Meadowlands prolific pair hit pay dirt in Preferred
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As Bill Belichick and Tom Brady prepare for their big game on Sunday, another dynamic duo was at work Saturday night at the Meadowlands, as the team of driver Yannick Gingras and trainer Ron Burke scored in the track's $20,000 Preferred Handicap for pacers with Starznheaven by a nose over Bettor's Edge in 1:50.2 in 28-degree cold that included a minus one-second track variant.
Gingras, who also won the Friday night feature with trotter Theresademoninme, was ultra-patient with Starznheaven, who was sent off by the Big M faithful at a big 22-1 on the tote board, sitting fifth to the half as Western Joe and Bettor's Edge exchanged stints on the front end.
The Ross Croghan-trained Hug The Wind N, made the 2-1 betting choice off a lone North American win one week ago with far lesser foes, was moving first-over past the five-eighths as Starznheaven picked up cover. Bettor's Edge and Hug The Wind N were on even terms at the head of the stretch, but the backfield was very much in motion.
Gingras tipped Starznheaven off his cover in mid-stretch, Bettor's Edge dug in dead game, Hug The Wind N was crisp between rivals while Endeavor and Awesomeness were flying on the outside. At the wire, it Starznheaven prevailing over Bettor's Edge and Hug The Wind N with Endeavor and Awesomeness cashing the final two checks. The quintet were within three-quarters-of-a-length of each other at the wire.
Starznheaven returned $47.80 as the sixth choice in the wagering in the eight-horse field and now has 24 wins in 113 lifetime starts for owners Burke Racing, Weaver Bruscemi, Emond and Karr.
WEEKEND WARRIORS: Gingras won eight races over the two weekend racing programs, teaming up to win six of those with Burke. ... Jim Marohn Jr. had a three-bagger on the Saturday card. ... Favorites won 11 of the 26 weekend races (42.3 percent).
A LITTLE MORE: For the second straight night, the 20-Cent Survivor Pick 10 sported a total pool of over $20,000 and a payoff of over $17,000. ... The Pick 4 saw $85,779 in wagers and a payoff of $1,351.30. ... The Late 20-Cent Jackpot Super High Five failed to result in a single-ticket winner, bloating the carryover to $92,461. ... All-source wagering was $2,757,068. ... Racing resumes at the Big M Friday night at 6:35 p.m.