by James Witherite, Meadowlands Media Relations
East Rutherford, N.J. -- Recent harness racing programs at The Meadowlands have been full of upsets, and Friday (February 19) evening's 14-race card was no different. Only three favorites proved victorious, and of the 11 non-favorites to prevail, Crosbys Clam Bake ($19.20) kicked clear authoritatively in the night's featured $25,000 Open Handicap Trot--his second such win of the meet.
Competitive racing and healthy dividends--including a $12,520 trifecta headed by 19-1 outsider Montalbano Bi in race five--incentivized punters to wager a total of $3,201,415 on Friday (February 19) evening's harness racing program at The Meadowlands, marking a sixth straight card with over $3 million in all-sources handle.
In the night's featured event, Crosbys Clam Bake ($19.20) emerged out of traffic in mid-stretch, going away to a 2-1/4 length victory in 1:53.2. The 6-year-old Kadabra gelding was hemmed in at the pegs by first-over challenger Opulent Yankee (Andy Miller) on the far turn as lukewarm 3-1 favorite B Yoyo (Joe Bongiorno) controlled the terms, only finding room in the final 150 yards as he wedged between the laboring pacesetter and a one-paced Uva Hanover (Tim Tetrick) before kicking clear. Can Do (Anthony Napolitano) mounted a stand-side rally to take second, while Rock of Cashel (Brett Miller)--the middle cog in a chain reaction which forced Cash Me Out off stride--rallied off cover to take third after forced to check by Opulent Yankee just inside the eighth pole. Opulent Yankee, while fourth past the post, ultimately was relegated to last for impeding multiple rivals in mid-stretch given the interference suffered by Rock of Cashel and subsequently Cash Me Out.
Yannick Gingras drove Crosbys Clam Bake for trainer Andy Federico and owners Randy Bendis, Jack Piatt, II, and Tom Pollack.
The sub-featured $15,000 trot for non-winners of six races or $105,000 saw Magenta Man ($10.60, part of entry) earn his fifth consecutive win, grinding down Axios (Austin Siegelman) from first-over and subsequently just staving off late charges from Charles VII (Marcus Miller) and Forever As (Tetrick) for a 1:54.3 triumph. Andy Miller drove the 4-year-old Muscles Yankee gelding for trainer Julie Miller and the partnership of Little E, LLC and RBH Ventures, Inc.
Total handle saw an increase of $873,898 from the corresponding Friday in 2015, with gains both on- and off-track. Meanwhile, just yards from the track, a capacity crowd packed Victory Sports Bar to the brim for the first over Men of Playgirl Male Revue at The Meadowlands.
Tomorrow (February 20) evening's 14-race card features $105,000 in guaranteed Pick 4 and Pick 5 pools throughout the card, along with a $102,355 carryover in the last-race 20¢ Jackpot High 5 (the largest jackpot carryover currently up for grabs in North American harness racing) and $31,156 added money in the seventh-race High 5. Post time is 6:35 p.m. Eastern.