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Graduates Mark Stakes Season Kickoff

Published: April 27, 2021 9:05 pm ET

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Soon after the lights dim from the Run for the Roses, the harness racing stakes season will begin to turn full tilt starting with the opening round of the Graduate Series at The Meadowlands on Saturday (May 1).

A pair of divisions scheduled on the 13-race card drew 16 pacing four-year-olds to spar, the first split carded as Race 8 and the second as Race 10.

Division one features the return of O'Brien Award winner Tattoo Artist, the 2019 freshman Ontario Sires Stakes champ now making his first start for trainer Chris Ryder. The stallion by Hes Watching ships north from Southern Oaks Training Center off two qualifiers against Doc Moore trainees Lady Arthur and Century Farroh. From his three-year-old year, Tattoo Artist won eight races from 17 starts to add to his total bankroll of $694,663 for owners Let It Ride Stables & Frank Cannon, Diamond Creek Racing and J&T Silva Stables. Todd McCarthy is listed to drive the Ontario phenom from post 8.

Little Brown Jug winner Captain Barbossa draws inside of Tattoo Artist, scoring from post 5. The Captaintreacherous gelding enters off a 1:49.1 victory with a :25.3 final quarter in an overnight race at The Meadowlands and will have Dexter Dunn handling the driving assignment for trainer Tony Alagna. Poseidon Seelster, a Canadian import from trainer Don Lindsey, also enters off sharp efforts at The Meadowlands, winning his last two races in sub-1:50 miles. That Sunshine Beach gelding will have George Brennan in the bike for trainer Nik Drennan.

Warrawee Vital makes his 2021 debut in the second Graduate division. Now racing in the Ron Coyne Jr. barn with regular conditioner Rob Fellows stationed at Harrah’s Hoosier Park, Warrawee Vital comes in off a 1:51.1 qualifier to finish second to Ruthless Hanover, who starts from post 6. N. Yolanda Fellows and M&S Racing Stable Inc. lease the Captaintreacherous stallion while Tim Tetrick is listed to drive from post 1.

Sandbetweenmytoes, who handed Tall Dark Stranger one of his only losses as a three-year-old when winning the Breeders Crown at 203-1, also competes in the second division. Scott Zeron drives the Somebeachsomewhere gelding for trainer Jim Campbell from post 8 off an eighth-place finish to Sintra in The Meadowlands top-level pace last week.

Ontario Sires Stakes star Beaumond Hanover makes his second start for new connections Pollack Racing LLC and Jeff Cullipher from post 7. The Sportswriter stallion debuted with a fifth-place finish as the 6-5 favourite in the $20,000 Open Pace at Harrah’s Hoosier Park last week. Tim Tetrick is also listed to drive.

Also returning to the track in the second division are freshman world champion Elver Hanover, who starts from post 2 for trainer Ron Burke and driver Yannick Gingras; and Allywag Hanover, the persistent Brett Pelling-trained Captaintreacherous stallion with David Miller listed to drive.

Starting Friday (April 30), the Canadian pool of talent at The Meadowlands will feature new competitors. Trainer Benoit Baillargeon will send five horses to the track over the course of the weekend—two on Friday and three on Saturday—while Sara Baillargeon will send three on Saturday. Driver James MacDonald is currently listed to drive four horses—two each night—at The Meadowlands. MacDonald will also cut his time at The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono, where he has six drives between Saturday and Sunday (May 2).

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