Helios had a big rooting section at the Meadowlands on Friday Night. Not only was he an overwhelming favorite, but he is also owned by The Little E LLC. That is the stable of Jeff Gural, chairman of New Meadowlands Racetrack LLC.
Driven by Andy Miller, Helios assumed command on the backstretch, rebuffed a challenge from Volare De Vie at the head of stretch, and held that foe at bay all the way to the wire to score in 1:56.1. Next up for the winner is the Super Bowl Series.
Helios's trainer, Julie Miller, said via interview on the in-house broadcast that she was "very happy with him (Helios) tonight and getting this race over the track should set him up nicely for the Super Bowl.” The Super Bowl series gets underway Thursday, Jan. 10.
That interview was courtesy of the Meadowlands new roving camera, which has provided on the fly interviews in the back paddock and up close shots of the horses competing. It is receiving race reviews in the industry.
Despite Helios' popular win in the Pick 5 sequence, thanks to a pair of longshots there were no winning pick 5 tickets, resulting in a carryover of $20,240.51 into the Saturday program. Last week's carryover of $16,769.68 resulted in a Saturday pool of $75,421, despite a winter storm. With better weather forecasted, the Pick 5 pool could reach $100,000 Saturday night.
It was another huge night at the betting windows for the Meadowlands. The total handle for the 11 race program of $2,836,916 surpassed this Friday night in 2012, which handled $2,166,584. An increase of $670,332, or 31 percent. Without question, bettors are responding to the new classified racing system.
Racing returns Saturday with post time at 7:15 P.M. A Presidential Preview in the first Free For All of the meet headlines a great 12 race Saturday card, featuring a $20,240 Pick 5 Carryover. (Meadowlands)