Real Joke in 1:47.3; Auckland Reactor 6th in debut
May 22, 2010
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Real Joke meant serious business as he unleashed a 1:47.3 mile to win the $32,000 Invitational Pace on Saturday night at Meadowlands Racetrack. Finishing sixth in the mile was Auckland Reactor, who was making his North American debut after a standout career racing Down Under.
Real Joke and driver George Brennan made the lead in a lukewarm :27.1 opening quarter, then picked up the tempo through middle fractions of :54 and 1:21.1 before cruising home in a final :26.1 panel. Pilgrims Toner sat a two-hole trip and rallied to finish a length behind in second, while Cory Baran grabbed the show spot. Real Joke paid $6.20 as he posted his seventh win in 11 starts this season.
"I got to the top pretty cheap in 27:1," Brennan said. "Once I got there, I wanted to cut (the mile) so I kept him rolling pretty good in case someone wanted to move to the lead. He finished good for me."
The 4-year-old son of Real Desire-Kiddin'onthesquare equaled the fourth fastest mile in Meadowlands history, sharing the milestone with Jenna's Beach Boy, Lis Mara and Soul Chaser. Real Joke was claimed for $40,000 on May 8 by his current connections, trainer Lou Pena and the Lightning Lane Stable (John Hospordarek and Eric O'Neill) of Staten Island, N.Y. An early season standout, he won the $90,000 Clyde Hirt final under wraps for Andy and Julie Miller in January.
New Zealand champion Auckland Reactor fell short in his highly anticipated U.S. debut. Sent off the even-money favorite, he settled into fourth off the gate and began to inch his way first-up as the field approached the final turn. Unable to sustain his bid, Auckland Reactor faded to sixth.
"The race went in 1:47.3 and that's a ridiculously fast mile, especially since he hasn't raced in five months or so," said Brian Sears, who was in the sulky behind the star from Down Under. "I felt like I gave him a little shot (to enter contention). I was able to sit past the half and I just let him kind of pace up first-over. I wanted to make sure he was able to come off the gate and he was a little aggressive getting out of there, but he came off the gate fine. It was just too much to ask first start." (with files from Meadowlands)