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Atlanta Ascends To Cutler Victory

Published: July 4, 2020 10:06 pm ET

Last Comment: July 5, 2020 10:34 am ET | 1 Comment(s) | Jump to Comments

Stalking the speed set by even-money favourite Manchego, Atlanta nudged out of the pocket spot and slid to the centre of the course, downing her rival to win the $170,900 Arthur J. Cutler Memorial on Saturday (July 4) at the Meadowlands Racetrack.

Driver Yannick Gingras pushed the five-year-old Chapter Seven mare for the front from post 5 and beat Manchego to the cones entering the first turn. Manchego parked but promptly progressed to the front past a :25.4 quarter, clearing command into the backside.

“I didn’t think we’d be going that fast,” Gingras said about the opening fraction. “I definitely wanted to stretch [Manchego] out. I had drawn inside of her and wanted to take advantage of it.”

Manchego slowed the tempo heading to a :54.3 half, prompting Chin Chin Hall to tip first over from sixth as the outer tier began to advance towards the lead. Rounding the far turn, Chin Chin Hall drew alongside Manchego while Southwind Chrome—positioned second over—began to angle three wide. The dueling pair clicked three-quarters in 1:23.1 as Atlanta slipped through a seam to fan out of the pocket for the stretch drive.

Manchego lost the lead briefly to Chin Chin Hall in the stretch before regaining control as he faltered into the eighth pole. Atlanta, once swung around tiring horses, accelerated for the lead and edged past Manchego in the final sixteenth to win by a half length. Manchego settled for second while Lindy The Great soared widest of all to claim third from Southwind Chrome.

“There were some anxious moments around the last turn,” Gingras said. “We were going pretty slow, and there was strategy on both sides. He was trying to keep me locked in. Thankfully, I was able to squeeze out. I thought I had it won at the top of the stretch when I cleared.”

Owned by Crawford Farms Racing, Brad Grant and Howard Taylor, Atlanta stopped the clock in a stakes-record time of 1:50.1. The time beats the previous record of 1:50.2 set by world champion Sebastian K S in 2014. She collected her first win from two starts this season and her 21st from 41 overall, pushing the Ron Burke trainee over the $2-million (USD) earnings plateau.

Atlanta paid $5.40 to win.

The Graduate Series Pace featured three $50,000 divisions for its second preliminary on the Saturday card as well. Brassy Hanover pulled a 10-1 upset in the first division with a first-over grind into a career-best 1:48.1 score.

Warrawee Ubeaut gunned for the front but yielded command to slight-favourite Hurrikane Emperor following a :26.3 first quarter. Hurrikane Emperor then strolled uncontested through a :54.3 half and continued to cruise as Brassy Hanover angled first over into the far turn.

Passing three-quarters in 1:22.3, Hurrikane Emperor maintained command while Brassy Hanover ranged to race within a length of the lead with Shamwow on his back. Brassy Hanover continued to dig into Hurrikane Emperor through the stretch until the pacesetter faltered into the final eighth, leaving Brassy Hanover to roll to a one-and-a-half length win over Shamwow. Hurrikane Emperor settled for third while Warrawee Ubeaut, off a pocket trip, tired to finish seventh.

Returning $22.60 to win, Brassy Hanover collected his second win from three starts this season and his fifth from 25 overall, earning $247,255. Jeff Cullipher trains and co-owns the four-year-old Well Said gelding with Pollack Racing LLC. Scott Zeron sat in the sulky.

A couple races later Bllack Hole pulled a 12-1 upset while winning the fastest Graduate split, landing a neck victory in 1:48—a lifetime best.

Dancin Lou, sent the odds-on favourite, cleared control past a :26.1 first quarter with Angers Bayama settling into the pocket and Century Farroh into third. As Dancin Lou slowed to a :55 half, Century Farroh launched first over to challenge for command and clear to the cones moving to the final turn.

Rockie Got Framed, riding cover but then left first over, advanced to match strides with Century Farroh passing three-quarters in 1:22. Century Farroh put away Rockie Got Framed into the stretch but began to drift off the pylons, leaving room for Dancin Lou to slide through. However Century Farroh battled back, holding a slim lead nearing the finish. As the two dueled to the finish, Bllack Hole hit his best strides, uncorked from third over and sprinting a :25.2 final quarter to nail Century Farroh on the finish. Dancin Lou settled for third.

Paying $26.20 to win, Bllack Hole won his second race from five starts this season and his 11th from 16 overall, earning $284,749. Scott Di Domenico trains the four-year-old Mr Apples gelding for L & L Stables and Tim Tetrick sat in the bike.

Bettors Wish delivered as the 1-5 favourite in the final Graduate division, strolling to a 1:48.2 victory.

Driver Dexter Dunn floated Bettors Wish to race fifth passing a :26.2 first quarter set by Aflame Hanover. Best In Show sat in the pocket, but circled to the front before a :54.3 half as De Los Cielos Deo, tracked by Bettors Wish, began to flush first over.

Nearing three-quarters De Los Cielos Deo drew closer to the front, prompting Aflame Hanover to vacate pocket. Past three-quarters in 1:22.2, Aflame Hanover surged to a brief lead while Best In Show tired to the inside. Bettors Wish, positioned four wide, had open road to rally and sprinted to the lead moving to the final eighth, finishing the mile under wraps while chased by Workin Ona Mystery as he closed and settled for second. Aflame Hanover held third in a photo with Wild Wild Western.

Winning his first race from two starts this season and his 19th from 33 overall, Bettors Wish has amassed $1,958,841 for trainer Chris Ryder along with partners Bella Racing, Fair Island Farms and Bettors Wish Partners. The four-year-old Bettors Delight stallion paid $2.60 to win.

(with files from the Meadowlands)

July 5, 2020 - 10:34 amThe track at The Meadowlands

Mike Mobley SAID...

The track at The Meadowlands was lightning-fast last night. 8 of the 13 races went in sub-1:50. The average winning time was 1:49.2.

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