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'T-Rex' Romps In Big M Preferred

Published: July 8, 2017 12:02 am ET

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Trainer Julie Miller wasn’t worried. She had faith her husband would get Tuonoblu Rex clear for the stretch drive in the $20,000 Preferred Handicap Trot at The Meadowlands during an action-packed Friday night (July 7) card of harness racing.

That faith was realized as driver Andy Miller and ‘T Rex’ swerved off the rail as the field straightened away in the stretch before uncorking an explosive :26.2 final quarter
over the sloppy track that resulted in a one and a quarter-length win. The final time of 1:51 lowered the five-year-old son of Cantab Hall’s lifetime mark by one and one-fifth seconds. Gural Hanover was second with Opulent Yankee third.

Gural Hanover was sent to the lead and set solid fractions of :26.3, :56.1 and 1:24. JL Cruze, the 9-5 second choice, went first-over from the three-eighths and made steady progress approaching the head of the stretch as Tuonoblu Rex sat trapped in the three-hole along the rail.

“I was actually happy to see him out there,” said the winning trainer. “I know JL Cruze doesn’t like to be on the outside.”

JL Cruze weakened for the stretch drive, leaving room for Tuonoblu Rex to showcase his explosive late burst.

“I figured Andy would find a way,” said Julie Miller.

Despite an 18-day layoff, Tuonoblu Rex was super sharp.

“He’s been healthy but there aren’t many opportunities for a horse like this to get raced,” said Julie Miller. “He’s staked to everything. The problem is, a lot of those races go by money won, so he gets knocked out of a lot of those.”

'T Rex' paid $4 to win as the even-money choice and is now four-for-six this year and 10-for-20 overall, with lifetime earnings of $234,918 for owners Stable Why Not of Millstone Township, New Jersey.

Friday's opening leg of the Kindergarten Classic Series for two-year-old trotting colts was comprised of two $10,000 divisions won by the debuting Jimmy Takter trainees Hill Street (Muscle Hill-Think Twice), in 1:56.2 in rein to Yannick Gingras, and Story Time Hanover (Muscle Hill-Shared Past), with Andrew McCarthy in the sulky, in 1:57.1 by a head over his stablemate Bautista (Muscle Hill-Ever Gorgeous).

The second-leg filly divisions were won by Hey Blondie (Cantab Hall-Winbak Blondie) and McCarthy in 1:56.3 for trainer Chuck Sylvester and the Erv Miller-trained Supergirl Riley (Muscle Mass-Crown Laurel) and Scott Zeron in 1:57.3.

In New Jersey Sire Stakes action for two-year-old trotting fillies, Princess Marxxx (Wishing Stone-Grace Marie) was victorious in her $20,000 second-leg division in 1:57.4 for driver Andy Miller and trainer Justin Lebo. The non-betting splits went to two-year-old trotting colt U Need Stones (Wishing Stone-Sequin Hanover) in 1:55.2; two-year-old pacing filly Hurrikane Empress (Hurrikane Kingcole-Hurrikane Schmumma) in 1:53.1; and two-year-old pacing gelding Melanies Fran (Hypnotic Blue Chip-Natalie) in 1:55.1 -- all repeat winners.

A LITTLE MORE: All-source wagering on the program totalled $2,040,352. … Post time on Saturday has been moved up 45 minutes to 6:30 p.m. The card features the 2017 debut of Hambletonian favourite Walner as well as the elimination for the July 15 Crawford Farms Meadowlands Pace. In addition, there are also two Graduate Series finals, with each sporting a purse of $240,000.

(With files from Meadowlands Racetrack)

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