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Niki Hill Stays Unbeaten In Kindergarten

Published: September 11, 2021 1:24 am ET

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On a night that saw seven divisions of the Kindergarten Series for two-year-olds, Niki Hill was the most impressive winner Friday at The Meadowlands, scoring in 1:51.1 in the second leg for two-year-old fillies on the pace.

The Chris Ryder trainee remained unbeaten in three lifetime starts while lifting her career earnings to $47,291 for owner Tom Hill after leaving alertly from post eight in the 10-horse field with Dexter Dunn driving and reaching the quarter while parked in :28.

The 1-9 favourite sailed past the half in :56 and three-quarters in 1:23.3 before pacing her final quarter in :27.3 to report home a 3-1/4-length winner over Find Happiness. Hood Party was third.

A $155,000 Lexington Select Sales purchase, Niki Hill returned $2.10 to her backers. The time for the mile was three-fifths of a second slower than her lifetime best, which she set in Pennsylvania Sire Stakes action on August 9 at Pocono Downs.

It was a big night for Ryder as his trainee Ill Drink To That was over at Yonkers winning the $200,000 New York Sire Stakes Final for three-year-old pacing colts. But the trainer didn’t miss his filly’s win.

“I was at The Meadowlands early and then zipped over to Yonkers,” said Ryder. “Niki Hill is terrific. We haven’t raced her much yet this year so we can concentrate on the bigger races later on. She’s in the eliminations for the Shes A Great Lady next week. Then, she’ll go to the Breeders Crown, Three Diamonds and Kindergarten Final.”

The daughter of Always B Miki-Road Bet is doing her best to fill the void for Hill and Ryder left by Party Girl Hill, whose career was cut short by an injury after winning 15 of 16 races a year ago.

“Tom Hill was held up in England,” said Ryder, “so he asked me to find a top filly for him. I liked everything about Niki Hill. She’s a half-sister to Cattlewash, who won in 1:46.4 a couple of days before the sale. It feels good to make up for that loss.”

The $20,000 divisions for pacing colts went to Early Action (David Miller), who lowered his mark to 1:51.2 for trainer Joe Holloway while extending his win streak to three, and the Jim Campbell-trained Jo Pas Warrior (Tyler Buter), who took a new mark of 1:52.

The trotting colt divisions were won by the George Ducharme-trained Testing Testing (David Miller) in a career-best 1:54.4 mile and the 1:57.3 maiden-breaker By The Book (Todd McCarthy), who upset in a three-across finish for the Noel Daley stable.

A pair of first-time winners were in the spotlight in the trotting filly divisions as La Vie En Blanc (Dexter Dunn) prevailed in 1:56.4 for trainer Tony Alagna and Just Bee Awesome (Steve Smith) upset in 1:56.2 for conditioner Brett Pelling.

A LITTLE MORE: Dave Miller, Dunn, Todd McCarthy and Tyler Buter all recorded driving doubles on the card. … Izzy Estrada trained two to victory lane. … All-source handle totaled $1,962,356. … Racing resumes Saturday at 6:20 p.m.

(With files from Meadowlands Racetrack)

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