East Rutherford, NJ – The first two-year-old races of 2017 at The Meadowlands began at 10am on Saturday morning on a fast track under overcast skies with a slight stretch headwind and the temperature in the high 50’s.
The day’s marquee match-up was the sixth featuring Wild Bill, the full brother to last year’s top freshman pacing colt Huntsville versus the $450,000 Lexington Yearling sale headliner Pro Beach.
Wild Bill is in the capable hands of Ray Schnittker who owns the colt fully and bred him with his partner on Huntsville Charlie Iannazzo and Ray had him ready to race. Wild Bill set easy fractions through a minute half and 1:29.2 three panels with Pro Beach on his back before putting some air on him with a 27.2 end to the 1:56.4 mile with something left. Pro Beach, trained by Jimmy Takter and driven by David Miller raced well to be second and Closing Statement (Joe Holloway/Tim Tetrick) rallied nicely through the stretch to be third.
As has been the case each year since records have been kept, Jimmy Takter sent out the first winner of the season in the $120,000 Lexington sale purchase Manchego. He drove the Muscle Hill filly from the Brittany broodmare Secret Magic himself, moved her to the front by the 1:02 half then closed the 1:59.3 mile with a 28 second final quarter well in hand. Black Horse Racing, John Fielding and Herb Liverman own the winner. Caviart Cady (Nancy/Marcus Johansson) was a good second.
Just for good measure, Takter sent out the second race winner as well in the impressive Bautista, driven this morning by Yannick Gingras. After a brief skirmish on the way to the 31 quarter, Bautista took the lead with Brothers In Arms (Takter/Dave Miller) pocketed and that was the way they went under the wire, the mile in 1:59 with a 28.4 end. Bautista is also by Muscle Hill from Ever Gorgeous and was a $120,000 Lexington yearling buy for Brixton Medical, RAW Equine, Herb Liverman and Joe Sbrocco from the Katz & Libfeld consignment.
Ray Schnittker put it on ‘em in the first pacing race going wire to wire with the Well said colt Lucky Leonard, a full brother to his PASS winner of Thursday Summer Side. Lucky Leonard set slow numbers but took right off when asked to the tune of a 26.2 end to the 1:57.1 mile with Ray a statue in the sulky. He beat a couple of expensive colts in second place finisher Decoy (Takter/D. Miller) $110,000 at Lex and the $150,000 Harrisburg brother to Sweet Low and Bettor Sweet Nutcracker Sweet (Takter/Tetrick) who was third. Lucky Leonard himself was a $45,000 Harrisburg buy for Schnittker, Howard Taylor and Paul Bordogna.
Pacing fillies were next after the break and Newsday was a 1:56.3/27.4 winner for the potent trainer – driver combo of Joe Holloway and Dave Miller. She drafted behind the leader Eden (Nancy Johansson/Brett Miller) until mid-stretch when that rival bore out and Miller sent her through for the win. Newsday is a homebred Art Major filly from Brittany & Val D’Or Farms. Kissin In The Sand (Nancy Johansson/Gingras) was second and Eden third.
The Holloway/Miller combo came right back with Rainbow Room, a beautiful Somebeachsomewhere filly from the incomparable Rainbow Blue. She set all the fractions and painted a 27.2 end on the 1:55 flat work of art. She went through Lexington for $100,000 to Crawford Farms, Val D’or Farms and Ted Gewertz for her breeders Vieux Carre Fams and Steve Jones. Santa Rosa (Takter/Gingras) was second and JK Higher Power (Nancy Johansson/Brian Sears) third.
Obrigado wins again
2016's top older trotter Obrigado won his second trial for Brian Sears in 1:54.2 later this morning. Trainer Paul Kelley has reported that his first scheduled start will be the Charlie Hill Memorial at Scioto Downs on June 10
Food trucks tonight
JerseyFest is at The Meadowlands tonight with 40 food trucks from all over the east coast offering a bounty of delicious selections. Post time is 7:15 pm.