BGs Folly held off All Speed Hanover by a nose to win the $500,000 Anthony Abbatiello New Jersey Classic for three-year-old colt pacers Saturday night at Meadowlands Racetrack
BGs Folly [$18.40, $5.40, $3.60] was forced to come first up at the half, towing All Speed Hanover (Ron Pierce) into perfect, second-over striking distance as they reached the top of the stretch. With the even-money favourite closing in, BGs Folly gamely dug in for a nose victory in 1:49.1, equaling the stakes record set by Feelin Friskie in 2006. Allthatgltrsisgold (Dave Magee) benefited from a third-over trip to finish third.
"At the quarter pole, I didn't like my spot, but I started going forward," said BGs Folly's driver Brian Sears, who won a total of five races on the 13-race card. "That's where I landed, and I knew I was going to pull All Speed Hanover right into the head of the lane. It wasn't a pretty journey, but the horse raced great."
BGs Folly notched his fourth win in 12 starts this season and surpassed $300,000 in career earnings. Trainer George Berkner purchased the son of Rocknroll Hanover-Art Amour for $21,000 as a yearling. Berkner's wife, Ginny, shares ownership of BGs Folly with Martin Goldman of North Caldwell, New Jersey, Chad Aaron of Morgansville, New Jersey and William Salmeri of Albany, New York.
"He looked magnificent tonight," Berkner said. "Yes, I was surprised that with All Speed Hanover on his back, he still dug in to win."
Put On A Show [$2.80, $2.10, $2.10] delivered a stakes record performance in the companion $175,000 Thomas D'Altrui Miss New Jersey for fillies. Driven by Tim Tetrick, Put On A Show tracked down the leader Naughtytiltheend (Brian Sears) in the stretch and drew off to 2-3/4 length victory in 1:50. She supplanted Galleria's 1998 Miss New Jersey clocking by one-fifth of a second.
"I thought we had a great shot in the race," Tetrick said. "Her last start was not the way I usually like to race her [difficult to steer, she held on by a nose to win]. Chris did a great job putting some different rigging on her and she drove like a Cadillac tonight. She let me do what I wanted and not what she wanted to do tonight. She's very classy. As long as you save her in the first half [of the miler], she'll give you a really good back half like she did today."
Though she won the $200,000 New Jersey Sire Stakes Championship in her start prior, trainer Chris Ryder adjusted Put On A Show's driving bit before the Miss New Jersey Final.
"I was going to say it was a minor equipment change, but it was more than significant as it turns out," Ryder noted. "I just changed the driving bit [to a mini bit] to get her under control a little bit and it worked out. I could see what was going on watching [her last race] and she's never been like that before. I was fairly confident it wasn't a tough thing to rectify."
Put On A Show extended her streak to three wins this season and improved her career bankroll to $938,208. The consistent lass has been first or second in all 12 of her career efforts. A daughter of Rocknroll Hanover out of the champion mare Stienams Place, Put On A Show was a $75,000 yearling purchase by Craig Henderson of Chicago, Illinois and Richard and Joanne Young of Coconut Creek, Florida. Her half-sister Showherthemoney won the 2009 Miss New Jersey.
The New Jersey Classic and Miss New Jersey are sponsored by the Standardbred Breeders and Owners Association of New Jersey and named for two of its founding members.
Trotters Step Out In New Jersey Sire Stakes Championships
A pair of $200,000 New Jersey Sire Stakes Championships for three-year-old trotters also shared the marquee at the Meadowlands Saturday night.
Trainer Jan Johnson netted the lion's share of the jackpot in the fillies division as Glide Power held off her stablemate Springtime Volo by a neck in 1:54.2. Costa Rica (Ron Pierce) was third.
Glide Power has now won four of 11 starts for Johnson and owners Elbridge Gerry Jr. of Locust Valley, New York and Diamond Creek of Paris, Kentucky. Brian Sears replaced Johnson in the sulky behind Glide Power in the final, while George Brennan inherited the drive from Sears on Springtime Volo.
"Jan made the decision for me [on which horse to drive] and that was it," Sears said. "I was fortunate to get a spot when I left out of [the starting gate]. She's a beautiful filly, has a great way of going and she dug in all the way down the lane."
"I thought she had a good shot, so I gave her the best chance she could have [with Brian Sears in the sulky]," Johnson noted.
Muscle Massive darted to the lead at the half and rolled on to a three-quarter-length victory over Flex The Muscle (David Miller) in the championship for colts. Driven by Ron Pierce, Muscle Massive trotted the mile in 1:54. The son of Muscles Yankee posted his fourth win in nine career starts for trainer Jimmy Takter and owners Marvin Katz, Sam Goldband, Al Libfeld, Louie Camera, Order By Stable and Brixton Medical Ab.
"I was kind of half in and half out of the four-hole going around the first turn," Pierce said. "I was just waiting to see what was going to happen, but nobody wanted to do anything so I figured we might as well go for the lead. The colt took me right to the wire. This is a very happy colt. He trots perfectly and he's having fun out there."
"It took a little time to get him here," Takter noted. "He got hurt as a two-year-old very early in February and lost two months. We took our time with him and maybe that was for the best. He needs experience. He's still very green, but I think he has the ability to go with anyone in this country."
(With files from Meadowlands Racetrack)