Meadows and Meadowlands offer top Saturday cards

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Ted Black

July 29th, 2018

Saturday afternoon the main event for standardbred racing fans was the latest edition of the diluted Adios Pace at the Meadows while trotting fans focused their attention on the action at the Meadowlands later that evening.

Heading into the $400,000 Adios final at the Meadows, a race that once demanded durability and stamina in addition to speed, much of the focus was on Dorsoduro Hanover (Matt Kakaley) who was made the 6-5 favorite although he had been beaten in his elim one week earlier by Hitman Hill (Brett Miller), the 7-2 second choice. Elim winner American History (Yannick Gingras) was the 5-1 third choice from post four.

When the gate folded in the Adios final, Dorsoduro Hanover gained command in a 26.3 opener with Hitman Hill gladly accepting the pocket just in front of GD Western Joe (Dave Palone) and American History. Dorsoduro Hanover got a breather by the half in 55.1, kept American History at bay down the backside and by three-quarters in 1:22.3 then kept that one at bay through the lane to score in 1:50.1.

A sophomore son of Somebeachsomewhere trained by Ron Burke, Dorsoduro Hanover notched his fifth win in 10 starts and pushed his seasonal earnings to $500,000. Runner-up to Courtly Choice in the $700,000 Meadowlands Pace final, Dorsoduro Hanover is clearly among the best three-year-old colt pacers in the land and is likely heading to Northfield Park for the $400,000 Milstein Memorial next Saturday where he should face Lather Up and Slick Tony among others.

Then later in the second race at the Meadowlands, JL Cruze (Brett Miller) overcame a lengthy layoff and post seven to gain command in a 27 flat opener, got a breather to the half in 56, raced unpressed through the far turn and by three-quarters in 1:24.2 then held sway through the lane despite drifting in the lane to score in 1:51.2. A seven-year-old Crazed gelding trained by Eric Ell for owners Kenny Wood, Bill Dittmar and Steve Iaquinta, JL Cruze kicked off his 2018 campaign belatedly in sharp fashion and the "Denton Destroyer" should make some noise on Hambletonian Day.

Two races later on the card, Mets Hall (Andy Miller) tuned up for a berth in the Grade I, $1.5 million Hambletonian by taking the $45,000 Reynolds Stakes for sophomore trotting colts in 1:53 in an unusual event. Mets Hall gained command easily as the 3-5 choice and cruised by the half in 57.3 then yielded to 49-1 outsider Hockey Hanover (Wilbur Yoder) before three-quarters, angled out of the pocket and then edged Fashionwoodchopper (David Miller) to score in 1:53.

A Maryland-bred sophomore son of Cantab Hall trained by Julie Miller, Mets Hall notched his first win in three starts this year and now sports six wins and $310,000 banked from 14 career tries.

Then two races later in the first $50,000 Hambletonian Oaks elimination, Manchego (Yannick Gingras) easily lived up to her role as the 1-9 favorite when she overcame post seven to gain command down the backside, maintained an honest tempo by the half in 55.2, strolled by three-quarters in 1:24.1 then drew clear in the lane to score in 1:51.1. The sophomore daughter of Muscle Hill trained by Jimmy Takter rebounded from consecutive losses to notch her fourth win in six starts this year and she now owns 16 wins and $986,000 banked from 18 career outings.

Manchego was clearly the best sophomore filly from this group to advance to next Saturday's Grade I, $750,000 Hambo Oaks final with longshot Lily Stride (Tim Tetrick), Hey Blondie (Andrew McCarthy) and What A Knockout (David Miller) and she will be among the favorites for the final. Hey Blondie had won a minor stakes last weekend but weakened in the lane and was overtaken late by Lily Stride who seems overmatched.

Then one race later in the $20,000 Preferred for older pacers, Western Joe (Scott Zeron) rallied from midpack and closed willingly in the lane to overhaul 3-5 choice Miso Fast (Tetrick) to score by a length in 1:47.3. A four-year-old Western Ideal stallion trained by Chris Choate, Western Joe rebounded from a series of narrow victories to notch his eighth win in 21 starts this year and push his seasonal earnings toward $170,000 lowering his lifetime mark by two full seconds.

Then one race later in the second $50,000 Hambletonian Oaks elim for three-year-old filly trotters, Phaetosive (Trond Smedshammer) lived up to her role as the 4-5 choice when she overcame a brief, first over bid to wear down Plunge Blue Chip (Ake Svandstedt) through the far turn and drew clear in the lane to score by four lengths in 1:51. A sophomore daughter of Explosive Matter trained by Smedshammer for the Purple Haze Stable, Phaetosive notched her third win in four starts this year and looms one of the serious contenders for the Oaks final next weekend.

Live Laugh Love (David Miller) sat a loose pocket through much of the mile, angled out in the lane and easily gained the place spot from Plunge Blue Chip who simply offered little in the stretch two weeks after her sensational 1:49.4 score over Manchego.

Then one race later in the second, $45,000 Reynolds Memorial for three-year-old colt trotters with Hambo hopes next weekend, Crystal Fashion (Tetrick) easily lived up to his role as the 1-5 favorite when he rallied from well off the pace and widest of all to sweep past Hat Trick Hanover (Andy Miller) to score in 1:52.4. A sophomore son of Cantab Hall trained by Jim Campbell for Fashion Farms, Crystal Fashion notched his fifth win in eight starts this year and ninth win in 20 career tries and pushed his lifetime earnings past $520,000 and will head into the Hambo as a genuine contender.

That same evening at Yonkers Raceway in New York, Bit Of A Legend N (Jordan Stratton) overcame his assigned post eight when he rallied from far off the fast early pace and widest of all in the lane to score in 1:51.4. A nine-year-old Bettor's Delight stallion trained by Peter Tritton for the Vonknoblauch Stable, Bit Of A Legend N notched his 45th career victory and pushed his lifetime earnings past $2.35 million and seems destined to return to Harrington Raceway in six weeks to defend his title in the $150,000 Bobby Quillen Memorial.

Then one race later in the non-winners of $30,000 last five starts class, Killer Martini (Stratton) overcame an extended first over bid to wear down favored Western Dynasty (Jason Bartlett) through the far turn and then outlasted the late bid of Theartofconfusion A (Mark MacDonald) to score by a nose in 1:51.3. A six-year-old Camluck gelding owned and trained by Ricky Bucci, Killer Martini ended a prolonged drought to record his fourth win in 23 starts this year and push his seasonal earnings past $175,000.