Neither three weeks off nor a horse grabbing the lead off the far turn could stop Highalator from continuing his winning ways at The Meadowlands, as the six-year-old won his second straight after being under siege throughout the stretch at the mile oval Saturday night (Sept. 26).
For those who bet on the Jenny Bier trainee, who last raced on Sept. 5 at The Big M, it looked almost too good to be true in the early going, as driver Ricky Still urged the son of Somebeachsomewhere-Higher And Higher to the lead from post 10 without having to work too hard to do it.
The quarter was reached in a leisurely :27.1 before the half was hit in a sleepy :55.3. But on the far turn, Jesse Duke N made a race of it after popping out of the three-hole on the far turn, and came after the leader with good momentum, actually grabbing a half-length advantage with three-sixteenths-of-a-mile to go.
But Highalator had more.
Through the stretch, Highalator and Jesse Duke N went at it toe-to-toe while U S Captain on the outside and Ideal Feeling at the rail made their way into the scrum. At the wire, Highalator determinedly prevailed in 1:50, finishing a head in front of Ideal Feeling. U S Captain, the 2-1 public choice, was third while Jesse Duke N was fourth.
Owned by Jenny Bier, Joann Dombeck and Midsize Construction Inc., Highalator, who has won three of four 2020 starts at The Big M, returned $11.60 to win as the third choice in the wagering. He now has 37 victories from just 81 lifetime starts and earnings of $604,614.
A LITTLE MORE: Brian Sears and Dexter Dunn sat atop the driver’s colony for the evening, as each guided three winners.
One of Sears’ wins came with Exotic Dance, a four-year-old pacing mare from the Jenn Bongiorno stable who increased her winning streak to four in a $15,000-$20,000 Claiming Handicap.
Despite favourites winning both races, each 10-cent Pentafecta brought handsome payouts. The fifth race paid $1,404.70 and the 13th race came back $1,633.47.
All-source wagering totaled $2,251,836.
Racing resumes Friday (Oct. 2) at 7:15 p.m. (EDT).