East Rutherford, NJ — Geez Joe got back into the win column after consecutive failures as the favorite, scoring by the smallest of margins over rival K Ryan Bluechip in the Saturday night (Jan. 19) feature at the Meadowlands, the $21,000 Preferred Handicap for pacers.
The betting public made their opinion clear, as Geez Joe was sent to the gate as the 2-5 favorite, the fourth consecutive time the Erv Miller trainee was the public’s choice in the Big M’s weekly marquee pacing event.
Geez Joe and driver Marcus Miller left the gate alertly from post six in the six-horse field but had to settle for the four hole in the early going as 30-1 shot New Talent hit the quarter in :26.1. Geez Joe vacated his spot just before the half and started to cut into New Talent’s lead while racing uncovered, and at the head of the stretch, the duo were on even terms.
Geez Joe wore down the longshot mid-lane but bursting on the scene late was K Ryan Bluechip, the 4-1 second choice who was last in a third-over flow at three-quarters, flying on the far outside as Geez Joe was straining to hold on. The pair hit the wire together, and after the judges took several minutes to examine the photo, they put up Geez Joe’s number. New Talent held on for third. The time for the mile was 1:50.2.
The winner, a 5-year-old son of Roll With Joe-Beach Bretta, returned $2.80 to win for owner Bay Pond Racing Stable. Geez Joe has now won 17-of-55 lifetime starts and earned $228,978.
It was a huge weekend for the father-son team of Erv and Marcus Miller. They combined to win both weekly features, scoring Friday with Trolley in the Preferred Handicap for trotters before Geez Joe’s score Saturday. Over the course of the two-card race week, Marcus drove five winners while Erv trained three.
A Little More: Due to the inclement weather, the 14-race card saw a total of 21 scratches. Despite that, all-source wagering was still strong, at $2,309,847.
Marcus Miller had a driving triple on the program, while Dexter Dunn, Pat Berry and Eric Carlson all had two apiece. Carlson swept the Late Daily Double. On the training side, Erv Miller, Mark Ford and Jeff Cullipher all had two winners each.
A simulcast patron wagering into the Portland hub was the only player to go eight-for-10 in the 20-cent Survivor Pick-10 wager and walked away with $8,018.
Racing resumes Friday at 7:15 p.m.