Hightstown, NJ — Marcus Melander is enchanted with Hypnotic AM, and it is easy to understand why. Now ready to begin her 4-year-old season, the trotting mare has earned $1.15 million in her 22-race career, winning 12 times and finishing off the board only once.
Hypnotic AM launches her campaign Saturday in the first of two $30,000 divisions of the Miss Versatility Series for older female trotters at The Meadowlands. She is 7-2 on the morning line, third choice behind Breeders Crown champion Next Level Stuff at 5-2 and 2019 Hambletonian Oaks winner When Dovescry at 3-1.
“She had a good winter and I’m very happy with how she’s coming back,” said Melander, who trains the homebred mare for Courant Inc. “She’s always been a nice horse, from day one, honestly. You don’t make over $1 million if you’re not a good horse. She’s always produced. I couldn’t be happier with what she’s done in her career.”
Hypnotic AM’s career wins include the 2019 Jim Doherty Memorial, 2020 Empire Breeders Classic, two New York Sire Stakes championship, and a Kentucky Sire Stakes title. Last year, she finished second in the Hambletonian Oaks, Kentucky Filly Futurity, and Zweig Memorial for 3-year-old fillies. She was third in the 2019 Breeders Crown.
“She maybe is missing that big, big win, but it’s hard to complain about her,” Melander said. “I thought she was very good in the Oaks, she just had a bad post (starting from the second tier, post 12). She’s always right there.”
The daughter of Chapter Seven-Daydream AM S goes to the Miss Versatility’s opening round off a 1:54.4 win in a qualifier April 24 at The Meadowlands. She will have regular driver Brian Sears in the sulky.
“She had just one qualifier, but I think it’s enough,” Melander said. “We trained her a couple of times at The Meadowlands. She’s not going to be in top form but she’s a nice horse and she should be all right to race.
“She can do everything you ask, and she is so professional out there. You can leave, you can sit behind a horse, she’s so versatile. She has a lot of speed, she’s strong. She’s just a sweetheart.”
Next Level Stuff, who won the Breeders Crown for 3-year-old fillies last year, heads to Saturday’s start off a second-place finish against mostly male foes in a high-level conditioned trot in her seasonal debut on May 1 at The Big M.
The second division of the Miss Versatility features 2020 Hambletonian Oaks winner Sorella and New Jersey Sire Stakes champion Ab’sattitudexpress.
Ab’sattitudexpress, trained by Lucas Wallin, is the 5-2 morning-line favorite after capturing the New Jersey Breeders Maturity last week. Sorella, who had five Grand Circuit victories last season for trainer Nancy Takter, is 3-1. She is making her seasonal debut.
Saturday’s 13-race card also includes the first starts of the year for Meadowlands Pace hopefuls Abuckabett Hanover and Exploit plus 4-year-old Grand Circuit stakes winners Fortify and No Lou Zing. Tattoo Artist, an O’Brien Award winner in 2020, is making his second start after a fourth-place finish in a division of the Graduate Series for pacers.
Racing begins at 6:20 p.m. (EDT) Saturday at The Meadowlands. The Big M and TrackMaster have teamed to regularly provide free past performances for each race card. Past performances can be found here on The Meadowlands website.