74 YO Morgan makes history at Meadowlands
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Driver Andy Miller drove patiently in Friday night’s feature at the Meadowlands, and when he asked Opulent Yankee for trot in the stretch, the Julie Miller trainee responded in a big way, taking the $20,000 Preferred Handicap in a season’s-best 1:52.4.
Coupled in the wagering due to common ownership (Jeff Gural’s Little E group owns a piece of both), Opulent Yankee and Gural Hanover were sent to the gate as the heavy 1-5 favorite. Gural Hanover settled on the lead at the quarter, with Opulent Yankee sitting the pocket and 2-1 second choice Melady’s Monet racing in the three hole.
In an abbreviated seven-horse field with the best three horses racing on the front end, there was no movement as Gural Hanover clicked off fractions of :27.4, :56.3 and 1:24.4.
Melady’s Monet, racing at the Big M for the first time since April of last year, made the first move, tipping off the rail for the stretch drive while shifting into high gear. With an eighth of a mile to go, Andy Miller swung Opulent Yankee to the outside and easily went by a tired Gural Hanover to record a 1-length win. Melady’s Monet was second in what was a good-looking Meadowlands return. Gural Hanover held third.
The winner returned $2.60 to his backers for owners Little E LLC, Arthur Geiger and David Stolz, and now has three victories this year in four tries. Lifetime, the 7-year-old gelded son of Muscles Yankee has won 21 of 85 starts and earned $411,295.
HISTORY MAKER: Seventy-four-year-old Terry Morgan guided 36-1 shot Master Of The Hill to victory lane in the third race, and by doing so, became the first driver in Meadowlands history to win a race in both 1976 (the track’s opening year) and 2018. (Meadowlands)