Bushwacker eyes third straight at Meadowlands
January 15, 2016
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Following a gritty 1:49.3 triumph in last week's $25,000 Open Pace, Henderson Farms' Bushwacker seeks his third straight top-level victory at the Meadowlands, and his five in six starts.
Tim Tetrick drives the 5-year-old Rocknroll Hanover gelding, who was assigned the outside post in the featured six-horse field. After pouncing from the pocket on Jan. 2, Bushwacker used a first-over bid on the far turn to grind past Doctor Butch, subsequently opening up and prevailing by 2 1/4 lengths. The Chris Ryder trainee has been installed as the 3-2 morning line favorite in the $25,000 Open Handicap, carded as Race 2 on the 14-race card.
In addition to Doctor Butch (post 5, John Campbell), the Linda Toscano-trained millionaire who was handed defeat in consecutive starts, Bushwacker will cross paths again with Ron Burke trainee Atta Boy Dan (post 4, Yannick Gingras). The 7-year-old son of Western Terror ships in from Dover, where he narrowly held sway from Bushwacker in an Open/Preferred Handicap on Dec. 28.
A sub-featured $16,000 upper-level conditioned pace, scheduled as Race 13, will nearly bookend the card with the Open. Burke trainee Bettor Than You will start from the outside post 7 as the 2-1 morning line choice, winning at this level two weeks ago in pillar-to-post fashion after chasing to hold fourth in last week's Open. Gingras drives the 13-time winner. A pair of other pacers proven at this level will line up to his immediate inside, as Ashley's Husband (post 5, Tetrick) likewise steps down from the Open ranks, and Mr. Franklin N (post 6, Joe Bongiorno) seeks consecutive wins at this level.
Between the pair of featured events, $105,000 in guaranteed pools await punters in a Pick 5 (starting in Race 3) and a pair of pick 4s (starting in Races 5 and 9). Additionally, the twin Jackpot High 5s (carded in Races 7 and 14) yield just in excess of $60,000 in carryover money heading into this week's races. (Meadowlands)