East Rutherford, N.J. – Batavia Downs driving champion Drew Monti notched his first ever driving victory at The Meadowlands, teaming up with owner-trainer Rick Dane’s I Found My Beach ($10.80) in Thursday (December 29) evening’s ninth event, a $6,500 first-level conditioned pace.
The 22-year-old Canisius College alumnus put the 7-year-old Mach Three gelding into play immediately, clearing on the first turn but yielding to Sapient Hanover (Joe Bongiorno) at the completion of a :27.1 first quarter. I Found My Beach enjoyed clear sailing from the pocket through the middle half before angling off the pegs to challenge with five-sixteenths to go.
After wearing down Sapient Hanover and taking charge at the eighth pole, I Found My Beach was called upon for everything he had left to parry a late challenge from Twincreeks Jesse (Tyler Smith), prevailing by a head in 1:55.1 over good going. Yankee Favorite (Brett Miller) rallied belatedly to claim third as the 8-5 favorite.
For I Found My Beach, the win was his third of the year and the 23rd of his career.
Brett Miller was the only driver to score multiple wins on the 10-race card, teaming up with a pair of odds-on favorites. Miller captured the second race with Heidi Rohr trainee Sportsmuffler ($3.40, 1:55.1), as well as the finale with Tom Shay trainee Mr Bubbles N ($3.60, 1:54.3).
Live racing returns to the Big M on Friday (December 30), with the first of 12 races due off at 7:15 p.m. Eastern time. Friday's last-race 20¢ Jackpot High Five will boast a carryover of $13,245.02.