carl Atley of Xenia, Ohio, Edwin Gold of Phoenixville, Pennsylvania, and Howard Taylor's Bfj Stable of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

When asked what kind of day he's had after winning the featured Meadowlands Pace with Control The Moment one race prior to Lady Shadow's record Golden Girls victory, longtime Standardbred owner Taylor said, "I think the greatest day anybody's ever had! I won a couple races in the early afternoon, I won the Sheppard with Ray Schnittker at Yonkers, then the last three races...Shamballa raced out of his mind and was second [in the Haughton], the Meadowlands Pace was the greatest thrill and I don't know... I don't want to go to sleep because I might get up and find out it was a dream!"

The Meadowlands' mandatory payout on the Super High Five wager returned $3,269.52 for every 20-cent winning ticket. The total pool of $1,015,660 included $747,891 in new money wagered, in addition to the $267,769 carryover amount. The wager had not been hit since The Meadowlands season began in November. There were 276 winning tickets rewarded thanks to the large carryover and low 15 percent takeout rate.

Click here for coverage of the main event, the $732,050 Crawford Farms Meadowlands Pace.

Important Links

  • Entries - Saturday's racing entries
  • Results - Saturday's racing results
  • Program Pages - past performance program page for each race
  • News - previews and recaps leading up to the Meadowlands Pace


As most of you know , I am a huge fan of wiggleit jiggleit . Having said that , I must say this . What an effort from Shamballa

is there any doubt who is the King of FFA's now.
WIJI got his coveted 2 hole trip and could not keep up.
Always B Miki is just that good. What a monster.
Case closed

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