Abandoning his front-end style, Not Nice came first over to capture a division of Wednesday’s $60,000 Grand Circuit stake for 2-year-old colt and gelding trotters at The Meadows and help Dave Palone to a driving sweep of the three-split event.
Mythical Hall and Triomphe De Vie also took divisions of the stake known as the Henry Oliver. The event was part of Adios Week at The Meadows, which is highlighted by Saturday’s $500,000 final of the Delvin Miller Adios.
In the first two outings of his career, Not Nice tried to wire the fields but had to settle for a pair of thirds. In the Henry Oliver, trainer Jimmy Takter adopted a different strategy.
“Jimmy told me this horse would be better racing off the trot,” Palone said. “He told me to ignore all those lines that showed him on the lead. That’s how we chose to race him, and he was much better that way. He loves to track down horses.”
Not Nice raced willingly without cover, accelerating late to score in 1:58.4, fastest of the divisions. Ooga Booga was second, 5 lengths back, with Ridgeandfamous a rallying third. Christina Takter, Falkbolagen AB, Order By Stable and Daniel Plouffe own Not Nice, a son of Glidemaster-Justgotafeeling.
Mythical Hall appeared to have an insurmountable lead thanks to a decisive quarter-pole move but encountered self-imposed trouble in the stretch.
“He pulled up and tried to run off the course,” Palone said. “I had to straighten him up and restart him. Then, he went. He has a world of talent. He just needs to mature a little mentally. He has all the tools.”
Despite trotting home in 32 seconds, Mythical Hall survived an inquiry and prevailed in 2:01.1, a head better than Runaway Duke. Bloomington completed the trifecta. Jim Arledge, Jr. trains Mythical Hall, now undefeated in two starts, for Thomas York and Joe Sbrocco.
Triomphe De Vie’s triumph was much less eventful, as he charged to the front and fashioned an unthreatened win in 1:59. Kash’s Cantab was second, 2-3/4 lengths in arrears, with Ax Man third.
“He was well within himself,” Palone said. “He’s such a big, growthy colt that I think from 2 to 3, he’ll really mature and make quite a nice horse. You do have to keep his attention. He loses track of things sometimes.”
Ron Burke trains Triomphe De Vie, a gelded son of Andover Hall-Ecstatic, for Burke Racing Stable, Weaver Bruscemi LLC, JJK Stables and Randy Ringer. (The Meadows)