The Meadowlands Winter Survivor Series began on Thursday with a pair of $12,500 divisions. The opening round drew 21 horses that had started in a $15,000 or less claiming race in at least once in their last four starts, which resulted in a couple of pretty competitive fields.
In the first division, Tamayo shipped in from The Meadows for Ron Burke with a fairly imposing record and his form converted to the big track successfully with a 1:51.2 win. Yannick Gingras sent Tamayo away from the gate smartly and made the top, turned barn mate Malosi N loose as they moved toward the half and shook free late for the score. Malosi N held second and Mc Rusty split horses late for the show. The winner is owned by Burke Racing and Weaver Bruscemi.
Division two was won by Mattador D and Joe Bongiorno in 1:51. Bongiorno found position in fourth early as Boiler Bob The QB and Cane Ridge hooked up through taxing early fractions of :26.3 and :55.2. As they fanned out for home, Mattador D was fed racetrack by his young driver and rolled on by the tiring speed for the win. Highland Boreas was second and Astreos Flash snuck though for third. Mattador D races out of the Brad Irvine barn for owner Carly Roman. The win was one of three on the card for Meadowlands rising star Bongiorno.
The series continues with leg two next Friday and concludes on Saturday, March 22 with the $47,650 final.
Live handle showed a 37-percent increase on the card compared to 2013. (Meadowlands)