Inaminute Hanover had raced well in three straight starts at The Meadowlands heading into Saturday’s (March 18) featured $45,000 Open 2/Open 1 Handicap for trotters, and according to his driver Andy McCarthy, it was his time to visit the winner’s circle.
“He has been racing well,” said McCarthy. “[Trainer] Jake Huff has brought him along slowly, and if you do the right thing, he’ll get his turn.”
In a race that included standouts Mississippi Storm (who was favoured in last week’s trotting feature), Rich And Miserable (who won three of his first five 2023 starts), Hillexotic (an earner of more than $283,000 a year ago) and Ahundreddollarbill (who won this race seven days ago), Inaminute Hanover would have to bring his best. And he did.
Racing in the four-hole after Ahundredollarbill led at the quarter in :27.4 and Hillexotic at the half in :55.3, McCarthy moved Inaminute Hanover to the outside to go after the leaders uncovered. He made steady progress and raced alongside Hillexotic a length behind at three-quarters in 1:24.3, setting up a toe-to-toe battle to the wire, a prize fight taken by Inaminute Hanover in the final strides by a big nose in 1:52.4. Platinum As closed well for third.
“I figured Toddy [McCarthy, driving Ahundreddollarbill from post 10] and Dave [Miller, driving Rich And Miserable from post eight, who broke early for a second straight start] would be leaving, so I knew I had to get out of there pretty good,” said Andy McCarthy. “I wasn’t confident my horse [would get there], but he got there in the end.”
A five-year-old gelded son of Bar Hopping-Im On Cloud Nine, Inaminute Hanover returned $8.60 to his backers as the 3-1 second choice. He’s now won 12 of 50 lifetime starts, good for earnings of $305,831 for owners Beauty Bridle Racing Stable.
As the 2-1 favourite, Ahundreddollarbill flattened late after sitting a pocket trip and finished seventh.
In what was anything but a surprise, Southwind Gendry scored in the $28,000 pacing feature, an Open 2 Handicap, as the 1-5 public choice in 1:50.4.
Yannick Gingras had the Ron Burke trainee away well from post six and made the early lead, hitting the quarter in :27.3 before yielding to Sonny Weaver N. In an instant, Gingras put Southwind Gendry back on top, and the five-year-old gelded son of Always B Miki-Gamblers Passion took care of business from there.
A middle-half rating of :56.4 had Southwind Gendry in good shape turning for home despite Sonny Weaver N still hanging in there, just three-quarters of a length behind.
“My horse struggles a little bit in the last turn,” said Gingras. “He just slows down a little, that’s why they got close, but once he straightened away, he was good again. I was really confident at the top of the stretch that he’d get the job done. He had a rough go of it last year [winning just two of 14 starts as a four-year-old], but he’s come back sound. He was a little bit on the left line last week [when a close-up third in his seasonal debut] or he might have won.”
Southwind Gendry paced a final quarter in :26.2 to hit the wire two lengths in front of the pocket-sitting Trendy Teen. Livinthebeachlife was third with Sonny Weaver N fourth.
While upping his lifetime stats to 17 wins from 48 starts, Southwind Gendry increased his gaudy bankroll to $1,115,872 for owners Burke Racing and Phillip Collura, Knox Services, J And T Silva and Purnell and Libby. He returned $2.40 to win.
The tandem of Gingras and Burke had a huge night, teaming up to win four times on the card to lead the driver and trainer colonies, respectively.
Magritte impressed while winning the $15,000 TrackMaster Series final. The Cameron Capone trainee was driven to victory by Jordan Stratton in 1:50.4 in the event for horses with a TM rating of 74.5 or less. The time matched that of Southwind Gendry.
All-source betting totaled $3,643,854, keeping The Big M’s streak of surpassing the magic $3-million mark intact. There have been 21 Friday and Saturday night programs conducted during 2023 and every one has seen wagering exceed $3 million. During 2022, betting went past the $3-million mark 23 times during the 85-program season.
Live harness racing resumes Friday (March 24) at 6:20 p.m. (EDT).