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Tall Dark Stranger Scores In Meadowlands Pace

Published: July 18, 2020 10:43 pm ET

Last Comment: July 19, 2020 10:29 am ET | 1 Comment(s) | Jump to Comments

Challenged late by Papi Rob Hanover, Tall Dark Stranger emerged victorious as the 1-2 favourite in the $636,650 Meadowlands Pace Final on Saturday (July 18).

Captain Kirk swept from post 10 to take the lead from stablemate Captain Barbossa midway around the first turn. Driver Yannick Gingras then sent Tall Dark Stranger for the lead approaching a :25.4 first quarter and cleared command into the backstretch. Past the half in :53.2, Tall Dark Stranger soon braced for a first-over challenge from Papi Rob Hanover entering the final turn. The pair matched strides past three-quarters in 1:20.4 while Allywag Hanover stalked second over.

Papi Rob Hanover edged past Tall Dark Stranger into the stretch to lead by a neck while Allywag Hanover fanned off cover but gave chase. Tall Dark Stranger continued to fight at the pylons and started to cut into his deficit entering the final eighth. Papi Rob Hanover clung to command but could not revamp Tall Dark Stranger’s resurgence at the pylons.

"Honestly at the top of the stretch I thought he was beat," Gingras said after the race. "David had a handful of pace outside of me, but this horse is just so gritty. He's a fighter; he wants to fight them off. Last year I said after the Breeders Crown that he was going to come back and win this race. There were a lot of doubters out there but I think tonight was the proof."

The Nancy Takter-trained son of Bettors Delight reclaimed command and hit the finish in 1:47.2 with Papi Rob Hanover second, Allywag Hanover third and Manticore fourth.

“I was really worried at the top of the stretch,” co-owner Buck Chaffee of Caviart Farms said after the race. “I thought that we were going to lose frankly. Papi Rob is a great horse, and for stranger to fight back like he did just shows his grit and his heart. He just has that champion in him, and he just brings it out.

“I thought it was a fantastic race last year [in the Breeders Crown],” Buck also said of Tall Dark Stranger’s last matchup against Papi Rob Hanover. “I’ve always said that I wished we just didn’t have that interference, because I really do think that ‘Stranger’ was coming back. And now tonight, he showed that he can come back and do that. He’s just proven himself now. Just a great, great horse. Unreal.”

Owned by Crawford Farms Racing, Marvin Katz, Caviart Farms and Howard Taylor, Tall Dark Stranger remains undefeated from three starts this season while collecting his 11th victory from 12 starts overall. The victory pushes Tall Dark Stranger over $1 million in earnings. He paid $3.00 to win.

The Meadowlands Pace was part of a stakes-packed Saturday card at The Meadowlands. Read about the rest of the action in the Meadowlands Pace News Centre.

July 19, 2020 - 10:29 amIf Tall Dark Stranger wins

Mike Mobley SAID...

If Tall Dark Stranger wins The Cane Pace on 8/8, will his connections go for The Triple Crown and enter him in The Messenger eliminations on 8/29, or will they go for a $1 million purse and enter him in The NAC? That could make a good SC Web Poll.

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