The first official night of summer brought a huge crowd out for Cameltonian III and the feeling at the Meadowlands was electric. The Saturday night card produced a handle of $2,573,155 which was an increase of $496,320 from the same night last year, which also featured the camel and ostrich races. That represents a 24-percent increase over last year. On-track handle was also up slightly.
On the racetrack, three series finals were contested and Dan Rawlings, in from The Meadows to drive the card, won a pair of them among three for the night.
First among them was the $23,900 Flower Child trot where eventual winner Star's Photo was sent away at 10-1 despite wins in both preliminary legs. Starting from the outside ten post, Rawlings drifted out with Star's Photo looking for position, found none and patiently waited for the live cover of McKenzie's Star just past the quarter. That one's early move toward the lead was repelled by the favored Sina and Greg Merton through honest fractions. Star's Photo tipped wide willingly for Rawlings and opened up a few mid-stretch then coasted in for a two length score in 1:55.2. Calipari rallied up for second after an eventful trip and longshot Dash For The Cash third, triggering a $1 trifecta payoff just shy of $2,000.
Leading trainer Ron Burke conditions the winner who he owns as Burke Racing in partnership with Weaver Bruscemi.
Rawlings was back in the winner's circle after the $25,100 Caramore pacing final with Joe Azarow's stable star Relentless Dreamer. Always one to pack a powerful late kick, Relentless Dreamer landed near the back early and gradually followed cover up toward Duel In The Sun who was enjoying a very friendly pace on the front end. Off a 1:23.3 three quarters, the field was closing in on the leader and Relentless Dreamer was fanned widest of all with the most pace to get up on the wire in 1:51.1.
The winner is trained by his owner and has been a solid performer here at The Meadowlands for the past few years. He may not win a bunch of races, but he's always coming and tonight he and Dan Rawlings timed the move perfectly. The win pushed him well past the $100,000 mark in career earnings.
Pacing mares competed in the $23,900 Cathedra Dot Com final and Carolsideal picked an excellent week to score her first win of the season in 1:51.4 for Jeff Dauplaise. She was settled mid pack as KZ Beach Girl and Mojarra Hanover took turns on the lead past a 55.1 first half. Race favorite The Summer Wind rolled up first over, assumed the lead in the stretch and was moving like a winner but could not resist the late bid from the winner who had live cover as far as she needed.
Carolsideal is driven, trained and owned by Jeff Dauplaise in partnership with his mother Carol as Saddle Rock Stable. (Meadowlands)