by James Witherite, Meadowlands racing media
East Rutherford, N.J. – A pair of wide-open $18,000 top level conditioned events—a fourth-race trot and a seventh-race pace—share the spotlight on Friday (December 16) evening’s 13-race program at The Meadowlands.
In the night’s trotting feature, the Burke Racing Stable’s Classical Annie is among those likely to lead the charge after her near miss of Muscle Diamond in last week’s top trotting event. Classical Annie, a 4-year-old Andover Hall mare, has been installed as the 3-1 morning line favorite in the full field of 10, and Jim Marohn, Jr. will once again handle the driving assignment for trainer Ron Burke from post seven. Toronto invader Rubber Duck also figures strongly, following a consistent stretch of minor success from off the pace in Woodbine and Mohawk Preferred events. Joe Bongiorno will drive the 4-year-old Muscle Mass entire from post four on debut for trainer Richard Johnson, who has been winning at a 26% strike rate over the fall meeting.
A pair of rising winners also line up in the top trot of the week: Buddy Hally (Corey Callahan, post three) after his 1:52.3 effort over fourth-level foes, and I C Caviar (Brett Miller, post six) following a 1:53.3 score also in fourth-level company.
Seven of the ten horses in Friday’s pacing feature are in search of back-to-back wins, including Bullet Bob, who held grittily for a 1:51 score at this level two weeks ago. The 7-year-old Tell All gelding has been installed the 3-1 morning line favorite by virtue of that triumph, and Corey Callahan once again will drive the 33-time winner for Mark Harder from post seven. The outside pair of Mr Hasani N (Greg Merton, post nine) and All Week (Eric Carlson, post 10) likewise seek consecutive scores at the class—Mr Hasani N having collared Bullet Bob from the pocket in 1:50.3 three weeks ago, and All Week invading from Harrah’s Philadelphia after just reaching.
Horseplayers are reminded that The Meadowlands is dark on Saturday (December 17) due to football at MetLife Stadium, and that next week offers a similar racing schedule of Thursday (December 22) and Friday (December 23). First post remains 7:15 p.m. Eastern time.