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Meladys Monet To Make 2021 Debut

Published: January 12, 2021 4:05 pm ET

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The Friday (Jan. 15) card at Freehold Raceway will once again feature a $12,000 Preferred Handicap Trot. A field of eight will line up, with an east coast trotting veteran serving as the headliner.

Meladys Monet was assigned the outside post for his 12-year-old debut for trainer Hermann Heitmann. Although he's won at tracks all over the east coast, his greatest success has come at Yonkers Raceway. All six of his wins in 2020 came at Yonkers, including two victories in their Open Handicap Trot. In his career, he has won 67 races while earning over $1.7 million. Perhaps his greatest moment came in 2016, when he finished second to Bee A Magician in a $250,000 invitational event on the Yonkers International Trot undercard by three-quarters of a length.

This will be his first start at Freehold since 2012, when he swept his way through the New Jersey Sire Stakes-Green Acres series. Eric Abbatiello has the drive on Friday afternoon.

Although trainer Paul Kelley did not send his best trotter, Obrigado, he still looms a threat in Friday's feature with The Veteran. He won twice in upper-level conditioned races at Yonkers in the fall, and finished fourth in the Open Handicap at that track. Last out, he showed speed against tough conditioned trotters at The Meadowlands, and looks for a rebound from post position seven. Current leading driver Daniel Dubé will be in the bike.

The Preferred Handicap Trot will go as the ninth race, with a scheduled post time of 3:10 p.m.

The Friday card also features the second leg of the Vinny Fusco Jr. Memorial Pacing Series for New Jersey-owned, sired or foaled fillies and mares. The first division, for horses with a TrackMaster Horse Rating of 68.00 and 71.50, features a full gate of nine, and will go as the fifth race. Southwind Tsunami, who won the first leg last week, will look for a repeat from post position one for trainer Mark Capone and driver Jack Pelling.

The second division, for horses with a TrackMaster rating between 71.50 and 75.00, drew 14 entries and was split into two races. First-leg winners Always Be Lucy and Tall Poppy N drew separate races, and will seek to win for the second time in a row. Always Be Lucy has post position five in race four for trainer Kelly Hastings and driver Luke Hanners. Tall Poppy N will leave from the three-hole in race 11 for trainer Kelvin Harrison.

Post time for the first of 12 races at Freehold on Friday is scheduled for 12:30 p.m.

(Freehold Raceway)

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