El Ideal dominant, Senorita Rita rolls in Kindergarten Classic Final

East Rutherford, NJ — A recall did not hamper the groove of EL Ideal (Muscle Hill-Courtney Hall) as the late-blooming Ake Svanstedt trainee cruised to a 1:53.1 victory in the $251,460 Kindergarten Classic Colt and Gelding Trot Final—sponsored by Diamond Creek Farm—on Saturday, Nov. 2 at the Meadowlands.

Late Bloomer EL Ideal took his division of the Kindergarten Classic on Saturday night at The Meadowlands. Lisa Photo.

Beyond Kronos (Andrew McCarthy, sent at odds of 69-1, blasted from post 8 to the front while Sky Castles (Scott Zeron) also showed speed but began to gallop rounding the first turn. Even-money favorite EL Ideal (Andy Miller), away second, soon circled to the front passing a :27.1 opening quarter and continued unchallenged to a :56.2 half before a Melander flow crept forward.

Back Of The Neck (Mattias Melander), trained by Marcus Melander, marched first over to pressure EL Ideal with stablemate Maesteraemon (Tim Tetrick in tow. EL Ideal maintained control through three-quarters in 1:24.4 and edged away from his competition in progress to a 1:53.1 victory. Beyond Kronos clung to second as Chestnut Hill rolled from the backfield for third and Maesteraemon circumvented his tiring stablemate for fourth.

“He’s very good and does a great job with the horses he’s got and it’s always fun to drive for him,” driver Andy Miller said of driving for Svanstedt after the race. 

When asked about what changed in EL Ideal late in the season, Miller said the colt has “Just a lot of maturity. Ake’s done a great job bringing him along slow and getting him ready at the right time. He was a little more keyed up after [the recall] but then once he got to the front he was settled down and was really good.”

EL Ideal, a two-year-old colt by Muscle Hill owned by Emp Invest Oy, won his third race from nine starts and has earned $276,437. He paid $4.00 to win. 

Trainer Linda Toscano claimed the top two spots in the $251,020 Kindergarten Classic Filly Trot Final—sponsored by Svanstedt Stable—with 1-2 favorite Senorita Rita (Chapter Seven-Lindys Head Nurse) winning in a career-best mile of 1:53.2 over stablemate Dip Me Hanover (David Miller). 

Trainer Linda Toscano went 1-2 in the filly Kindergarten Classic at The Meadowlands on Saturday, with Senorita Rita victorious. Lisa Photo.

Driver Scott Zeron sent Senorita Rita for the lead as Hall Of Am S protected position from the pylon post and Dip Me Hanover secured a spot from post 10 in third circling the first turn. Trotting the first quarter in :27.4, Senorita Rita held an uncontested lead to a :56.3 half and past three-quarters in 1:25.1. 

Creature Of Habit (Dexter Dunn) mounted a mild first-over bid around the final turn but lost ground through the stretch, leaving room for Hall Of Am S (Tetrick) to vacate pocket and challenge the leader late. However, Senorita Rita kept her lead intact while Hall Of Am S lost stride nearing the finish, giving Dip Me Hanover second while Creature Of Habit took third via a placing. Hall Of Am S, with a lapped-on break finishing third, was disqualified to fourth.

“Tonight I let her see what we can do and down the lane asked her and she maintained her speed right to the wire,” Zeron said after the race. “She’s really a sensational horse. Linda’s been patient with her all year. I’ve been on the front end but that’s just because she’s so easy to drive and I just want to stay out of trouble, but she’s versatile. I’m excited for next year and maybe she’ll have a little bit more left this year.

With five victories from seven starts, Senorita Rita has banked $190,710 for owner Kenneth Jacobs. Though she started her career late, Toscano left open the possibility of sending Senorita Rita deeper into the Grand Circuit with the Goldsmith Maid coming up at the Meadowlands.

“I think they either have or they don’t, and she has it,” Toscano said after the race. “I believe she’s a quality filly—I’ve believed all along she’s a quality filly. If she comes out of this race well, that’s where she’ll be going. 

Senorita Rita paid $3.00 to win.

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