Itrustyou added a third series title to his resume while notching his 13th consecutive victory in the richest of three finals contested at Meadowlands Racetrack
on Saturday night.
After sweeping the Valedictory at Woodbine Racetrack and The Complex at the Meadowlands, Itrustyou dominated the Exit 16W. The series is for four-year-old male pacers that are non-winners of three extended pari-mutuel racing or $100,000 lifetime as of Dec. 10, 2011.
The four-year-old Third Straight-Dynamic Lady gelding cleared to command down the backstretch and held off what driver Yannick Gingras described as a "surprise" late rally from the ultra-consistent Special T Rocks (Daryl Bier) to win Saturday's $74,600 final in 1:50.2. Special T Rocks sprinted home in :26.4 from the pocket, just missing by a head. Mickey Hanover (Dan Dube) rallied home off second over cover to finish two lengths behind in third.
"I certainly didn’t want to race him this way tonight. I think it’s the first horse tonight that won on the front,” noted Gingras after the race. “My plan was to try and race him from the back, but it was really crowded there in the first turn and I saw Matt [Kakaley driving Fearless Diablo] was behind me and it seemed like there were horses coming up behind him too so I had to make my move there and the horse overcame it. He got stretched out a little bit getting to the front, but he really dug in again.
"Special T Rocks surprised me tonight," he continued. "I thought my horse was much better than him to be honest with you. I thought as long as I gave my horse a trip, he was the best horse in here. He got a little bit tired, but maybe I was a little bit too confident there halfway down the stretch. ‘Special T’ gave us a run, which I didn’t think he was going to so props to him, but my horse is a very nice horse."
Itrustyou is trained and owned by Ron Burke's Burke Racing Stable LLC.
The gelding will look to extend his win streak back in Canada in the Cam Fella Series.
"I'm pretty sure he'll be pretty tough to beat. Those kind of series I think he’s dominant in," offered Gingras, adding that the gelding was much better this week compared to last week after some training adjustments by his crew.
Itrustyou paid $3.60 to win as part of the favoured entry.
Eastwood Blue Chip proved to be a profitable "accidental" purchase for his new owners as he completed his own series sweep in the Junior Trendsetter on Saturday. The series is for sophomore colts and geldings that are non-winners of two extended pari-mutuel races or $25,000 lifetime as of Dec. 10, 2011.
Driven by Dan Dube, the Dragon Again-Shes Smashing gelding sat fourth for most of the mile while the top three horses battled for the leading role. He picked up cover near the third-quarter mark and rallied home to win the $58,500 final in a career-best time of 1:52.1. Llc Delight (Yannick Gingras) finished one and a half lengths behind in second over the popular Take A Walk (Ron Pierce).
“Everything was perfect," said Dube of the winning trip. "We left out of there to get that good spot and then they went fast fractions and after that to be second over, it was perfect for him. He won easy."
The series sweep gives Eastwood Blue Chip a perfect three-for-three record for trainer and co-owner Eric Ell, who accidentally purchased the gelding at the Harrisburg Sale.
“Eric was at the sale at Harrisburg and he was scratching his neck and they thought he was bidding on the horse for $17,000 so we grabbed him," laughed co-owner John Emmons of Howell, New Jersey. "It’s a joke down in Maryland.
"The first week [of the series] with [Ron] Pierce he was unbelievable and then Dube last week was incredible, tonight was fantastic," added Emmons. "Next up is the Stallion Series and I have to talk to Eric about the rest of it."
Eastwood Blue Chip paid $17 to win as the 7-1 fourth choice.
The Aquarius Series for four-year-old open pacers also wrapped up on Saturday with Rockem keeping the good times rolling for owner Jeffrey Bamond of Brick, New Jersey.
The Rocknroll Hanover-Dont Toy With Me gelding settled away fifth in the $57,600 final with Tim Tetrick at the lines and launched a late attack in the stretch to steal the glory in a career-best 1:50 clocking. Great Vintage (Dave Miller) came on for second, finishing one and a half lengths. Pacesetter Camaes Fellow (Brian Sears) finished third after being pressed by favourite Westwardho Hanover (Yannick Gingras) through the middle half.
"There was plenty of action up front and that’s what my horse needed to get the job done. Every week my horse has been finishing well, but just not being able to get into the race close enough," said Tetrick, referring to a pair of :26 and change final quarters Rockem put forth in the preliminary rounds. "When they started coming back to him, he swelled up and he got by them."
Rockem picked up his first win of the year in three starts for trainer P.J. Fraley and Baymond. He sports a career record reading 10-5-3 in 26 outings with a bankroll totalling $240,172.
"It’s going really good. Hopefully it continues," said Baymond, who also co-owns O'Brien Award and Dan Patch winner Anndrovette and stakes champion Krispy Apple. "I purchased Rockem at Harrisburg. He’s the horse we went to buy and we got him. My son has the stakes schedule picked out. I think he’ll be a nice overnight horse from three turning four so we’ll see."
Rockem paid $11.80 to win as the 9-2 third choice.
Meadowlands' 13-race card produced the highest total handle of the meet, with $3,144,519 wagered. The milestone was also higher than any night in 2011, excluding the Meadowlands Pace and Hambletonian cards.
To view Saturday's harness racing results, click on the following link: Saturday Results - Meadowlands Racetrack.