East Rutherford, NJ — It was Hall of Famer David Miller’s night at The Meadowlands Friday (July 17), as “The Buckeye” drove three winners on the program, including among them, Run Director in the featured Open for trotters.
“I raced him at (Harrah’s Philadelphia) in his last start and he had all kinds of road trouble but still trotted in (1:)51,” said Miller. “I really like this horse.”
So did those who wagered on the 5-year-old son of Kadabra-Keep The Spirit, who was sent to the gate at 11-1 in a field remarkable in how competitive it looked on paper.
While not showing gate speed in any of his recent efforts, Miller gunned his horse to the top around the first turn and hit the quarter in :27. With no one coming at him, Miller was able to rate the second fraction in :29, which left plenty of juice for the final half-mile.
Nearing three-quarters, Betting Gangster S was racing first-over trying to challenge the leader while towing 2-1 favorite Lindy The Great into the race, but Betting Gangster S stalled on the far turn, which forced Lindy The Great three-wide, sealing the deal for the eventual winner.
Lindy The Great kicked home in :26.1, but it was too little, too late, as Run Director completed his wire-to-wire win in 1:51.4. Swansea finished third.
“I did not expect to make the lead that easy,” said Miller. “He was going along really easy and seemed very comfortable. I heard Andy (Miller, driving Lindy The Great) coming but we had enough left to get the job done.”
Run Director, who hit the finish three-quarters of a length in front of Lindy The Great, paid $25.00 to win for his owners Thomas and Elizabeth Rankin. The Andrew Harris trainee now has 14 wins from 38 career starts and earnings of $470,087.
NJSS wrapup: The second leg of the New Jersey Sire Stakes for 2-year-olds saw seven divisions on the Friday card.
In the first of three colt and gelding trots, the David Miller-driven, Marcus Melander-trained Heartbreak Hill (Muscle Hill-Allmar Surprise) gunned down 3-5 favorite Spy Booth nearing the wire to pull off an upset at 31-1, winning for the first time in his career in 1:54.3.
Locatelli (Muscle Hill-Girlie Tough) went wire-to-wire in division two for Yannick Gingras and Nancy Takter, taking his first-ever victory in 1:54.4 as the 3-1 third choice.
Mon Amour (Muscle Hill-Mind Meld) was the only favorite among the male trotters to click, as the Per Engblom student scored in division three as the 3-5 choice in 1:56 with Dexter Dunn holding the lines.
The first of two divisions for filly trotters went to Altar (Muscle Hill-Swan Hot Mama) for David Miller and Engblom. The 7-1 chance recorded her first lifetime win in 1:54.4 coming from off the pace.
In the second division, Engblom completed a sweep of the filly trot divisions (and got his third NJSS win of the night) with Material Girl, a Muscle Hill-Lilu Hanover offspring who was driven by Dunn. The 4-1 shot, who visited the winner’s circle for the first time in her career, stopped the clock in 1:55.3.
Before the betting card, there were a pair of divisions on the pace. Recording a second victory in as many starts was the filly Anna Jeans (Great Vintage-Early Go Hanover), who scored in a lifetime-best 2:03.2 for trainer John Urbanski and driver Jason Thompson.
Also staying perfect in two starts was Fika Time, a gelding from trainer Chase Vandervort who is a product of Sunfire Blue Chip-Raiders Favorite. Tim Tetrick guided the winner to a lifetime-best 1:56.3 mile.
A Little More: Wagering was solid all night as the 20-cent Pick-5 took in $81,252 in bets and the Late Pick-4 saw $88,209 of action. Total wagering was $2,883,778.
Racing resumes Saturday night (Meadowlands Pace Night) at a special early post time of 6:30 p.m.