East Rutherford, NJ — Captain Barbossa recorded the fastest mile of the season in harness racing when he stopped the clock in 1:47.1 — a lifetime best — in one of two $50,000 divisions of the third leg of the Graduate Series for 4-year-old pacers at The Meadowlands Saturday night (June 5). There were also two $50,000 splits of leg two for 4-year-old trotters on the card.
The Tony Alagna trainee did it the hard way, coming first over for the final half-mile to gun down the speedy Poseidon Seelster.
“He’s a cool horse to drive,” said winning pilot Dexter Dunn. “The fractions set up for a fast mile.”
Indeed, they did.
Tattoo Artist exploded from post seven and streaked to the quarter in :25.3 before George Brennan moved Poseidon Seelster to the point at the half in :52.4. Captain Barbossa vacated the three-hole at that point and came after the leader down the backside and around the far turn as three-quarters went in a scorching 1:20.1.
After grinding away at the leader’s edge, Dunn then nudged Captain Barbossa, a son of Captaintreacherous-Swinging Beauty, to the lead as they straightened up for the stretch drive on the way to reporting home a three-quarter length winner over 8-5 favorite Warrawee Vital, who followed the winner’s cover but never threatened. Sandbetweenmytoes was third. Poseidon Seelster weakened and finished seventh.
“He came first-over from the half,” said Dunn. “It was awesome.”
As the 3-1 second choice, Captain Barbossa paid $8.20 to win. He now has seven victories from 38 career starts and earnings of $533,438.
The second Graduate division for pacers was won in similar fashion to the first as Allywag Hanover (a gelded son of Captaintreacherous-Anderosa Hanover) came first up from the half and gunned down 4-5 favorite Ruthless Hanover, who was looking to stay perfect in three Graduate outings. Splash Brother and Cattlewash finished in a dead heat for third.
“Today, he toughed it out pretty good,” said driver Tim Tetrick, who guided the Brett Pelling student. “I raced him like a sports car. I was hoping to get cover but nobody was pulling. My horse outfought (Ruthless Hanover) tonight.”
The margin of victory was a half-length as the mile went in 1:48.1. Allywag Hanover returned $16.20 to win as the fourth choice in the betting, and now has 10 wins from 27 career starts and a bankroll of $297,668.
Hypnotic AM took the first split for trotters in 1:50.3 — a lifetime best — for driver Brian Sears and trainer Marcus Melander.
The daughter of Chapter Seven-Daydream Am S popped out of the pocket off the far turn and out-gamed 4-5 favorite Beads to the wire by a half-length. Amigo Volo was third.
“She’s not a real big filly but she’s flawlessly gaited,” said Sears. “With a trip like she got, she always shows up.”
Hypnotic AM returned $5.80 as the second choice in the wagering and now has 13 wins from just 25 lifetime outings and earnings of $1,195,584.
It’s Academic (a son of Uncle Peter-Annapolis) made it two-for-two in the Graduate by taking the second trotting division in 1:51 for Tetrick and Ron Burke, holding off even-money choice Ready For Moni by three-quarters of a length, going wire-to-wire. Sermon was third.
As the 6-5 second choice, It’s Academic paid $4.40 in winning for the 18th time from 34 career outings, good for earnings of $618,688.
That’s 20, Honey: All-source wagering totaled $4,047,250, upping The Big M’s streak of programs with a handle of more than $3 million to 20. Of the 45 race cards conducted in 2021, wagering has reached the $3 million plateau on 36 occasions.
The $4 million barrier has now been busted six times this year, and Saturday’s action completed a $7 million weekend, the ninth time that has occurred in 2021.
The Late 50-cent Pick-4 saw total play of $144,278, to set a new season high.
A Little More: Dunn and Tetrick led the driver’s colony with three winners apiece. Alagna trained three to victory lane.
Racing resumes Friday at 6:20 p.m.