The Meadowlands unveiled a brand new series for female pacers on Friday named for the talented race mare and Hall of Fame broodmare Artistic Vision. The first of two scheduled $22,500 legs required the entrants be split into a pair of sevens with the first division going post ward as a just five horse field after two scratches in race two.
The two hottest mares nominated to the series came in with unblemished 2014 records and both drew into the first split. American In Paris won this battle, outsprinting JK Letitgo in 1:51.3 over a track dulled by day long rains.
Driver Jim Morrill, Jr sent American In Paris to the top from her outside post through the 27.1 first marker, then yielded to JK Letitgo who broke the next two beams in 55:3 and 1:24.4. In the stretch, Morrill geared his charge up from the pocket and the 26.4 final quarter was enough to edge by the stubborn leader.
American In Paris races out of the Ron Burke barn and is owned by Burke Racing in partnership with Weaver Bruscemi.
The second division was captured by Road Bet. Fresh off a third place finish in the $63,000 Petticoat Final at Yonkers on Monday, Road Bet was aggressively steered to the lead by her pilot Dave Miller. She set the pace unopposed until odds-on favorite Art Ideal was guided out of the pocket prior to the 3/4 pole, after stalking Road Bet through fractions of 27.1 and 55.1. Road Bet hit 3/4 in 1:24.2 and fought gamely to the wire, fending off Art Ideal through the stretch and scoring in 1:52.1 in the slop. The winner is owned by W J Donovan and trained by Chris Ryder. Grandview Hanover was third.
The $30,000 Free-For-All Handicap Trot was the feature event on the card. Quick Deal showed his customary early foot, ripping through fractions of 27.1 and 54.4. But the early tempo took its toll on the 3-1 favorite and set things up for an upset. Drift Away, who sat the pocket with Andy Miller behind the pace-setter, found room in the stretch and kicked through an opening inside of World Cup, who made the lead following a first over grind. In a hard-fought stretch battle, Drift Away hit the wire first, with World Cup a game second and Baker Volo third. Undercover Strike ran into traffic in the stretch and was finishing fastest of all to dead-heat with Quick Deal for fourth. Drift Away is trained by Julie Miller for owner Brian Gillespie.
Racing resumes on Saturday with first post time at 7:15 P.M. Two divisions of the Whata Baron series highlight the 13-race program.
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