Homeracing

Meadowlands and Miami Valley harness take center stage on Saturday night

Profile Picture: Ted Black

Ted Black

March 3rd, 2019

While Yonkers Raceway may have cancelled Saturday night's solid overnight card, harness racing fans had ample time to focus on productive overnight programs at the Meadowlands in New Jersey, Miami Valley in Ohio and Saratoga Raceway in New York.

In one of the early races on the Saturday card at the Meadowlands, Dubious Claim (Corey Callahan) easily lived up to his role as the 1-5 favorite in a non-winners of $8,500 last five starts class for pacers when he brushed to command before a 27.1 opener, maintained an honest tempo by the half in 55 flat and y three-quarters in 1:23.1 then sprinted clear in the lane to a four-length score in 1:50.4. A Maryland-bred, five-year-old Western Terror gelding trained by Jeff Cullipher, Dubious Claim notched his first win in seven starts this year and now owns a 13-8-4 slate and $125,000 banked from 58 career outings.

Two races later in another non-winners of $8,500 last five starts class for pacers, Rootin Tootin (Callahan) lived up to his billing as the 6-5 favorite when he gained command from post seven before a 27.1 opener, got a breather by the half in 56 flat, rolled by three-quarters unpressed in 1:23.4 then held safe Bruce's Magic (Andrew McCarthy) late in 1:51.1. A Maryland-bred four-year-old Roll With Joe stallion trained by Blake Macintosh, Rootin Tootin notched his second straight score and now owns 11 and nearly $200,000 banked from 35 lifetime tries.

One race later in a non-winners of $15,250 last five starts/optional $50,000 claimer for pacers, Alotbettor N (Callahan) benefited from a lively early tempo and a second over trip down the backside, swept three-wide to command on the far turn and rolled home three lengths clear in 1:50.3 as the 9-5 choice. An eight-year-old Bettor's Delight gelding trained by Jenn Bongiorno, Alotbettor N recorded his second straight score over the Big M oval and now owns 24 wins and nearly $250,000 banked from 84 career outings.

Then one race later in the featured $25,000 Preferred Handicap, Rodeo Rock (McCarthy) benefited from a lively early tempo through the first three calls and solid cover then rallied widest of all in the lane to forge a 9-1 upset in his seasonal debut. A six-year-old Rock N Roll Heaven gelding trained by Robert Cleary, Rodeo Rock notched his 21st career victory and pushed his earnings past $370,000 while lowering his lifetime mark to 1:49.4 in the process by overhauling Beckham's Z Tam (Dexter Dunn) and Always At My Place in the lane.

With the George Morton Levy series at Yonkers just around the corner, Rodeo Rock, Beckham's Z Tam and Always At My Place are among the noms for that six-week affair and will likely be headed to the New York half-mile oval to compete for $50,000 each week and then potentially the $500,000 final or $100,000 consolation on April 20. Those who remain at the Big M will soon be competing for $30,000 each week in the Preferred for incoming new racing secretary Scott Warren, former track announcer at Ocean Downs and Rosecroft Raceway.

One race later in another non-winners of $15,200 last five starts class for pacers, Somebaddude (Marcus Miller) left to secure good early position, sat a tight pocket trip down the backside and through the far turn, angled inside at the head of the lane and edged clear to a length at 11-1 in 1:51. A four-year-old Somebeachsomewhere stallion trained by Linda Toscano, Somebaddude notched his first win in four starts this year and now owns seven wins and nearly $120,000 banked from 25 lifetime tries.

Then one race later in a non-winners of four races or $75,000 lifetime class for younger pacers, Rebel Rouser (Yannick Gingras) lived up to his role as the 4-5 favorite when he quarter moved to command, rolled by the half in 55.4, met pressure before three-quarters in 1:24.2 then edged clear from Art Dancer (Dunn) in the lane to a two-length score in 1:51.4. A five-year-old Rock N Roll Heaven gelding trained by Cleary, Rebel Rouser notched his second straight score, fourth win in six starts this year and ninth victory in 21 career outings.

One race later in a non-winners of $11,500 last five starts class for older pacers, Ever Again (Callahan) left to secure a pocket trip behind Bushwacker through the first three calls, angled out in mid-stretch and closed willingly late to forge an 11-1 upset in 1:51.4. A six-year-old Dragon Again gelding trained by Mike Watson, Ever Again notched his first win in six starts this year and now owns 14 victories and earnings of over $130,000 from 79 career outings.

That same evening at Miami Valley, Mykindachip (Chris Page) easily lived up to his role as the 9-5 choice in the $20,000 Open II Handicap for pacers when he benefited from a pocket trip behind Cinnamack through the first three calls, angled out turning for home and drew clear to a two-length score in 1:50.4. A 10-year-old Art's Chip gelding trained by Ron Burke, Mykindachip likely earned a berth in the Open I Hcp next weekend over the Ohio oval.

Then one race later in the featured $25,000 Open I Handicap for pacers, My Hero Ron (Tyler Smith) rallied third over and three-wide in the lane and forged a 14-1 upset in the top class. A seven-year-old Well Said gelding trained by Danny Dubeansky, My Hero Ron swept to command in the lane and outlasted the late bid of 20-1 outsider Fan Of Terror in a surprising outcome.

Also on the Saturday card at Saratoga Harness, Starznheaven (Billy Dobson) lived up to his role as the 4-5 favorite in the $12,000 Winners Over class when he rallied second over and widest of all late to score in 1:55.4. The seven-year-old Rock N Roll Heaven stallion trained by Jimmy Nickerson overcame a slow early tempo to forge a gritty victory that likely earned him a berth in the Open Handicap next weekend.

Then one race later in the $15,000 Open Handicap, Artful Way (Frank Capola, Jr.) rallied second over and three-wide on the far turn to eventually overhaul 7-5 favorite Maxdaddy Blue Chip (Dobson) by a neck in 1:53.2. A seven-year-old Artistic Fella gelding trained by Jackie Greene, Artful Way maintained his fondness for the oval and will seek to defend his title in the top class next weekend.

Yonkers nixed its Saturday card early, meaning those pacers gearing up for the George Morton Levy Memorial Series that gets under way on March 16 and runs through the lucrative April 20 final, will have to squeeze their final preparations into next Saturday's card. Both Bit Of A Legend N and Somewhere In L A won last weekend in their most recent Levy preps and both will likely return next weekend.
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