Breakfast With The Babies sponsored by Fashion Farms, final edition, got off with a bang Saturday morning at Meadowlands Racetrack when the heralded New Zealand import Lazarus N made his auspicious North American debut in dazzling fashion.
For a first start, particularly in a qualifying race, Lazarus faced a very talented group including the 2018 North America Cup winner Lather Up and last season’s fastest freshman at 1:50, Hayden Hanover.
The race unfolded as Lather Up (Montrell Teague) crossed over around the first turn on the way to a :28.2 opener with Lazarus N and Yannick Gingras pinned to his back past the :55.3 half. As they circled the last bend Lazarus N was tugging on Gingras, anxious to pace, so the pair tipped from the pocket midway through it and were around Lather Up before the 1:23 three-quarters.
It was a sprint from there as Lather Up rallied back at Lazarus N to get within a length through the blazing :25.3 finish to the 1:48.3 mile. Both horses were asked for pace only minimally by their respective drivers and went to the wire strong.
"I couldn’t be any happier with him," said Gingras as he dashed off to catch a flight to The Meadows for today’s Adios stake. "He’s very easy on himself and had tons of pace."
Lazarus N is trained by Jimmy Takter for the elite Thoroughbred operation Taylor Made Stallions of Nicholasville, Ky., who bought him from his down-under connections and imported him to the USA earlier this season.
The 2-year-olds started off the morning with the Father Patrick filly Sister’s Promise coming from mid-pack to win in 1:58.1/:27.4 for Tim Tetrick. Biding their time as Amazato (Trond Smedshammer) led the field by the half in 1:00.2 and 1:30.2 three panels, Tetrick fanned Sister’s Promise wide in the stretch and she sailed by under her own power to win by 3-1/2 lengths over that rival, her last quarter timed in :27.2. Linda Toscano trains the winner, a daughter of Amourato, for Brittany Farms who paid $120,000 for her at Harrisburg. Fred Hertrich III is the breeder.
Aldebaranwalkabout (Andy Miller) survived the furious close of White Tiger (Anthony McDonald) to win the third race in 1:56.2. Left with a long lead after a few broke behind him, the winner passed the three-quarters alone in 1:28 while White Tiger was maneuvered around traffic, trotting an individual :27.1 home to just miss. Aldebaran Lodge bred the winning son of Muscle Hill-Aldebaran Turnpike, who is owned by Aldebaran Park.
The enigmatic Greenshoe made another strong impression Saturday morning with an absolutely effortless 1:55.1 jaunt for Brian Sears, trotting home alone in :27 with the driver motionless. With Peter Haughton Memorial eliminations unnecessary, this served as a prep for the $422,350 stake on Hambletonian Day. The Father Patrick-Designed To Be colt, a $330,000 Lexington Selected Sale buy for Anders Strom as Courant, Inc. was bred by Al Libfeld and Marvin Katz.
Donald DuPont won with the Roy Dobbins homebred Muscle Hill-Miss Checkmate filly Misscheckmatehill in 2:00. 3, holding Bride (D.R. Ackerman) at bay through the stretch. Marie DuPont is the trainer.
Another impressive homebred kicked off the pacing races as the 3 Brothers Stables' JK Mardi Says zipped around the oval all by herself in 1:55.2 for Scott Zeron. Left to a long lead throughout the 1:00.1 half and 1:28.1 three panels, the Somebeachsomewhere-JK Fine Art filly sprinted home in :27.1 on her own. Nancy Johansson trains her.
In the season finale for BWTB the Sweet Lou-Elizabeth Spencer gelding Division Bell (Josert Fonseca) took a 1:53.4 record for owner/breeders Christina Takter and John Fielding. Jimmy Takter is, of course, the trainer.
The day closed with Pure Country, the "Grande Dame" of Adam Bowden’s Diamond Creek Farms zooming around the course in 1:51.3/:26.1 for Brian Sears as she prepares for the Lady Liberty and the second half of the 2018 campaign. It was just a year ago that trainer Jimmy Takter qualified her in an amazing 1:48 which launched the now 5-year-old champion into another Dan Patch award winning season, making her the only female in Standardbred history to win that prestigious award at ages 2, 3 and 4. It looks like she’s raced herself back into contention for one more shot at the title. (Meadowlands)