"A Nap" returns to Big M on Friday night
November 30, 2017
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With stakes racing concluded for 2017 the Winter Meet kicks off at the Meadowlands on Friday evening with an 11-race overnight card and a dozen more on tap for Saturday.
Friday's offering features optimum field size and competitive groups. With the recent closing of Pocono and Plainridge there are horses and drivers coming from every direction making for some real pari-mutuel puzzlers.
Among the drivers on the Friday card is Anthony Napolitano who took the crown as leading driver of the 2016 Winter-Spring meet in his first extended stay at the Meadowlands. Napolitano put together an impressive run, enjoying remarkable success over the mile oval without the benefit of a top barn to drive for. As a result he became a favorite of the longshot player by bringing in an inordinate number of winners at long odds.
Misfortune struck soon after that accomplishment was realized when Napolitano sustained a serious injury to his back in a racing accident at Pocono at the end of May keeping him out of the sulky for two months and compromising his season.
A winner of nearly 2,500 races in a career that began in 2001, Anthony recovered gradually and put together another solid season at Pocono in 2017 and has over $2.4 million on his card in 2017.
On Friday Napolitano picked up drives in 10 of the 11 races, including a couple for perennial leading trainer Ron Burke which can only help his quest to resume Big M success.
Another live steer is on Lauderdale in the featured seventh race trot who Napolitano steered to a career-best 1:53.1 win this spring for trainer Jonas Czernyson. The strapping 7-year-old career winner of over $400,000 is getting class relief and has drawn post nine on Friday for owner Millstream Farms.
All of the Meadowlands signature guaranteed wagers are in place for Friday including the Survivor Pick 10, Pick 5 and pair of Pick 4's and the 11th race Jackpot Hi 5 carry-over pool is up to nearly $25,000.
Program pages for some exotics and Dave Brower's race reviews are available at no cost via the Meadowlands' website.
Post Time is 7:15 p.m. (Meadowlands)