Highalator equals season's best 1:48.1 at Big M
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Highalator and Great Vintage battled from start to finish in the Saturday night feature at the Meadowlands, and when the dust cleared, Highalator emerged victorious in a national season's-best equaling 1:48.1.
Highalator, the 2-1 second choice, and Great Vintage, the 6-5 favorite, were both away from the gate quickly in the $20,000 Preferred Handicap for pacers, with Great Vintage hitting the quarter on the point in :26.3.
David Miller moved Highalator to the lead just before the half in a snappy :53.4 as 39-1 longshot All Down The Line was making progress racing on the rim.
Andrew McCarthy decided getting trapped in the pocket was not for him, so he moved Great Vintage back to the top with a quick burst of speed at the five-eighths. After three-quarters was reached in 1:21.4, the pair went toe to toe through the stretch.
Highalator vacated the pocket with more than an eighth to go, but could not wear down a game Great Vintage until the pair reached the sixteenth pole, at which point Highalator surged to a 1¼-length win. Emeritus Maximus rallied for third.
The 4-year-old son of Somebeachsomewhere paid $6.20 to win for owners Jenny Bier (who also trains) and Joann Dombeck while establishing his lifetime best in winning for the 17thtime in 35 career starts.
On May 5, Easy Lover Hanover was the first to go 1:48.1 in 2018, at Woodbine Mohawk Park.
CAPTAIN CRUSH:Meadowlands Pace hopeful Captain Deo gave trainer Tony Alagna and his people plenty to think about after the 3-year-old son of Somebeachsomewhere destroyed an overmatched group of conditioned pacers by 9¼ lengths in a lifetime-best 1:50.2 earlier on the Big M card.
"I'm going to talk to my partners and we can make a decision Monday," said Alagna, as to whether Captain Deo will head to Toronto next week for the North America Cup eliminations. "I was very pleased with his effort. I believe he wins in 1:49 easily if they don't slow the pace so terribly during the second quarter."
A LITTLE MORE:Harness racing's pot of gold got a bit bigger after the Late 20-Cent Jackpot Super High-Five failed to result in a single-ticket winner. The carryover now stands at $247,880. ... Brett Miller drove four winners on the card, Eric Abbatiello and David Miller had three apiece while Andy McCarthy had two as the foursome accounted for all of the winners on the card. ... Total wagering on the 12-race program was $2,229,706, with an average number of starters per race of 8.41. Both numbers were down when compared to the comparable program from a year ago when $2,995,671 was bet on a card that saw an average of 9.08 starters per race. ... Racing resumes at the Big M Friday at 7:15 p.m.