Western Vintage opened his 2014 campaign on a winning note, capturing the $50,500 first leg of the New Jersey Sire Stakes for three-year-old pacing colts and geldings featured on Saturday night's undercard at The Meadowlands.
The son of Western Ideal was sent off as the 6-5 favourite in the 12th race and provided driver Yannick Gingras with his sixth win of the night.
Western Vintage moved up with cover on the outside tier down the backstretch and then three-wide on the turn for home where he engaged Doo Wop Hanover (by Rocknroll Hanover) until pulling away in the final sixteenth, stopping the clock at 1:49.4 for the mile. The Nancy Johansson trainee was a one-length winner over Doo Wop Hanover, and it was three lengths back to Frankandjoanne (by Rocknroll Hanover) in third.
Western Vintage ($4.40) picked up his sixth win in nine career starts and pushed his earnings over the $342,000 mark. He races for Perry L. Soderberg of Hightstown, New Jersey and Marvin Katz of Toronto.
Western Vintage is a top ranked 2014 Pepsi North America Cup eligible, ranked as the sixth choice at odds of 14-1 in Trot Magazine's Spring Book.
A pair of daughters of Rocknroll Hanover were winners in opening round divisions of the New Jersey Sire Stakes for three-year-old pacers.
Gettingreadytoroll, sent off at odds of 1-5, claimed her victory with a front-end performance in the fourth race while Atsallrite Hanover, 7-2, closed from last to first to make her first trip to the winner’s circle in the fifth race.
Gettingreadytoroll ($2.60) doubled-down on her 1:50.1 winning effort in the Reynolds Stakes last week with an easy two and a quarter length victory in a matching 1:50.1 clocking in the $27,500 first division.
Gingras, who won the first three races on the card, made in four straight, brushing the filly to the lead early in the backstretch and repelling a challenge from Rockingham Park. In the battle for second, Sayitall BB (by Tell All) held off Act Now (Western Ideal), who was third by three lengths.
Gettingreadytoroll, who won her only start at two, now has two wins in three starts at three. The Jimmy Takter trainee has banked nearly $44,000 for the ownership of Christina Takter of East Windsor, New Jersey and Toronto brothers John and Jim Fielding.
Corey Callahan was at the lines of Atsallrite Hanover in the $27,000 second division as the filly picked up her first win in her second career start in 1:51.4.
Callahan launched Atsallrite Hanover ($9.20) at the back of the outside tier and peeled out mid-track in the stretch to claim the two and a quarter length tally with a :26.1 final quarter. Blixtra, driven by Ake Svanstedt, was second across the wire, but placed eighth for interference in the first turn. Highland Rockstar was placed second and Fanticipation was placed third. Both are by Rocknroll Hanover.
Atsallrite Hanover, trained by Ron Burke, is owned by the Pennsylvania partnership of Burke Racing Stables LLC, Weaver Bruscemi LLC, Michelle Yanek and Phillip Collura.
Gingras was the driving star of the night, winning a grand total of seven of the 14 races contested, including the $30,000 Free For All Handicap Pace with Allstar Legend in a lifetime-best effort of 1:48 for Burke and owners Brittany Farms of Versailles, Kentucky and John Cherveny of Northfield, Illinois.
Total handle on the 14-race program was $3,399,248, a 10 per cent increase over the previous year. Additionally, on-track handle yielded a 26 per cent increase.
For more on tonight's harness racing card at The Meadowlands, click here.
(With files from SBOANJ and Meadowlands Racetrack)