East Rutherford, NJ – Even Marcus Miller must have been surprised at how easy things went for him and Trolley in the Friday night (March 22) feature at the Meadowlands.
In a field where one scratch (Zlatan) left but six starters in the $25,000 Preferred Handicap for trotters, Miller urged Trolley from the start, setting sail for the top and leading at the quarter in :28.3. The 6-year-old Donato Hanover-Lakeside Bride product continued his sleepwalk to the half in :56.3 as pocket-sitter Rubber Duck and Sutton – who was racing in the three hole – did not move a muscle.
Trolley trotted his third fraction in :27.3 to remain clear on the engine and after coming home in :29.2; he hit the wire two lengths in front of a fast-closing – but non-threatening – Sutton. Rubber Duck held third.
“It’s nice when a plan comes to fruition,” said Miller. “I never really had any doubts tonight off of those fractions. He was very, very strong.”
The Erv Miller-trained Trolley returned $3.80 to his backers after completing the mile in 1:53.3. He’s now won five-of-six this year while facing the best stock on the grounds at the Big M. He has 16 wins from 31 career starts and earnings of $353,209 for owners Michael Anderson, Leland Mathias, Greg Gillis and Louis Willinger.
In the co-featured Preferred Handicap for fillies and mares on the pace, Divas Image, who looked rough-gaited at the start, settled for a fourth-over trip, tipped wide in the stretch, then exploded home in :26.3 to record a one-length win in 1:53.2 as the 3-5 favorite for driver Andy Miller. Believe In Me was second with Newsday third.
“When she was rough behind the gate, I didn’t know what to expect,” said winning trainer Jenn Bongiorno. “But I do know closing is definitely her best game. She absolutely loves the stretch at the Big M.”
Divas Image, a 6-year-old by Bettor’s Delight-Rocknroll Diva, won for the second time this year in five starts (two-for-three at the Big M) and now has won 23-of-70 lifetime outings and banked just over $575,000.
A VERY GOOD START: Friday marked the first-ever Can-Am Pick-4 – a wager where one must pick the winners of two races at both the Meadowlands and Woodbine Mohawk Park – and the response was vigorous.
A total of $57,489 was poured in the pool and after a sequence that saw winner’s odds of 5-2, 6-5, 11-1 and 7-2, the return was a handsome $596.51 for a 20-cent bet.
The Can-Am Pick-4 will be offered on Friday nights.
A LITTLE MORE: One player wagering into the Oregon hub was the holder of the only ticket to last five legs in the 20-cent Survivor Pick-10 and walked away with $10,549.56. … During the course of the 13-race program there were six winning favorites, but longshot players hit big in the third race when La Dolfina ($99.80) scored at 48-1. Five races later, Piercewave Hanover skimmed the cones at 60-1 and returned $128.20. … All-source handle totaled $2,634,286. … Racing resumes Saturday (March 23) at 7:15 p.m.