The first 2-year-old races of 2017 at The Meadowlands began at 10 a.m. on Saturday (June 3) morning on a fast track under overcast skies, with a slight stretch headwind and a temperature just below 60 degrees. The day’s marquee match-up was the sixth race featuring Wild Bill (Somebeachsomewhere-Wild West Show), the full brother to last year’s top freshman pacing colt Huntsville, versus the $450,000 Lexington Selected Yearling Sale headliner Pro Beach (Somebeachsomewhere-Darlin's Delight).
Wild Bill is in the capable hands of Ray Schnittker who owns the colt fully, bred him with his partner on Huntsville in Charlie Iannazzo, and had him ready to race. Wild Bill set easy fractions through a 1:00 half and 1:29.2 three panels with Pro Beach on his back before putting some air on him with a :27.2 end to the 1:56.4 mile . Pro Beach, trained by Jimmy Takter and driven by David Miller, raced well to be second and Closing Statement (Somebeachsomewhere-Ideal Newton) rallied nicely through the stretch to be third for Joe Holloway and Tim Tetrick.
As has been the case each year since records have been kept, Jimmy Takter sent out the first winner of the season in the $120,000 Lexington Selected Yearling Sale purchase Manchego. He drove the Muscle Hill filly out of the Brittany Farms broodmare Secret Magic himself. Takter moved her to the front by the 1:02 half then closed the 1:59.3 mile with a :28 second final quarter well in hand. Black Horse Racing, John Fielding and Herb Liverman own the winner. Caviart Cady (Credit Winner-Owner By Wish), who is trained by Nancy Johansson and driven by Marcus Johansson, was a good second.
Just for good measure, Takter sent out the second race winner as well in the impressive Bautista (Muscle Hill-Ever Gorgeous), driven this morning by Yannick Gingras. After a brief skirmish on the way to the :31 quarter, Bautista took the lead with Brothers In Arms (Cantab Hall-Gala Dream) for the team of Takter and David Miller, pocketed and that was the way they went under the wire. The mile went in 1:59 with a :28.4 final panel. Bautista was a $120,000 Lexington Selected Yearling Sale buy for Brixton Medical, RAW Equine, Herb Liverman and Joe Sbrocco from the Marvin Katz and Al Libfeld consignment.
Schnittker won the first pacing race going wire-to-wire with the Well Said-Beachy Lady colt Lucky Leonard, who is a full brother to last week's PASS winner Summer Side. Lucky Leonard set slow numbers, but took right off when asked to the tune of a :26.2 final quarter for a 1:57.1 mile with Schnittker as still as a statue in the sulky.
He defeated several well-bred colts in second place finisher Decoy (Somebeachsomewhere-Lively Entertainment) for the team of Takter and David Miller, who was a $110,000 purchase at the Lexington Selected Yearling Sale. The third place finisher, Nutcracker Sweet (Bettor's Delight-Sweet Future) was a $150,000 Standardbred Horse Sale at Harrisburg purchase for Howard Taylor and Order By Stable. He is a half brother to Sweet Lou and a full brother to Bettor Sweet. The colt is conditioned by Takter and was driven by Tetrick.
Lucky Leonard himself was a $45,000 Standardbred Horse Sale at Harrisburg buy for Schnittker, Howard Taylor and Paul Bordogna.
Pacing fillies were next after the break and Newsday was a 1:56.3 winner with a :27.4 final panel for the potent trainer/driver combo of Holloway and David Miller. She drafted behind the leader Eden (Somebeachsomwhere-Olivette Hanover) for Nancy Johansson and Brett Miller until mid-stretch when that rival bore out. Miller then sent her through for the win.
Newsday is a homebred Art Major-Good News Major filly for Brittany Farms and Val D’Or Farms. Kissin In The Sand (Somebeachsomewhere-Kiss Me Kate) was second for Nancy Johansson and Gingras with Eden third.
The Holloway/Miller combo came right back with Rainbow Room, a beautiful Somebeachsomewhere filly out the incomparable Rainbow Blue. She set all the fractions and posted a :27.2 final quarter panel on the 1:55 mile. She went through the Lexington Selected Yearling Sale ring for $100,000 to Crawford Farms, Val D’or Farms and Ted Gewertz and was bred by Vieux Carre Fams and Steve Jones. Santa Rosa (Western Ideal-Art's Vintage) was second for Takter and Gingras, while JK Higher Power (Somebeachsomewhere-Higher And Higher), a full sister to Highalator, was third for Nancy Johansson and Brian Sears.
Obrigado wins again
Defending older trotting champion Obrigado captured his third qualifier of the season for Sears in 1:54.2 this morning. Trainer Paul Kelley has reported that his first scheduled start will be the Charlie Hill Memorial at Scioto Downs on Saturday (June 10). The gelding is owned by Kelley, SRF Racing Stable, Linwood Higgins and Stable 45. (Meadowlands)