The pace was slow and the trip did not go as it was planned, but the result was the same as the past two weeks as Missile J led all the way to win his third straight in the $16,000 featured pace at the Meadowlands on Saturday (Feb. 11).
When the select field of seven left the gate, none of the horses were interested in seizing command so Jonathan Roberts sent Missile J, the 4-5 public choice, to the front. Missile J went an opening quarter-mile in a too-slow-to-believe :29.3 and a half in a tepid :57.1.
"We had intentions of racing him off the pace tonight but Jonathan sensed a slow pace and went forward which was the winning move," said trainer Scott Di Domenico.
Missile J, the 2016 Rooney winner, held off the late pocket rally of long shot Rodeo Romeo and the wider rallies of Somesizesomestyle and K-Lees Shakenbake to win in 1:51.3.
Missile J was winning for the third straight time since he was purchased for $115,000 at the Tattersalls January Mixed Sale by John Mcgill and Brian Carsey.
"I thought tonight was a stiffer challenge for him as there were some really nice condition horses in that field," said Di Domenico. "We are going to make him eligible to some stakes - The Graduate and Levy, for example; but, we will let him decide where he wants to go by his performance and soundness. To this point, I am very happy with him and his progression and very fortunate the owners have given me the opportunity to train him."
Gravelsinmytravel, the Iowa-bred, completed a sweep of the Dash For The G-Notes series with a post 10 victory in the $15,000 final. John Campbell put the even-money favorite on the front past the first quarter-mile and controlled things from there to win for the third straight time. Gravelsinmytravel is a homebred for Van Otterloo Stables of Iowa and trained by Patricia Minnella.
Campbell added two others wins to post a driving hat trick. Brett Miller also won three.
Total handle was $2,675,128 for the 12-race program. (Meadowlands)