Plunge Blue Chip, driven by Ake Svanstedt, nipped 1-2 favorite Manchego in a world-record performance to win the second of two $128,500 divisions of the Del Miller Memorial for 3-year-old trotting fillies at The Meadowlands Saturday night and in the process, became the fastest 3-year-old trotter in history, regardless of sex.
The 2-1 second choice, who hadn’t raced in three weeks and was only making her second start in a month and a half, went after leader Manchego at the three-quarter-mile mark in 1:23.1 and after a stirring stretch duel, gunned down Manchego and driver Yannick Gingras by a nose in 1:49.4, equaling the fastest trotting mile in Meadowlands history.
On July 11 of 2015, JL Cruze became the first sub-1:50 performer in the facility's history, when he went 1:49.4 in the Graduate final.
"It’s unbelievable, but this is a very good horse. (1):49.4 was a surprise, but she is a good horse," said Svanstedt. "She has not raced on the big tracks so much, that is why she has not raced so fast. In two weeks, she has the Hambletonian (Oaks)."
Plunge Blue Chip, a daughter of Muscle Mass, paid $6.20 to her backers. Live Laugh Love finished third.
In the first division, Phaetosive, driven and trained by Trond Smedshammer, grabbed the lead at the top of the stretch and never looked back, trotting clear at the wire by 2-3/4 lengths.
The daughter of Explosive Matter, who last week scored in the Pennsylvania Sire Stakes at Harrah’s Philadelphia, took the lead at the three-quarter-mile mark in 1:24.4 and romped home in 1:51.3.
Sent off as the 4-5 favorite, Phaetosive paid $3.60, 2.80 and $2.20.
"She was very good last year as a 2-year-old and has gotten a bit bigger and stronger this year," said Smedshammer, who won the Del Miller for the first time. "She will be off next week, then it’s the Hambletonian Oaks elimination and, hopefully, the Oaks final."
Longshot Perfect Summer K, who went off at odds of 137-1, finished second ($59.40, $18.20) and Hey Blondie rounded out the top three, paying $3.60 to show. (Meadowlands)