Captain Crunch cruises in 1:51.2 in qualifier
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The Kentucky Derby day (May 4) qualifiers at The Meadowlands got underway an hour earlier at 9 a.m. Saturday on an overcast morning over a drying track rated as “good” then improved to “fast” with the eighth race, no discernible wind and temperatures in the sixties. Race secretary/announcer Scott Warren called the action.
The trotting race of the year thus far (until Saturday night’s Cutler Memorial) came in the eighth race of the day with the fastest trotter ever, Homicide Hunter (Yannick Gingras), debuting for new trainer Ron Burke, facing the fastest 3-year-old trotter ever in Six Pack and Ake Svanstedt.
Six Pack had to work to get past Eurobond (Domenico Cecere) early with Homicide Hunter waiting in third as they trotted to a :57 first half. Six Pack held the lead through the stretch as they fanned across the track with Eurobond gaining from the pocket and Homicide Hunter closing widest of all into the :28 final quarter to get up by a scant nose over Six Pack in 1:53.4. Meadowlands track record holder JL Cruze, making his seasonal debut, was sneaky good in here as well and wound up fifth.
Al and Michelle Crawford are the proud owners of Homicide Hunter via their Crawford Farms Racing.
The day kicked off with a “crunch”, Captain Crunch that is, as the top rated colt on Dave Little’s “Road to the Crawford Farms Meadowlands Pace” won easily in 1:51.2 with driver Scott Zeron motionless throughout including a :26.3 final quarter over the off going. Captain Trevor (Andy McCarthy) nosed out pocket riding U S Captain (Matt Krueger) in the shadow of the wire for second while Major Deception (Gingras) was a well within himself fourth. All four colts are sons of CaptaintreCherous.
3 Brothers, Christina Takter, Rojan Stables and Caviart Farms own Captain Crunch for trainer Nancy Johansson.
Can’t Beach That (Troy Beyer), now racing from the Brett Pelling barn, was super impressive today, winning from the pocket in 1:50.4 with his final quarter in :25.3. He was a couple lengths clear of Captain Ahab (McCarthy) who was strong today with an uncovered march on the leaders to close for second with Odds On Boca Raton (Dexter Dunn) a willing third into the fast final fraction.
Mel Segal, Kentuckiana Farms and Eddie Gran own the Somebeachsomewhere colt.
Trainer Marcus Melander was back this morning with several of his sophomore colt trotters including last year’s unbeaten champ Gimpanzee who was strong in his second go around, cutting the 1:55/:27.2 mile while in hand to Brian Sears. Bordogna (Andy Miller) followed for second and last year’s Peter Haughton winner Don’t Let’em finished really well for Marcus Johansson to be third.
Anders Strom as Courant, Inc. and Lennart Agren as SRF Stable share ownership of the talented Chapter Seven colt.
Just before, Mattias Melander steered 2018 Wellwood Memorial winner Green Manalishi S to a 1:54.1/:28.2 score for Courant, Inc. over a closing Hudson River (Johansson) with Memo (McCarthy) staying for third.
The 2018 She’s A Great Lady winner Tall Drink Hanover (McCarthy) looked fabulous this morning with a pacesetting 1:51.4 win using a well in hand :26 final quarter to hold off stablemate Treacherous Reign (Dunn). Tony Alagna trains the daughter of Captaintreacherous for his interest as Alagna Racing along with Marvin Katz and Myron and Stephanie Bell as Riverview Racing.
Queen Of Trixs (McCarthy) looked sensational in a front stepping 1:54.4/:27.4 romp for trainer Lucas Wallin and owner Mario Mazza. The lightly raced Trixtonfilly certainly has a classy look to her. Sexy Wow (Dunn) followed her in for second with High Of Love (Dan Dube) third in her career debut.
Marveloustrix, with owner Steve Smith driving for trainer Karen Garland, nosed out Whispering Oaks (Gingras), crossing the wire in 1:56/:28 with Antonia (Sears) a reserved third.
Last year’s Jim Doherty Memorial winner The Ice Dutchess (Gingras) prevailed over mile cutter Sister’s Promise (Zeron) in a :27 final quarter sprint to the finish of a 1:56 mile. Personal Paradise (Ake Svanstedt) was third. The winner is trained by Nancy Johansson for John Floren’s Coyote Wynd Farm.
After the break, Andy McCarthy took Pilot Discretion for a 1:54/:28 spin around the oval with Totally Takter (Gingras) staying on over Bazillionaire (Trond Smedshammer) for second. The Muscle Hill colt won both of his freshman starts at The Red Mile for trainer Tony Alagna and owners Robert LeBlanc, David Anderson and John Fodera.
Phaetosive (Smedshammer) converted a pocket trip behind her familiar rival Manchego, driven by Jimmy Takter in his first appearance of the season, into a powerful 1:54.2 win, trotting home in :26.4. Manchego held up well in her first qualifier to be second and Pat Matters (Zeron) closed to be third. Purple Haze Stable owns Phaetosive.
Marcus Miller steered Saint Albray to a 1:53.1 win closing into the :28 final quarter to just get up over Odds On Clearwater (Dunn) and Disturbed Hanover (Bart Dalious). Erv Miller trains for Geis Enterprise, LLC.
Fresh import Frankie Rocks A (McCarthy) held off the good open pacer Western Joe (Zeron) through a :26.2 end to the 1:51.4 mile to end the day. Tahnee Camilleri owns and trains Frankie Rocks A.
Saturday night marks the start of The Meadowlands Championship meet with the $175,000 Arthur Cutler Memorial FFA Trot and a pair of $50,000 divisions of leg one of the Graduate Series for 4-year-old pacers. Come early for the Kentucky Derby simulcast and stay for the live action.