East Rutherford, NJ – Highalator brought his usual high-speed show to the Meadowlands Saturday night (July 28), and the result was a fifth win in seven starts at the Big M in 2019, as the Jenny Bier trainee completed a four-race sweep of the Golden Receiver Series for pacers by scoring in the $60,000 final.
“I haven’t had an opportunity to drive a horse like him,” said winning driver Ricky Still. “And since I have, we’ve had such good luck.”
Highalator was on the go early, and so was Western Joe, who had the top at the quarter in :26.2. Still moved Highalator to the point soon thereafter, clearing to the top just before the three-eighths. A :28.1 second fraction proved to be more than enough of a breather for the horse who had won all three preliminary Golden Receiver legs.
The 5-year-old son of Somebeachsomewhere-Higher And Higher opened up on Western Joe to lead by 2-1/4 lengths at three-quarters, then powered home in :26 to stop the clock in a lifetime-best equaling 1:48. It was 2-1/2 lengths back to a fast-closing Sweet Rock. Western Joe held third.
Highalator, who is owed by Bier, Joann Dombeck and Midsize Construction, has now won half of his 20 starts this year. Lifetime, he’s 31-for-66 and earned $516,197. As the 1-2 favorite, he paid $3 to win.
“It’s a dream come true to drive a horse like him,” said Still.
Also on the Saturday card were two eliminations for the 94th edition of the Hambletonian Oaks for 3-year-old fillies on the trot, with the first five finishers from each dash returning for the $500,000 final, which takes place on Hambletonian Day (Aug. 3).
The first elim saw the Jim Campbell-trained Millies Possesion stay unbeaten in eight lifetime starts. The daughter of Possess The Will-Fashion Athena sailed past early leader Sonnet Grace once they straightened away down the backside on the way to hitting the half in :56.
Evident Beauty, who went parked the final three-eighths, made an explosive late charge at the leader but came up a nose short in a superb try. Queen Of Trixs (third), Asiago (fourth) and Sonnet Grace (fifth) were the others to earn a berth in the final.
Millies Possesion completed the mile in 1:52.3 and returned $3.60 to win as the 4-5 public choice. Campbell will be searching for his second Oaks score, having won it with Broadway Schooner in 2009.
“She’s still learning the game,” said winning driver Dexter Dunn. “She’s come a long way this season. I thought Dave (Miller, driving Evident Beauty) was going to beat me, but to my filly’s credit, she stuck her head up.”
The second elim saw Pocono Downs invader When Dovescry crush her foes in a lifetime-best 1:51.3 for trainer Rene Allard and his brother-driver Simon.
The daughter of Muscle Hill-Clear Dove was first over as Southwind Casha hit the quarter in a serious :26.4, then cleared to the top just after the three-eighths before reporting home an easy three-length winner, scoring for the first time this year in four tries.
Southwind Casha was second, with Princess Deo, Miss Trixton and Sweet Chapter finishing third through fifth, respectively, to earn spots behind the gate for the final. Cloud Nine Fashion, a Campbell trainee, finished sixth as the 8-5 public choice.
When Dovescry returned $8.60 to win as the second choice in the wagering.
“We raced her easy in her qualifier and first three races,” said Simon Allard. “We have been shooting for the Oaks. Great work from Brandon Simpson, who works for my brother, and my brother. They told me that she’s been training super on the front end. I never put her on the front end yet and we did it tonight and they were right. You could put a glass of water on her back and nothing would spill, she trots so nice.”
A LITTLE MORE: The Nancy Johansson-trained Don’t Let’em (7-2 second choice) put himself in the Hambletonian conversation by cruising past 9-5 favorite Swandre The Giant on the far turn on the way to a 5-1/4 length, 1:50.2 lifetime-best score in the W.N. Reynolds for 3-year-old colts and geldings on the trot. … One sharp player betting into the Twin Spires hub held the only ticket to last eight legs in the 20-Cent Survivor Pick-10 and walked away with $7,233. … Dexter Dunn led the driver’s colony with three winners on the night. … All-source handle totaled $2,682,910. … Racing resumes Friday (Aug. 2) at 7:15 p.m. … Saturday (Aug. 3) is Hambletonian Day. Post time is noon. … Check out the Hambletonian post position draw on the Big M’s Facebook Live page Tuesday (July 30) at 2 p.m.