The Championship Meet hits its best stride this weekend with stakes races and freshmen aplenty populating the weekend's races at the Meadowlands.
Friday night's races are dominated by 2-year-old races with three divisions of New Jersey Sires Stakes (NJSS) scheduled as non-bettors beginning at 6:30 p.m., the NJSS filly trotters going as a short five pack in race two and no fewer than four divisions of the first leg for the Kindergarten Classic Trotting Series.
Kindergarten colts open the card with seven freshmen set to go for a purse of $10,000. Godspell Hall (PP#5 Scott Zeron) makes his pari-mutuel debut for Tony Alagna after a pair of purposeful baby races. The NY bred Conway Hall colt was a $120,000 Lexington Selected Sale buy for a partnership that includes Riverview Racing, Willow Oak Ranch, Joe Barbera and the Godspell Hall Stable. He comes in off a solid 1:58.3 third place effort as his final prep, sprinting home in 28 flat.
Jimmy Takter send a powerful three-headed battalion of expensive Muscle Hill colts into the fourth race, representing $880,000 worth of horseflesh. Bautista ($120,000 LEX) has won all three of his appearances thus far for driver Yannick Gingras and starts from post two Friday for owners Brixton Medical, RAW Equine, Herb Liverman and Joe Sbrocco.
Owner Melby Gard gave $410,000 for Story Time Hanover (PP#6 Andy McCarthy) at last November's Standardbred Horse Sale in Harrisburg, Pa. He's the first foal of the stakes winning Shared Past and has a pair of impressive qualifiers under his belt, the latest a 1:59.1 win with Takter driving.
Go To Hill (PP#7) was a $350,000 Lexington yearling purchase by Lennart Agren's SRF Stable of Sweden. He was a winner at first asking with a 1:59.1 baby race score a month ago and trainer Takter shall do the driving himself on Friday.
The Kindergarten for the fairer sex came up as two full 10-filly fields and driver Scott Zeron picked up a nice pair of drives, landing on a talented horse in each division.
The first division (race 8) is an absolute slugfest with two of the best we've seen thus far in morning trials hooking up. Mooshka Stride (Zeron PP#3) is the $260,000 Credit Winner first foal of the great Check Me Out and she has certainly lived up to her pedigree in the mornings. Emilio and Maria Rosati's potential princess won as she pleased in her first go then rallied like a veteran when raced from behind horses in her most recent effort, sprinting home in 27.1 in a fast mile. Mark Harder is the trainer.
She'll face the fast Live Laugh Love (PP#5 Dave Miller) who seared the oval in 1:56.2 last Saturday morning. Mel Hartman, David McDuffee and Diamond Creek Racing share ownership of the $90,000 Lexington sold daughter of Donato Hanover.
Supergirl Riley and Bella Glos will battle in the second Kindergarten division, race nine. They've each won both of their schooling races, Supergirl (PP#2 Zeron) trotted to a convincing 1:56.4 record in her most recent with something left. She hails from the Erv Miller barn where she is conditioned for Paymaq Racing, George Golemes and Harvey Eisman who selected her from the Lexington sales for $32,000.
Bella Glos (PP#8 Yannick Gingras) also races out of the Takter barn and has demonstrated both style and grace in a pair of 1:57 schooling wins for owner Black Horse Racing. This daughter of Cantab Hall was a $95,000 buy at last fall's Harrisburg yearling sale.
Also on the card is a very competitive $20,000 Preferred Handicap trot featuring all time Meadowlands track record holder JL Cruze. (Meadowlands)