East Rutherford, NJ — Andy McCarthy was on fire at The Meadowlands Friday night (May 7), guiding four winners on the card, including Machnhope to a second consecutive win in the weekly $30,000 pacing feature for fillies and mares.
One week after scoring as the fifth choice in the betting in the Winners Over/Preferred Handicap, the wagering public sent Machnhope, a Noel Daley trainee, to the gate as the second choice this time around, and once again she brought her “A” game.
Away quickly from post seven in the seven-horse field, the 6-year-old daughter of Mach Three-Hope For Life was intent on making the front in search of a second straight speed score, and hit the quarter in a quick :26.1. McCarthy was able to rate the second fraction in :28.4, which left enough in the tank for later on.
“There were some high-quality mares in there,” said McCarthy, “and I wasn’t sure how it was going to play out. I figured I might as well put her in play. We got a pretty good break down the backside.”
The pace picked up some heading to three-quarters, as JK First Lady (Dexter Dunn) started to roll while uncovered and was at the leader’s throat at three-quarters (1:22.4).
At mid-stretch, JK First Lady was right alongside Machnhope as the two went at it nose-to-nose, but in the final 50 yards, Machnhope paced clear to win by a length to break the 1:50 barrier for the first time in her career, stopping the clock in 1:49.1. JK First Lady, the 8-5 favorite making her seasonal debut for Nancy Takter, was a length back in second, with Lyons Sentinel (Tim Tetrick) finishing third.
“I had to be careful with her on the turn,” said McCarthy, “but once she straightened up, she paced home strong. She’s been terrific lately. 1:49.1 is pretty special for her.”
The winner of the Blue Chip Matchmaker, Machnhope has now won three straight and six of her last eight for owners Deo Volente Farms & T. Pontone, A. Express Stables and Noel Daley. Lifetime, she’s been victorious 32 times from 106 starts and earned $551,394. She paid $8.40 to win after going off at 3-1.
McCarthy’s other winners on the card were Staycation Hanover ($3.00 to win) in the fifth race, Deltasun A ($22.40) in the 10th and Lovely Donna ($3.40) in the 11th.
THE STREAK LIVES: The Big M’s handle streak of wagering at least $3 million increased to 11 as a total of $3,318,763 was put in play on the 13 races.
The 50-cent Pick-4 continued to be a hot ticket, as the Early Pick-4 saw $122,687 in action and the Late P4 took in $107,211. Fourteen of the last 16 Pick-4s have seen pools of over $100,000.
A LITTLE MORE: James MacDonald, who got his first-ever win at The Big M last Friday with Majestic Virgin, won again with the Carmen Auciello trainee in the ninth race as the 2-1 favorite. … Andrew Harris trained a pair of winners on the card. Both were driven by McCarthy. … Racing resumes Saturday at 6:20 p.m.