The Saturday card opened with two series finals. The first half of the Daily Double was the $57,000 Aquarius, serving as the rubber match between leg one winner Warranee Needy sent off as the 3/5 favorite and Escape The News who sprung a mild upset in last week's second round.
With a short field of six, tactics would play an important role and Yannick Gingras had Escape The News on his toes from the outside post, cleared to the lead before turn one and that was the difference. Gingras was able to rate his charge kindly and Mark MacDonald would draft in his wake with Warrawee Needy, saving his burst for the stretch run. On this day, Escape The News had enough and the 27- sprint home held "Needy" at bay a half-length in 1:50-.
Burke Stable conditions and shares ownership of the winner with Weaver/Bruscemi, JJK Stables and Howard Taylor.
The Burke barn would send out the favorite in the second race Horse & Groom final, the startlingly fast Quick Deal. The trick with "Quick" is a clean start, as his chart reads win or break at the gate. Gingras has become familiar with his tendencies and fed Quick Deal into the gate as it swung away to a smooth start and landed in the pocket behind leg one winner Modern Family who paid a stiff 26.4 price for the lead.
The order was unchanged through a half in 55.1 when Yannick deuce popped and rode up alongside the leader, clearing that one as they straightened up. Longshot Harbor Point followed the eventual winner and continued to gain as they neared the wire but Quick Deal had just enough for a neck score in 1:52.4.
Trained by Ronnie Burke and owned by Our Horse Cents and Rossie Smith, the winner comes from humble beginnings and has clearly found his best form at age five this winter at the Meadowlands.
Ron Pierce had a big night winning four on the card, while Gingras swept the early series final action.
On the wagering front, it is hard to ask for a better night. The total handle of $3,593,659, was $1,029,420 more than the $2,564,239 wagered on this same Saturday in 2012, an increase of 40 percent. The live handle also showed an increase of 13 percent. The Meadowlands has run 32 programs so far this season, all 32 have shown increases in total handle.
Racing resumes on Saturday with the third leg of the Rags To Riches Series with post time at 7:15 P.M.
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