East Rutherford, NJ – The Meadowlands faithful were given plenty of opportunity, and they took advantage by betting with both hands throughout Saturday night’s (June 20) 18-race program. When the dust cleared, wagering totaled $4,100,386, the highest for a non-Hambletonian Day or Meadowlands Pace Night in memory.
In fact, other than the $6,501,778 wagered on Hambletonian Day 2019, the only other $4-million handle last year was on Meadowlands Pace Night, when a total of $4,044,303 was pushed through the windows.
Wagering was steady throughout Saturday’s card, with the $300,000 barrier busted only once (on the third race). There were two other races on the card that saw betting of at least $290,000.
The tally for the weekend was impressive, as a total of $7,582,203 was wagered on the 36 races, good for an average per race of $210,616.
‘ANGEL’ BEDEVILS FOES: Guardian Angel As was a dominant winner in the co-feature on the Saturday card, the Preferred for trotters.
The 6-year-old son of Archangel-Provide As never had an anxious moment scoring as the 3-5 public choice, as after Obrigado took the field past the quarter in a snappy :26.2, driver Tim Tetrick moved the Anette Lorentzon trainee to the top soon thereafter.
A rated middle half of :55.2 saw Guardian Angel As open up what would turn out to be an insurmountable 2-1/2 length lead at the head of the stretch on the way to a sparkling 4-1/4 length triumph over JL Cruze in a lifetime-best 1:50.1. Phaetosive was third.
Guardian Angel As ($3.20 to win), who earned $798,294 a year ago during a campaign that was highlighted by a win over Atlanta in the Maple Leaf Trot, now has 24 career victories from 58 starts and a bank account that stands at $1,328,540 for owners ACL Stuteri AB and Kjell Johansson.
GEEZ, JOE SCORES: Geez Joe benefitted from a patient Marcus Miller drive and some racing luck to win the co-featured Preferred for pacers in 1:48.1.
Trapped at the rail sitting in the four-hole in sixth place, Miller found some space coming off the far turn, and once clear, sprinted past Sintra nearing the wire to record a three-quarter-length score, upping his lifetime stats to 22 wins in 68 starts, with earnings of $294,120 for trainer Erv Miller and owners Bay Pond Racing Stable. Geez Joe, whose lifetime mark is 1:47.4, paid $10.60 as the third choice in the wagering.
HOT STUFF: Trainers Ray Schnittker and Shane Tritton are raising eyebrows in the first few weeks back since the coronavirus shutdown.
Schnittker has a pair of impressive 3-year-old pacing males who figure to be heard from as the stakes season comes into focus. His Captain Groovy (Captaintreacherous-Lets Groove Tonite) made it two straight Meadowlands wins when he stopped the clock in 1:48 for driver Mark MacDonald. The time was just a tick off the fastest mile of the year in the sport.
Splash Brother completed the Schnittker parlay by scoring in 1:48.2. The gelded son of So Surreal-Sugarcoated made the lead from the 10 hole at the quarter in :27.3 and sailed down the road with Tyler Buter calling the shots.
Tritton, the champion Down Under trainer who has relocated to the States, kept his red-hot barn rolling, scoring with 8-year-old gelding Lespndnitetogeta N (Washington Vc-The Moth) in 1:51 and 11-year-old horse Flaming Flutter N (Bettor’s Delight-Twice As Hot N), who won his North American debut from post nine in 1:49.1. Both were driven by Jordan Stratton.
A LITTLE MORE: The clock got rocked all night Saturday, as eight of the 17 pacing events went in sub-1:50. … Stratton and Tetrick led the way in the driver’s colony with three wins apiece. … The 20-cent Pick-6 resulted in a carryover of $8,948 for the next racing program. … Racing resumes Friday (June 26) at 7:15 p.m.