The winning streak is now 14 races for Lucky Jim, who took the longest route to victory in the $203,000 Titan Cup Saturday night at the Meadowlands Racetrack
Driver Andy Miller angled Lucky Jim off the pylons early and the trotter gradually worked his way up to the wheel of the leader Lanson entering the far turn. Lucky Jim [$3.00, $2.20, $2.10] responded when called upon and soared past Lanson [$6.20, $3.80] for a 1 1/2-length tally in 1:51.4. Corleone Kosmos [$2.10] shook loose late to finish third.
"He's just such a professional," Andy Miller said. "He just sits out there and as soon as I give him his cue to go, he just takes off. One thing he still has is that attitude. He absolutely loves to win and that's his big asset."
Twelve of Lucky Jim's 14 victories this season have been at the Meadowlands. He captured the $200,000 Arthur J. Cutler Memorial and $123,000 Su Mac Lad earlier in the season. Miller's wife, Julie, trains Lucky Jim for David and John Prushnok of Punxsutawney and William Gregg of Indiana, Pennsylvania.
"As long as he's racing well and performing the best he can, I can't get caught up in statistics," Julie said of the pressure to keep the trotter's streak in tact.
In his final tune-up for the Meadowlands Pace, Vertical Horizon breezed to a 1:51.2 victory in the $85,033 Jersey Cup for three-year-old pacers.
With David Miller in tow, Vertical Horizon assumed command past the opening quarter and never looked back en route to a 4 1/4-length victory over Midnight Gambol.
"After the scratches [of Passmaster Hanover and Haroun Hanover], I thought he had a real good shot," Miller said. "I got to the front, he got to rate his own mile and he had plenty left. He would be competitive [in the Pace elims], that's for sure. I watched the horse race in the NJ Classic Final and he had the outside and closed up real well. He's a quality horse."
The colt was part of a three-horse entry trained by Bernie Noren, who also picked up checks with Drink Up (third) and Amazon Art (fifth), in a field scratched down to just five starters. Bulletproof Enterprises' Vertical Horizon scored just his second career win in his fourteenth start. The son of Western Ideal will face his toughest test yet in the July 11 eliminations for the $1 million Meadowlands Pace.
The Titan and Jersey Cups marked the conclusion of Historic Week at the Meadowlands, the first of the Grand Circuit's two summer stops at the track.
Btwnyurheartnmine romped to a three-length victory in the $50,000 Thomas Strada Memorial for free for all pacing mares Saturday night at the Meadowlands.
Driven by Tim Tetrick, Btwnurheartnmine [$3.60, $2.20, $2.20] muscled her way to the lead at the half and drew off to a career best 1:50 score. Fleur De Lil [$3.80, $3.40] held second, while Cheyenne Trish [$13.00] rallied for third.
Btwnurheartnmine, trained by Ross Croghan, improved her record to 11 wins in 23 career starts for owners Jerry Silva of Long Beach, New York, Robert Cooper Stables of Boca Raton and Let It Ride Stables of Delray Beach, Florida.
"I was hoping I could give her a trip," Tetrick said. "Last week, she really got home good being a little far back but [tonight] there wasn't anyone in front of me that I was going to be able to follow. I didn't want to be first up, so I moved her to the front. When I got her there, she just swelled up and she did the rest herself. She was very good, right on her game."
It was the sixth edition of the memorial race created by the family and friends of Thomas Strada, an avid harness racing fan killed in the attack on the World Trade Center. Strada, 41, was a vice president on the corporate bond desk at Cantor Fitzgerald. An outdoorsman, he shared his love of harness racing with his wife, Terry, whose father was the late Hall of Fame horseman George Sholty. Strada, along with his brothers, Michael and Joseph, and sisters, Jennifer and Susan, grew up in the shadow of the former Roosevelt Raceway in Westbury, New York.
"It's a special night for our family," Michael Strada said after presenting the trophy to the winning connections. "Tommy was a 'free for aller' [the top class of racehorse] as a person, man and father. He would respect a race like this. That's why I'm happy it's the best mares in the country."
Later in the evening, Won The West rallied four-wide to take the $35,000 prep for the William R. Haughton Memorial for older pacers.
Driven by David Miller, Won The West sat seventh off the early duel between Dali and Shark Gesture and tracked the cover of Bettor Sweet into the stretch. Miller swung Won The West four-wide in the straightaway and he closed fastest of all to win a blanket finish in 1:48.4. It was a half-length to Art Official, the 2008 Meadowlands Pace winner, in second, while Mister Big closed from the clouds to finish just a quarter-length behind him in third.
"If he comes back to that mile at all [in the final]," David Miller said, "I think that steps him right up. It certainly helps to give him a good trip. I got live cover right to the top of the stretch tonight and that's what it's going to take [to win the final]."
Won The West posted his first win in eight starts this season for trainer Ronnie Burke and the Strollin Stable of Marion and William Robinson and James Koehler of Findlay, Ohio.
The race served as a prep for the $688,000 William R. Haughton Memorial, which shares the spotlight with the eliminations for the $1 million Meadowlands Pace, on July 11.
To view Saturday's results, click here.