Friday night's card at The Meadowlands was strong, with several co-features sprinkled throughout the evening.
The second race was a solid B-1/A-2 handicap trot with a pretty even group facing the starter, or so it seemed. Il Mago, despite no evidence of real early speed in his form, left the gate fast and effectively drug Ron Pierce through grueling splits of 26.4, 55- and 1:24, leading by as many as seven lengths at the stretch call and coasted in by nearly four in 1:54.
Mark Harder trains and co-owns the four year old Kadabra with Chris Alexander Stable of Canada.
Race three was the trotting feature, a $30,000 A-1/FFA event with plenty of early action. The lead changed hands no fewer than four times as they passed the half, with even money favorite Sevruga the last to the lead in 56-. Ice Machine was left out and pressing around the final bend, but Sevruga was solid and rolled to a safe 1:53.1 win. Tall Cotton drafted along and held second while Ice Machine was a brave third. Julie Miller trains the winner for KDM Stables Corp.
The seventh race A-2/FFA saw last year's Milton winner Rocklamation starting the year well and pay tribute to her late sire, Rocknroll Hanover, with a crisp off cover win in 1:50.4 for the top combo of Burke & Gingras. Yannick had the career winner of $1.2million in a perfect striking spot, following live cover up to a leader that paid a price to make the front and Rocklamation rolled on by under minimal encouragement. Unred Hanover used a clever Ron Pierce steer to save place and Southwind Jazmin held well after being used to get to the front in a 54.3 half.
The winner is owned by Our Horse Cents Stables, Stable 45 and Jerry Silva.
The driving star of the night was Corey Callahan who scored a natural hat trick towards the end of the card.
It was another successful night at the betting windows at the Meadowlands, the total handle of $2,939,450 marked an increase of $625,139 for the same 11 races on this Friday one year ago, an increase of 27 percent. Live handle also showed an increase of 5%.
Racing returns on Saturday with a 13 race card featuring The Aquarius and Horse and Groom Finals along with the best bet in harness racing, the $75,000 Guaranteed Late Pick 4.(Meadowlands)