The Preferred Pace at the Meadowlands Saturday night (Feb. 29) may have lacked quantity, but it did not lack for quality–or a thrilling finish–as None Bettor A recorded a narrow victory over Trump Nation in 1:50.4.
After Endeavor scratched, the $30,000 event was down to a field of five. In the early going 4-5 favourite Trump Nation, who was in search of a fifth-straight Big M score, put even-money second choice None Bettor A in the pocket.
There wasn’t much action to the half, which was clocked in :56.1, but with three-eighths of a mile to go, driver Andy McCarthy edged None Bettor A to the outside as Yannick Gingras and Trump Nation braced for the challenge.
Then, the action went from pedestrian to pulse-pounding.
Trump Nation dug in through the length of the stretch as the Andrew Harris-trained None Bettor A relentlessly continued to inch closer. At the wire, it took the photo-finish camera to determine that None Bettor A, making his seasonal debut, had nosed out Trump Nation. Both recorded final quarters of :26.1. Rodeo Rock was explosive late after racing last to the top of the stretch to finish third. Harambe Deo and Franco Totem N cashed the final two checks.
“I’ve trained Trump Nation [in the past],” said Harris. “And I know how quick his turn of foot is. But I won’t lie. When I saw those fractions, I was not sure what to think. But this being None Bettor’s first start, and against top horses, I’m very pleased. He’s tuned up and ready for stakes season.
“He will skip next week most likely. Then on to the [March 14] Borgata Series [at Yonkers]. And he’s staked up pretty good, so we will play it by ear as we go and he will tell us what he’s ready for and when.”
None Bettor A returned $4.20 to win as the second choice in the wagering. The seven-year-old gelded son of Bettors Delight-Limerick Star, who is owned by Joe P Racing and Oldford Racing, now has 29 wins in 77 starts and earnings of $459,445.
POWERFUL PICK-6 POOL: The 20-cent Pick 6, which had a carryover of $11,270 from Friday, saw $77,512 in “new money” for a total pool of $88,782. A formful sequence saw four favorites, one even-money second choice and one 5-1 shot combine to create a payoff of $288.98.
WILD WAGERING WEEKEND: For a second-straight night, betting was less than $30,000 away from the magic $3-million mark, but was more than enough to complete the biggest weekend of betting at the Big M in 2020.
After $2,973,673 was pushed through the windows Saturday, the third best single night of the year, the weekend total reached $5,944,408.
A LITTLE MORE: When Jeff Dauplaise, 58, moved Soho Chelsea A along the inside to win the 11th race, it gave the veteran driver his first win at the Meadowlands since Dec. 5 of 2015. Lifetime, he’s won 228 races.
Dexter Dunn led the driver colony with four wins on the card. Gingras had a driving double, lifting his February win total to a track-best 23.
Racing resumes Friday (March 6) at 6:55 p.m.