The Meadowlands Racetrack will stage four $150,000 New Jersey Sires Stakes finals for three-year-olds on Saturday, June 2, complementing the track’s first Made In New Jersey Weekend.
The festival will feature the state’s best arts and crafts vendors, a Battle of the Bands, craft beer and wine tastings, and BBQ competition in Paddock Park from 5-10 pm Friday and Saturday.
It’s no surprise trainer Jimmy Takter will be the one to beat in the final for colt and gelding trotters [race four] with division winners Guccio [post seven] and Little Brown Fox [post one]. After winning morning qualifiers in 1:56.1 and 1:54.2, Guccio romped in his round one NJSS split in 1:55.1 with Takter in the bike. The son of Yankee Glide skipped the second leg of the series. He is owned by Takter’s wife, Christina of East Windsor, NJ, and brothers John and Jim Fielding of Toronto, Ontario.
After a third-place finish in the first leg, Little Brown Fox battled back to beat Vic Smith [post two] to win his round one division in a career best 1:54.1. Takter was also in the sulky behind the Muscles Yankee colt, owned by Christina Takter, John and Jim Fielding, and Brittany Farms of Versailles, KY.
“He’s gotten bigger and stronger, and he’s a top level colt,” said Takter. “He qualified well and beat some good horses in those miles. With a loud concert next door he got a little nervous and anxious in the paddock prior to his first race back [on May 18]. I almost lost him behind the gate, but he was more comfortable before he won last week. This horse has a lot of ability and I expect him to be right up there with the top colts.”
Just weeks away from his Hall of Fame induction, Takter has enjoyed a great partnership with John and Jim Fielding, who have a Hambletonian prospect in Breeders Crown champion Uncle Peter, and, also co-own Dan Patch Award winner See You At Peelers.
“John and Jim Fielding have owned horses with us for a long time,” Takter said. “Now we have about 30 horses together. Our relationship is beyond just being owners. They’re good when they win or lose, they love harness racing, and fortunately we’ve had a lot of success.”
Takter will also send out a pair of colts in the final for colt and gelding pacers [race six], Simply Business [post nine] and Time To Roll [post one], a first leg winner in 1:50.4. They will have to go through the ultra-impressive I Fought Dalaw [post five], who will look for the series sweep.
Trained by Sam De Pinto and driven by Dave Miller, I Fought Dalaw has reeled off eye-catching scores of 1:50.2 and 1:50.4, from posts eight and nine, respectively. As a freshman, the son of Western Ideal won the New Jersey Sires Stakes final in 1:50.4.
“I Fought Dalaw matured and filled out in all the right ways,” noted De Pinto. “I let out his hopples two inches since last year because his stride is definitely longer. I had an open bridle on him in his two qualifiers, yet I went back to a closed bridle. He trained really well in it and responds much better. In his second qualifier, another horse made a bobble, it kind of spooked him, and he went to the lead, but there are no issues controlling his speed.”
The $22,000 yearling buy at the Lexington Selected Sale, now has earnings of $232,491 for Sam De Pinto’s wife, Shannon of Cream Ridge, NJ, Teresa and Jerry Silva of Long Beach, NY, and Michael Parisi of Allentown, NJ. The $1.5 million North America Cup on Saturday, June 16 is on his agenda, and the colt is eligible to the $800,000 Meadowlands Pace on Saturday, July 14.
Trainer Linda Toscano has a trio of starters in the finals on Saturday: Market Share, Talbotcreek Jewely and Air Guitar Hanover. In the 3-Year-Old Colt and Gelding Trot [race 4], Market Share [post 3] comes off a sharp score in the fastest division, a 1:53.1 career best with Tim Tetrick at the lines. The son of Revenue S is owned by Richard Gutnick of Blue Bell, PA and Gary Cocco of New Town Square, PA.
“I didn’t actually know what to expect from Market Square on the mile track because he’s not exactly the biggest horse in the world,” admitted Toscano. “He’s so suited to the small track because he’s so quick off the gate. I thought he raced real brave the week before when he was second [by a head] to Big Chocolate. We took advantage when that one made a break the other night, but we were real pleased with our colt. In the Dexter Cup final he threw a shoe. They were fine when he left the paddock, but he somehow spun one off. He’ll go to Mohawk for the Goodtimes next. He’s eligible to everything including the Hambletonian, and last week was an eye opener for us.”
Toscano was fourth in last year’s Hambletonian with Chapter Seven, who qualified in a sizzling 1:51.4 on May 26 at the Big M.
“I knew Chapter Seven was a top horse, but I really didn’t expect that kind of mile so early in the season,” exclaimed Toscano. “The track was lightning fast and I told Tim [driver Tim Tetrick] to let him finish. Tim said repeatedly he really didn’t think he was going that fast. Chapter Seven will get the week off, qualify again, then go in the Titan Cup [eliminations on June 23].”
Toscano also sends out Talbotcreek Jewely [post nine] in the 3-Year-Old Filly Trot final [race three]. The daughter of Muscles Yankee cruised in her first leg division in 1:55.2, then made a break and finished fourth in round two. Talbotcreek Jewely is owned by P C Wellwood Enterprises of Cambridge, Ontario and Karen Carroll of Shedden, Ontario.
“Talbotcreek Jewely was very good in her first two starts here, then last week she got lugging in a bit,” noted Toscano. “We had changed her shoes, lightened her up a bit and maybe we shouldn’t have done that. Yet, we’re also not sure if she just likes it on the lead or wants to come out of a hole. When I train her again I’ll get a better handle on it.”
Air Guitar Hanover [post one] goes into the 3-Year-Old Filly Pace final [race five] with a third and a fourth in her preliminary divisions. The Rocknroll Hanover filly is owned by Stake Your Claim Stable of Secaucus, NJ and Seth Coen of Brooklyn, NY.
“She’s no world beater, but an honest little horse who can leave the gate well,” Toscano. “She did not want to go up the inside the other night. She had a lot of pace and enough room, but she hesitated. She’d rather tip to the outside like most horses.”
Trainer Casie Coleman will fire a solid one-two punch in the 3-Year-Old Filly Pace final [race five] with Sarandon Blue Chip [post two] and Ram Rocker [post six]. Sarandon Blue Chip won her career debut last week with a sterling rally in 1:51.2 with Dave Miller in the sulky. The $92,000 yearling by Western Ideal is owned by Coleman of Cambridge, Ontario and Tom Hill of Lancashire, England. Her dam is the Breeders Crown champion Molly Can Do It.
“I originally saw her a month or two before the sale as a yearling at Blue Chip Farms,” said Coleman. “I absolutely loved her and was going to try my best to buy her. She’s just very big and as a two-year-old I knew she was highly talented, but I was just going to hurt her. I was only in 2:20 with her, then I turned her out. I let her mature into herself and took her to Florida with me. She’s trained back like a monster. She’s staked to everything. If she’s good enough, we’ll try the Fan Hanover. I thought she’d get better as the year went on. Her race the other night was quite impressive.”
Ram Rocker, a daughter of Rocknroll Hanover, also owned by Coleman and Tom Hill, finished third in her 2012 comeback and Big M debut.
“I had high hopes for her last year, but she was a disappointment,” Coleman said. “She was kind of stuck around 1:53 and couldn’t give me much more, so I turned her out early. I believe Sarandon Blue Chip is the better one of my two. Ram Rocker only had the lone qualifier. I trained her at the Meadowlands in 1:53, but she’s not really a front end horse. When Dave [driver Dave Miller] made the front, he said he thought somebody would come around him, but they didn’t.”
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