by James Witherite, Meadowlands racing media
East Rutherford, N.J. -- World record holders took top billing on Opening Night (October 21) at The Meadowlands, with Always B Miki ($2.20) leading a David Miller grand slam in the evening's $25,000 Open Pace and Lady Shadow ($3.20) capping a four-bagger for driver Yannick Gingras with a Breeders Crown elimination win.
Lady Shadow, the world record holder at 1-1/8 miles, settled just off the pace in her $25,000 Breeders Crown split for older pacing mares (race 11) before using a bold middle move to take charge through a :54 half mile. The 5-year-old Shadow Play mare subsequently drew clear of Bedroomconfessions (Scott Zeron) for a 1:48.4 victory, mounting a 7-3/4 length margin of victory.
Gingras drove the Ron Adams trainee for his fourth win of the night after teaming up with Ron Burke trainees Clear Vision ($3.20, 1:49.1) and Dayson ($2.80, 1:52.2), as well as Andrew Harris trainee Urbanite Hanover ($7.80, 1:49.3).
In the other elimination for distaff pacers (race 7), Frost Damage Blues ($10.00, Brett Miller) swept to the fore down the grandstand side in the last yards to finish second, but was elevated to first place after unofficial winner Solar Sister (Doug McNair) was deemed guilty of interference to Sassa Hanover in deep stretch.
Miller began his grand slam with victory in the night's first $20,000 Crown elimination for 2-year-old trotting fillies (race 2), pulling the pocket with Trond Smedshammer trainee Chezatter ($10.60) in mid-stretch to reel in 1-5 favorite Ariana G (Gingras) for a 1:53.4 score. While the daughter of Explosive Matter and Chez Lucie represented the Buckeye's only Crown elimination win on the evening, he also partnered with mile world record holder Always B Miki in what amounted to a prep for a showdown with defending Horse of the Year Wiggle It Jiggleit in next week's Breeders Crown for older pacers.
Always B Miki used a first-over push through the far turn to capture the evening's Open Pace, pushing clear by four lengths to defeat Dealt a Winner (Andy Miller) in 1:48. Jimmy Takter trains the 5-year-old Always a Virgin entire.
Kelvin Harrison trainee Spicebomb ($7.60, 1:50.4) and Valeriya Medik trainee Exotic Beach completed Miller's grand slam.
Thats All Moni ($5.60) and Tim Tetrick took the other elimination for freshman fillies (race 4), dueling down Treviso (Charlie Norris) in 1:54.1.