There have not been many horses, if any, better than Rockeyed Optimist this year. After the second round of the Clyde Hirt Series on Saturday at The Meadowlands, there now has not been any horse faster than Rockeyed Optimist this year, as he won this round in a spectacular 1:48.3.
Doctor Butch had paced the fastest mile of 2015 prior to Saturday, with a time of 1:48.4 in a Meadowlands Free For All.
Rockeyed Optimist, the 1-9 favourite, would not lead this field throughout, instead resorting to stalking tactics. The early lead belonged to a keyed up Rock Out, who sailed through strong fractions of :26.2 and :54.4 before receiving a challenge from the previously pocket-sitting Caviart Luca.
Caviart Luca pulled pocket around the far turn and pulled alongside Rock Out through three-quarters of 1:22.2. While the duel intensified nearing the top of the stretch, Rockeyed Optimist continued to stalk the leaders from third.
In mid-stretch, Tim Tetrick guided Rockeyed Optimist to the crown of the racetrack where he flew past the dueling leaders to win emphatically for the sixth time in seven tries this season. The final time of 1:48.3 was a lifetime mark for the winner. Caviart Luca went a good mile to be second with Lord Of Misrule rallying a bit for third.
Rockeyed Optimist is owned by Anthony Perretti, Virginia Berkner, A And B Stable and Joseph Battaglia and is trained by Steve Elliot.
The Clyde Hirt Final will be contested on Saturday, March 28.
Andy Miller scored a driving triple, while John Campbell and Corey Callahan each won a pair of races.
One of Campbell's wins took place in the sixth race, Jim Doherty Memorial Pace, with Windsong Gorgeous going wire-to-wire in a new lifetime mark of 1:49.1 off the claim for trainer Virgil Morgan Jr. and owner Shannon Di Antonio.
The race was named in honour of the late Hall of Fame horseman and Meadowlands driving star Jim Doherty, who passed away on March 14 at the age of 74. Doherty's wife Marianne and sister Anne Gilbride took part in the winner's circle presentation along with additional members of the family and friends.
The fifth race Jackpot Super Hi-5 went unclaimed; the carryover into the Friday, March 27 program is $58,578.20. The last race will also carryover, with $7,270.06 already in the pool for Friday.
(With files from Meadowlands Racetrack)