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Cutler, Graduate Set For Saturday

Published: May 12, 2021 12:08 pm ET

Last Comment: May 13, 2021 9:16 am ET | 1 Comment(s) | Jump to Comments

Large purses are again for the taking at The Meadowlands, with this Saturday’s (May 15) program highlighted by a pair of Graduate preliminaries and the $141,250 Arthur J. Cutler Memorial.

The Cutler Memorial, the second high-prize trot on the calendar, drew a stacked field of 10 mixed with heavy hitters of yester season and those trying to break through into the big leagues.

Forbidden Trade, the 2019 Hambletonian winner, makes his first start since Aug. 2020. The now five-year-old stallion by Kadabra scratched from the John Cashman Jr. Memorial last season before sustaining an injury that sidelined him the rest of the year. Driver Bob McClure reunites with the millionaire Luc Blais trainee wide of all his competition from post 10.

To the Hambo winner’s inside starts 2018 Hambletonian Oaks winner Manchego, who makes the first start of her revitalized career. Last November, owner Barry Guariglia of Black Horse Racing announced the six-year-old Muscle Hill mare would retire to the breeding shed, however the mare’s new dimensions on display at the end of last season convinced the ownership and trainer Nancy Takter to bring her back to the track in 2021. Approaching $3 million in earnings, the world champion mare will make her first bow of the year from post 9 with Dexter Dunn at the reins.

Manchego does not enter the free-for-all trot as the lone mare since trainer-driver Ake Svanstedt dropped the six-year-old Felicityshagwell S into the box. A mare by Swedish champion Maharajah, Felicityshagwell S finished a bridesmaid through most of her five-year-old season while still banking $116,308 for owner Knutsson Trotting Inc. Svanstedt will start from post 8 with his charge off a third-place finish in round one of the Miss Versatility, won by Breeders Crown Three-Year-Old Filly champ Next Level Stuff.

Another hard-luck trotter trying for stakes recognition is Lindy The Great, starting from post 7 for driver Andy Miller and trainer Julie Miller. The seven-year-old stallion by Crazed moved into their barn last year from Lindy Farms’ trainer Domenico Cecere to flying colours. Even though he won just one race from 16 starts, Lindy The Great accrued $423,674 through the year with a third-place finish in last year’s Cutler, a second-place finish in the $291,350 John Cashman Jr. Memorial and a second-place finish in the $560,000 Maple Leaf Trot among other stakes-placed efforts. He enters the Cutler unbeaten from two starts this year, both in the Preferred level at The Meadowlands.

The Cutler also features a pair of free-for-all stalwarts in Guardian Angel As and Crystal Fashion. Guardian Angel As – with $1.4 million banked – makes the second start of his seven-year-old career while Crystal Fashion – earning just over $2 million – makes the second start of his six-year-old campaign. Tim Tetrick drives Guardian Angel As for trainer Anette Lorentzon while Jordan Stratton has the call on Crystal Fashion for trainer Jim Campbell.

Midwest phenom Majestic Player A, who showed high speed in Ohio and Indiana in his first year outside Australasia, makes his second venture to the east coast for the Cutler Memorial. The Walter Haynes Jr. trainee last left his homestead for the $220,000 Crawford Farms Trot at Tioga Downs, where a tough trip landed him a ninth-place finish. Yannick Gingras will guide the seven-year-old Majestic Son gelding from post 5.

Finally, the field features a trio of trotters looking to establish themselves on the big stage. Pylon-starter Reign Of Honor, who won the Kindergarten Classic final as a two-year-old, changes hands again as Denis St. Pierre will send the five-year-old Father Patrick gelding to the gate for new owner Randy Zane of Quebec. Neighboring him on the gate is the five-year-old Deweycheatumnhowe gelding Oney Hall, who rose to the Preferred ranks at Woodbine Mohawk Park last season and now makes his first start in stakes company. Todd McCarthy drives the Brett Pelling trainee. Play Trix On Me, a Linda Toscano-trained son of Trixton, enters the Cutler as the only four-year-old. Finishing a narrow second to Amigo Volo in the Breeders Crown last year, he will start from post 4 for owner Renee Spahr.

The second round of the Graduate Series Pace sandwiches the evening’s featured event, carded as Race 8 and Race 10 while the Cutler goes as Race 9.

Division one of the Graduate pins first-leg winner Captain Barbossa against Warrawee Vital, who finished runner-up in the other Graduate division from the first round. Dexter Dunn stays aboard Captain Barbossa for trainer Tony Alagna and starts from post 6, while Warrawee Vital – with Tim Tetrick at the helm for trainer Ron Coyne Jr. – starts from post 5.

The first division of the Graduate also features a pair of Nancy Takter trainees in No Lou Zing and Ocean Rock, who start from posts 1 and 2 respectively. No Lou Zing danced in most of the late-season glamour boy dances and enters this event off a 1:49.3 victory in a $21,000 overnight at The Meadowlands. His stablemate Ocean Rock makes his first start outside of Ohio off three qualifiers – his latest a wire-to-wire mile in 1:50.3 on May 8.

Canada also has representation in division one with Ontario Sires Stakes star Beaumond Hanover and O’Brien Award winner Tattoo Artist. They start from post 7 and post 8, respectively, as they each try for their first win of the season.

Ruthless Hanover leads the second division off a 1:48.4 effort in the kick-off round of the series. Andrew McCarthy will again have to overcome an outside post with the Tom Cancelliere trainee, starting from post 8. Progress Pace champ Fortify will make his second start of the year from post 3 in the second division, while the race also features Breeders Crown winner Sandbetweenmytoes from post 2 and Chief Mate – a third-place finisher in round one – from post 3.

The Saturday card at The Meadowlands also features three $30,000 Preferred events, two for each sex on the pace and one on the trot.

Off a 16-1 upset, Keep Rockin A moves to the top of the condition sheet in the Mare Pace. She makes her second start for trainer Richard “Nifty” Norman and starts from post 1 in a field including Rocknificent (post 2), Lyons Sentinel (post 4), Soho Burning Love A (post 5) and Treacherous Reign (post 8).

Another “Nifty” Norman trainee headlines the Preferred Trot, with Breeders Crown champ Amigo Volo making the first start of his four-year-old season. Dexter Dunn will guide the Father Patrick gelding from the pylon post against the likes of Julie Miller trainee and up-and-comer Get Legs (post 2), OSS Grassroots champ Lovedbythemasses (post 4) and fellow “Nifty” Norman trainee Chin Chin Hall (post 8).

The Preferred Pace gathers a field of six void of four-year-old competition. Wheels On Fire will try for back-to-back victories in the $30,000 event from post 6 with Yannick Gingras in the bike for trainer Ron Burke. MGM Borgata favourite Western Joe makes his return to The Meadowlands in this event, and starts from post 4 with Dexter Dunn listed to drive for trainer Christopher Choate.

Saturday’s card at The Meadowlands has 14 races scheduled to start at 6:20 p.m. (EDT).

May 13, 2021 - 9:16 amIf there's a Cutler Memorial

Mike Mobley SAID...

If there's a Cutler Memorial for older trotters, then, just like with the Miss Versatility last weekend, why isn't there a companion race for older pacers? Once again, the much more popular gait is getting the short end of the stick.


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