Hammered down to 1-5 off his surprising fourth in the Hambletonian, Il Sogno Dream lived up to expectations Friday at The Meadows when he dominated his Currier & Ives division and scored in a stake-record 1:53.2. Wheelsandthelegman took the other split in the $120,000 stake for 3-year-old colt and gelding trotters.
Il Sogno Dream caught the public's attention with his Hambletonian rally at 90-1, and they deemed him much the best. So did winning driver David Miller, who moved the son of Cantab Hall-Le Reve to the front at the quarter. He jogged from there, lowering the previous Currier & Ives record of 1:54.1 established by Vivid Photo in 2005.
"I was very impressed with him,” Miller said. "He was very easy to get along with and just raced super. He felt strong in the stretch. He felt like he had enough to finish it off.”
Chris Beaver trains Il Sogno Dream, who vaulted over $300,000 in career earnings, for Bill Manes, Dan Manes. Leonard Christopher and Randy Christopher.
Wheelsandthelegman had to work much harder for his victory, first repelling Amped Up Hanover and forcing him back to the pylons past the quarter, then thwarting him again when he challenged anew near the three-quarters. The Donato Hanover-Carmita gelding triumphed for Dick Stillings in 1:55.1, a neck better than the game Amped Up Hanover, with Frost Free Hanover third. It was the seventh win for Wheelsandthelegman in nine career outings.
"He's a real tough guy, but there's something not quite right about him,” said Walt Carroll, who trains Wheelsandthelegman for Beth Carroll. "He got bit by a spider or something after he raced here Adios Day. There's just something missing. But he's a real competitor. I thought he was beat a couple times today, and he hung in there and did what he had to do.”
He attributed much of the youngster's success to trainer/driver Jim Raymer, who helped develop him. Carroll said Wheelsandthelegman likely will remain in Pennsylvania stakes for the balance (The Meadows)