Soto blasted right to the top and rolled directly down the road Saturday night (Dec. 23) at the Meadowlands, taking the featured $20,000 Preferred Handicap pace in 1:50 over a sloppy track.
The 5-year-old son of Rock N Roll Heaven was last seen at Dover Downs on Dec. 7, missing by only a head to Christen Me N, who was nothing short of dominant in winning the Meadowlands’ feature last week. That race served as the perfect prep.
Soto sprinted away from the gate and took control right away, hitting the quarter in :26.2 and the half in :54.1 while unpressured. Out of the four hole came 7-5 favorite Sweet Rock at the half to go after the leader, and at the three-quarter mile mark, Sweet Rock was up to the leader’s wheel. But he would get no closer.
After a rated third fraction led to a three-quarter time of 1:22.1, Soto and driver Jim Marohn Jr. had plenty left in the tank, striding clear through the stretch and hitting the wire 3-1/4 lengths in front of Sweet Rock. Always At My Place, who was three-wide at the top of the stretch, rallied for the show dough.
Soto, an Eric Ell trainee, paid $6.80 to win and now has 23 lifetime victories in 94 starts and earnings of $464,950 for owners W. Kenneth Wood, W.J. Dittmar Jr. and S.J. Iaquinta. The winning time was a season’s best for the horse, whose lifetime mark of 1:48.4 was taken last year at Pocono Downs.
SIX FOR CALLAHAN: Corey Callahan was the big man in the driver’s room, as after scoring a natural hat trick in the third, fourth and fifth races, he went on to win three more on the card, including a sweep of the Late Daily Double, giving him a six-bagger.
A LITTLE MORE: One lucky simulcast bettor in Chicago hit big, as he or she who held the only ticket with the combination of 6-8-3-1-9 cashed in for $28,332.92 in the ninth race 20-cent Jackpot Super High-Five. … The Late 20-cent Jackpot Super High Five-failed to produce a single-ticket winner in the 14th race, upping the carryover to $53,076.05. … Jim Marohn Jr. recorded a driving double, giving him six winners for the week and 15 over the last two weeks. … The great Foiled Again, a lifetime earner of over $7.5 million, rallied for fourth in the eighth race conditioned pace despite drawing post 10. … All-source wagering on the card totaled $2,771,242. … Racing resumes at the Big M Thursday at 6:35 p.m. (Meadowlands)