While there were many storylines on the racetrack at Meadowlands Racing & Entertainment Saturday night, the most important story was in the final numbers. Comparing to the opening night Saturday of last season, the results could not have been any better. Most notably, the live handle of $360,212 yielded a 56-percent increase over this same day in 2012. The total handle of $3,248,413 was a 12-percent increase over that same card and marked the first time the Meadowlands eclipsed $3 million in the month of December since Dec. 27, 2008.
On the racetrack, it was the 2013 Rising Star Award winner Corey Callahan who led the charge. Callahan scored four wins on the night, and more impressively he did so in his last five drives of the night and came within one length of winning the last five races on the card.
The first of his four wins came with a repeat winner in Road Untravelled who took the ninth race B-1 pace in a 1:50.3 dead heat for trainer Gail Wrubel and owners Mike Simons and Christopher Giaccio. The Captain came right back in the 10th race with A Sweet Ride who scored in the $50,000 claiming pacing event in 1:50.3 for trainer Aaron Lambert and C&G Racing Stable. Callahan narrowly missed in the 11th race, but came right back to win the 12th with a rallying Late Night Joke in the C-1 event in 1:51 for P.J. Fraley and Bamond Racing. Callahan put a bow on the night winning the C-1 event to close the card with heavily favored Avenue Hanover in 1:52.1 for owner/trainer Mark Silva.
The dead heat on the card not only featured one of Callahan's four wins, but a triumphant ending to a marvelous career. Forest Vic A, having never won a race at the Meadowlands in his 14 years, got his nose on the wire simultaneously with Road Untraveled to dead heat for the win and close out his career on the highest of high notes. Forest Via A was campaigned by Karen Garland for Night Rogue Racing Stable, B. Kay and Steve Smith, who was in the bike for the gelding's last trip around the oval.
The featured $30,000 A-1/FFA Handicap was won by Arockin Hanover who rallied from dead last to win in 1:49.2 for Jason Robinson and owner Robert Main. The victory was one of three on the card for John Campbell. Ron Pierce also scored a driving triple on the night.
The fastest mile of the night went to Dovuto Hanover, who looked like a powerhouse drawing clear impressively in a 1:48.4 triumph in the B-1/A-2 Handicap for 3 year olds. Pierce drove for trainer Darran Cassar and Marty Scharf. (Meadowlands)