Itrustyou made it a lucky 13 in a row as he won the $74,600 Exit 16W final, the headliner in a trio of stakes contested Saturday night at the Meadowlands Racetrack.
The 13-race card also produced the highest total handle of the meet, with $3,144,519 wagered. The milestone was also higher than any night in 2011, excluding the Meadowlands Pace and Hambletonian cards.
Itrustyou worked hard to clear the lead from Special T Rocks before the half and held off his tenacious rival by a head to take the Exit 16W in 1:50.2. Mickey Hanover finished two lengths behind them in second. Driven by Yannick Gingras, Itrustyou paid $3.60.
“I certainly didn’t want to race him this way tonight,” Gingras said. “I think it was the first race tonight that I won on the front. My plan was to race him from the back, but he was grabbing on the first turn and I saw Matt [Kakaley and Fearless Diablo] was behind me. And from where I was, it looked like there were horses coming behind him, too, so I made my move and the horse overcame it. He got stretched out a little bit getting to the front, but he dug in again.
“Special T Rocks surprised me tonight,” Gingras continued. “In all honesty, I thought my horse was much better than him. I thought as long as I give [my horse] a trip, he’s the best horse in here. They had [Special T Rocks] pretty straight tonight. He was sounder and he gave me a good run, but it didn’t matter tonight. I was confident in my horse.”
Itrustyou began his skein on October 30, 2011 at Colonial Downs. He is now 16-for-35 lifetime. Ron Burke trains the 4-year-old gelded son of Third Straight for his parents’ Burke Racing Stable LLC of Fredericktown, PA.
Rock‘em [$11.80] rallied off a ground-saving journey to win the $57,800 Aquarius final for 4-year-old open pacers. With Tim Tetrick in tow, Rock ‘Em sat fifth of the dueling leaders and closed quickest of all to best Great Vintage by 1 1-2 lengths in a career best 1:50. Camaes Fellow faded to third after an early skirmish with Westwardho Hanover.
“Dave [Miller and Great Vintage] got his horse right off gate,” Tetrick said. “That kind of surprised me a little bit, but I got a great trip out of it. I got to follow him and my horse had enough to get there.”
Rock’em posted his first win in three starts this season for trainer PJ Fraley and owner Jeff Bamond, who paid $100,000 for the gelded son of Rocknroll Hanover at Preferred Equine’s Harrisburg Mixed Sale last November. As a 3-year-old, Rock’em hit the board in 13 of 19 starts toward earnings of $202,468.
Eastwood Blue Chip also pounced off a cover trip to capture the $58,500 Junior Trendsetter final for 3-year-olds. He completed the series sweep in 1:52.1 with Dan Dube in the sulky, paying $17 in this third straight win. Llc Delight passed the rough-gaited leader Take A Walk to finish second.
“I just wanted to leave out of there and we landed in a good spot,” Dube said. “They went fast fractions and after that, to be second over, was perfect for me. He did it easily.”
Eastwood Blue Chip improved his record to four wins in 16 career starts and surpassed $50,000 in earnings. The Dragon Again gelding was a $17,000 purchase at the Harrisburg Sale by trainer Eric Ell and co-owner John Emmons.
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