Mister Big romped to a 12 ¾-length win in a qualifier Thursday at the Meadowlands, the fifth straight qualifying victory for the two-time divisional champion. Driven by Brian Sears, the 6-year-old son of Grinfromeartoear closed out his mile with a quarter in :27.3 to easily defeat the Dan Patch Award-winning filly Tug River Princess, who finished a distant second.
Trainer Virgil Morgan Jr. qualified Mister Big five times last year before embarking on the pari-mutuel trail (where he won 11 of 14 starts, $1,532,932 in purse earnings, and Dan Patch Award honors as the Older Pacer of the Year), and he followed the same schedule in 2009. Mister Big won his first qualifier April 17 at Hoosier Park in 1:55.3, and he lowered his finish times in each of his subsequent efforts.
Morgan earlier announced that after the fifth qualifier he hoped to start the three-time millionaire Mister Big in an overnight race as he aimed for the $200,000 Dan Patch Invitational at Hoosier Park for his first stakes contest.
Also qualifying Thursday morning at the Meadowlands was the 2008 Yonkers Trot winner Napoleon, who won in 1:56.1 with trainer Trond Smedshammer in the sulky. The son of Credit Winner earned nearly a half-million dollars last year.
Explosive Matter, who burst on the scene late last year as a 2 year old with a Matron victory at Dover Downs and then a second-place finish in the Breeders Crown final, won a qualifier in his second sophomore appearance on Thursday, following up a third-place qualifying effort one week ago. Ron Pierce drove for trainer Noel Daley as the son of Cantab Hall romped home a 10 ½-length winner in 1:55.2.
Another 3-year-old son of Cantab Hall, Mr. Cantab, won his qualifying contest in 1:56.2 for driver Andy Miller and trainer Erv Miller. Out of the Joie De Vie mare Miss Marita, Mr. Cantab is a half brother to standout performers Mr. Vic, Marita’s Victory, and the double-millionaire Pampered Princess. He made just three starts last year, posting two wins and a third at The Red Mile.
Back on the pacing side, 2009 Kentucky Sire Stakes champion 3-year-old filly pacer Btwnyurheartnmine led wire to wire for driver Eric Goodell to win her qualifier in 1:53.3 in her first appearance since finishing fourth last November in the Breeders Crown final. The daughter of Real Desire is trained by Ross Croghan.
Bettor Sweet, scratched “sick” out of the $210,000 Graduate final at the Meadowlands May 16, blistered a last quarter of :26.1 to win his qualifier in 1:52.4 by three lengths over the $724,000-winning Domitian Hanover. John Campbell was in the sulky for trainer Joe Poliseno.