Meadowlands babies: more Melander talent
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The season opener of the popular Breakfast With The Babies (BWTB) sponsored by Jules Siegel's Fashion Farms kicked off the 2-year-old season at The Meadowlands this morning under perfect conditions. The track was fast, the temperature in the 70s and no discernible wind when they began at 10:00 A.M.
Trainer Marcus Melander and crew were back at it early after a big night with Greenshoe winning the NJSS final with eleven freshman trotting colts and fillies spread over the five races.
Marcus' brother Mattias drove Bellarina Dolce to a front end 2:00.1 / 28.1 win over closing stable mate Queen Of The Hill (Casper Foget) and pocket sitter I'm Really Special (Tim Tetrick). The Muscle Hill filly from Bella Dolce was a $400,000 Lexington Selected Yearling Sale (LSYS) purchase by Lennart Agren as SRF Stable from breeder David McDuffee. She's off to a good start.
Marcus spoke to the talented lass, "She's been good all year. She's been a sweetheart, perfect to drive, steers well; nice horse. She has the gait and wants to do it. She has good manner, is very professional. She feels like an aged horse, really. (This qualifier) was perfect. We've been here two times training with her before this, so they're well prepared when they start baby racing. But it was a nice first one for her. It looked she was in hand. We're happy with her."
Shishito gave her sire Father Patrick a winner when she came wide into a 28.3 end to a 2:01.3 mile for Tim Tetrick to out close Oblivion (Mattias Melander) and mile cutter Queso Fresco (Andy McCarthy). Per Engbloom trains Shishito for Black Horse Racing and John Fielding who paid breeder Diamond Creek Farms $50,000 at the Lexington sale last fall.
"They were very good, I'm happy with them. They all did what we expected. They all behaved and we babied them around a little bit and they all trotted home good," said trainer Per Engbloom of his five freshmen. "Shishito finished really good from her spot, so that was great, and I also was very happy with Queen Of The Hill. She finished good. It was nice."
Marcus Melander drove the $200,000 Standardbred Horse Sales (SHS) filly to a 2:02.2 / 28 win, up on the wire to nip Torrent (Dexter Dunn) with Becky Lindy (Foget) third. The top two are by Father Patrick, the winner a Hanover bred, now owned by Al Libfeld.
Melander colts went under the wire together in the fourth with Hellbent For AM (Mattias Melander) picking up barn mate Maesteraemon (Brian Sears) in the last step of the 2:00.4 mile, while closing into a 27.3 final quarter. Legion Of Honor (McCarthy) made a sharp late gain to be third. The winner is a Swedish bred son of Muscle Hill from a Supergill dam, bred by AM Bloodstock and owned by Anders Strom as Courant Inc.
Melander made it four of five when Expectations (Sears) took over near the 59.3 half, rated a 31.2 third panel then sprinted home in 28.1 for a narrow 1:59.1 score over the closing Take Shape (Tetrick) who was gaining with each stride to just miss. Capricornus (Mattias Melander) was a solid third. Expectations is a Dunroven Farm bred Muscle Hill half-brother to My MVP and was a $60,000 Lexington buy now owned by Vicky Trotting.
Ray Schnittker is back at it, sending a pair of So Surreal colts right on down the road to impressive wins.
Ray steered The Mystic to a front running 1:54.2 / 28 flat win over Come On Rags (Scott Zeron) and General Idea (Jason Bartlett). Schnittker, Paul Bordogna and HA Taylor paid $40,000 for The Mystic at Harrisburg last fall. Fair Winds Farm and Steve Jones bred the colt.
Schnittker came right back with Splash Brother who made every call a winning one over Tomas (Bartlett) in 1:54.3 / 27.1 as he pleased. Nolamaura Racing, Steve Arnold and T. Flannery share ownership of Splash Brother with the trainer/driver. Steve Jones bred the $30,000 Goshen yearling.
A BWTB aside; escaping notice on Friday evening at Tioga Downs was another So Surreal, the 2-year-old gelding Steuben Moose, who raced in a qualifier against older and paced in 1:54.2 while finishing fourth behind the 3-year-old Live Lucky, a winner in 1:53.1. Roy Marsh, Jr trains and owns Steuben Mouse, an $8,500 Morrisville Yearling Sale purchase from breeder Steuben Farms.
After the BWTB show, we watched the great Hannelore Hanover strut her stuff in the fashion of a 1:52.2 / 27 seven length win over Marion Marauder under a Matt Kakaley hold. Matt had this to say on the World Champion trotting mare "She was very good, well in hand. We wanted to get her stretched out. Last week she was just dull the whole way. Dull behind the gate, dull in the mile. Today she was way better, strong the whole way. Maybe she just wasn't feeling herself last week because today she was super."
BWTB sponsor Jules Siegel had a winner in his sophomore trotting colt Chapter Fashion who just got up to nail Union Forces in 1:55 for David Miller.
Odds On St Lucie (Tetrick) impressed in a 1:50 / 26.4 stretch win over Don't Think Twice in her third qualifier for Tony Alagna and Odds On Racing.
De Los Cielos Deo put a wow into today's action with a wicked 1:48.4 win for Miller. He took off fast and just kept going faster, whizzing by the half in 54.4, threw in a 26.3 third then finished it off with a 27.2 kicker to beat up on two others. Burke trains.
Finally, the horse of the meet thus far this season, Highalator, got in a 1:50.3 / 26.1 work out for Rich Still and trainer Jenny Bier to close the card.