A pair of short-priced favorites tasted defeat in the first leg of the Shiaway St. Pat series for trotters at the Meadowlands Friday night (April 6).
In the first division, Opulent Yankee was sent to the gate as the 1-5 public choice for the husband and wife team of driver Andy and trainer Julie Miller. All appeared well as Opulent Yankee brushed to command at the half and reached three-quarters in a tepid 1:25.4.
But one horse had yet to make an impact. Deep Impact, to be exact.
Deep Impact was making his debut for new trainer-driver Ake Svanstedt and put together a superb mile. He was parked around turn one, surged to the lead just before three-eighths before yielding the top to the favorite at the half.
He then popped out of the pocket at three-quarters and took his time inching up to and then passing Opulent Yankee through the stretch on the way to a two-length victory in 1:53.1, lowering his previous lifetime best by a full two seconds.
Deep Impact, a 5-year-old gelded son of Donato Hanover, paid $16.60 to win as the third choice in the wagering. Opulent Yankee held second with Filled Donut finishing third.
The second and final division brought more bad news for "Team Orange Crush", as the Miller’s Sutton, back at the races after 17 months on the sidelines, was never in the hunt as the 3-5 public choice. The 2016 Hambletonian third-place finisher went off stride at three-quarters and finished last in the field of seven.
The surprise winner was 11-1 chance Elysium Lindy ($24.60 to win) for driver Andrew McCarthy and trainer Ron Burke. The 5-year-old gelded son of Cantab Hall made every call a winning one, prevailing by 1¼ lengths over Royal Becca J in a lifetime-best equaling 1:53.3. Perseverance was third.
A LITTLE MORE: The two losing favorites in the Shiaway St. Pat helped two of the track’s popular wagers result in handsome payoffs. The 50-cent Pick-5 (Races 2 through 6) returned $3,063 while the 20-cent Survivor Pick-10 resulted in a single winner cashing in for $20,076 for surviving six legs. … The Late 20-cent Jackpot Super High-Five failed to result in a single-ticket winner, upping the carryover to $177,515. … All-source wagering totaled $2,091,835. … Racing resumes at the Big M Saturday at 7:15 p.m. (Meadowlands)