East Rutherford, NJ — It was one for the chalk players and one for those who like bombs in the two $17,500 Play Meadowlands Series Finals at The Meadowlands Friday night (Feb. 20).
In the division for pacing fillies and mares, Its Mesmerise N (Scott Zeron) completed a two-race sweep of the event for trainer Darran Cassar.
Sent to the gate as the 1-5 public choice for a second straight start despite facing a tougher field this time around, Zeron had the 7-year-old daughter of American Ideal-Cullens Charm in the three-hole early before brushing to the top at the half, which was clocked in a quick :54.2.
Windsong Parisian (Corey Callahan), the 10-1 fourth choice in the 10-horse field, applied pressure to the leader while first-over past the half and three-quarters (1:22.1) and appeared to be done off the turn as they straightened away in the stretch, but she kept on digging all the way to the wire through a slow final quarter of :30.2 to come up a neck short of pulling off an upset. Misty Memory N (Simon Allard) was third.
“I wish I could have bided my time a little more,” said Zeron of moving Its Mesmerise N to the lead. “She raced unbelievably given the pressure and the fractions. When I had to move as early as I did at the half, it was a bit of a concern and the immediate pressure didn’t help. [Windsong Parisian] raced well. Both fillies cruised around the last turn and both hung in there down the lane. I think my horse is classier than these horses. I had been racing her from off the pace because she likes a target but had been a victim of being too far back. She showed tonight she can do it any which way.”
Its Mesmerise N paid $2.60 to win after completing the mile in 1:52.3 for her 18th-lifetime win from 69 starts. She now has earnings of $117,364.
Longshot lovers got their way in the Play Meadowlands for trotters as driver Steve Smith saved ground with Take A Wish from start to finish before bursting through between rivals late to score at 30-1 in 1:55.2.
After racing Take A Wish at the rail in eighth in the 10-horse field in the early going, as the flow developed on the rim, Smith advanced the Dawn Anderson trainee to the four-hole along the inside at the half. Remaining glued to the cones around the far turn, Smith waited until there was room and came with a rush in deep stretch to score the upset by a head and return $62.40. Life Well Lived (Dexter Dunn) closed well on the far outside to get second while third-place finisher Gruden (Billy Dobson), the 2-1 favorite, failed in a second straight attempt to go wire-to-wire.
Take A Wish, a 6-year-old mare by Wishing Stone-Take A Taste, won for the 12th time from 85 lifetime outings and upped her earnings to $210,836.
A LITTLE MORE: Handle topped the $3-million mark again as a total of $3,080,321 was put in play on a 13-race card conducted over a sloppy track that saw snowy conditions for the first third of the program. Wagering has now surpassed $3 million on three straight Fridays, and 10 times overall for the 14 cards conducted thus far in 2021. … Driver of the Week Dexter Dunn kept on rolling, racking up three winners to up his Big M leading-driver victory tally to 42. He’s scored 15 times over the last four programs. … No one hit the 20-cent Pick-6, setting up Saturday’s wager with a carryover of $7,222. …. First-race post time on Saturday (Feb. 20) is 6 p.m. The Pick-6 begins in race eight. Free past performances for every race of every Meadowlands card are available by going to playmeadowlands.com.