Harambe Deo comes up big in Meadowlands feature
October 11, 2020
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Harambe Deo put on a show Saturday night at the Meadowlands in taking the $20,000 high-end conditioned pacing feature in a lifetime-best 1:48.4.
“He’s never predictable,” said trainer Jeff Cullipher. “But he will come up large sometimes and then sometimes he’ll get beat when you think he shouldn’t.”
The 5-year-old gelded son of Woodstock-Tea Time came up large this time.
Driver Simon Allard had the gas pedal all the way down from post six in the seven-horse field (there was one scratch), and to make sure he put 2-1 second choice Western Joe in the two-hole, paced the opening fraction in a sensational :25.4.
“When I saw that quarter,” said Cullipher. “I said ‘he’s cooked.'"
Geez Joe, the 8-5 favorite, sat a three-hole early before powering up to grab the top at the half in a quick :53.3 as Harambe Deo yielded and sat the pocket.
But on the far turn – to his trainer’s surprise – Harambe Deo pulled out of the two-hole and came after the leader at three-quarters (1:22.1), opened up a 1½-length edge turning for home, then drew clear through the stretch to defeat Geez Joe by 2¼ lengths. Wes Delight was third.
“[Harambe Deo] is usually right there,” said Cullipher. “But I was surprised Simon kept him alive.”
As the fourth choice in the wagering, Harambe Deo – who paced his final quarter in :26.2 – returned $18.80 to win. He now has 15 victories from 80 lifetime starts and earnings of $242,619 for owners Pollack Racing and Cullipher.
Cullipher’s night did not merely consist of winning the feature, as he sent three to victory lane. Bruce Saunders matched Cullipher by also training three winners on the card. Corey Callahan topped the drivers with three scores.
Franco Totem N flexed his back-class muscles in taking the first of two Fall Harvest Series Finals (for non-winners of $4,500) on the pace by 3¾ lengths, and in the process, lowered his previous lifetime best by a full second after hitting the wire in 1:49. George Napolitano Jr. drove the 7-year-old gelded son of Changeover-Treaty Franco, who was the even-money public choice, for trainer Nifty Norman. Decision Day and Callahan worked out a perfect pocket trip to take the other division (this one for non-winners of $7,600) as the 8-5 second choice. The Saunders trained 5-year-old gelded son of Rock N Roll-Chief Karen hit the wire in 1:49, also lowering his previous lifetime best by a full second. All-source wagering totaled $2,245,221. (Meadowlands)