East Rutherford, NJ — Saturday night (May 21) at The Meadowlands might have belonged to Cutler winner Ecurie D DK, but Nicholas Beach had himself a memorable night as well, scorching the mile oval in 1:47 in the $40,000 Open, and in the process, established a national season’s record for pacers.
“No words can truly describe what this horse means to us,” said Jenn Bongiorno, trainer of Nicholas Beach. “He has all the talent in the world.”
And it was on display Saturday.
The 6-year-old gelded son of Somebeachsomewhere-Michelle My Gal sprinted away from post six in the seven-horse field and ripped off the opening quarter in :26. Jenn’s driver, her brother Joe, was able to rate the second fraction back to :28.2.
Then the speed show was on.
Nicholas Beach powered clear of the field by 2-1/2 lengths at three-quarters after a :26.2 split had him break that beam in 1:20.4 before a flying final quarter of :26.1 helped him lower his previous lifetime best by two-fifths of a second. It was 2-3/4 lengths back to second-place finisher This Is The Plan with 6-5 favorite Jack’s Legend N grabbing the show dough.
“This week, he trained incredibly,” said Jenn. “Joe’s been doing such a great job driving him and keeping him brave as we realize this is a very long season. On to the [$100,000] Commodore Barry [at Harrah’s Philadelphia on May 29].”
Owned by John E. Lengacher, Michael Cote Gagnon and Jennifer Bongiorno Stable LLC, Nicholas Beach paid $8.20 to win as the 3-1 third choice in the betting. He now has 19 wins from just 35 career starts, good for career earnings of $413,121.
To view the replay of Nicholas Beach’s 1:47 mile, click here.
SUPERSTARS ON THE UNDERCARD: Atlanta got into the win column with an easy 2-1/4-length score over Yanks Dugout in a $31,500 Open for trotters. The Ron Burke-trained, Yannick Gingras-driven 7-year-old daughter of Chapter Seven-Hemi Blue Chip, who got gunned down by Herculisa in her seasonal debut two weeks ago, stopped the clock in 1:51.2 and paid $2.10 to win.
Watch Me Now N worked out an ideal pocket trip before sneaking through the inside late to pull off an upset at odds of 16-1 in a $31,500 Open for fillies and mares on the pace.
Test Of Faith, the 1-9 favorite and defending Horse of the Year, raced from sixth and last, picked up cover from 5-1 second choice Amazing Dream N down the backside, but simply had too much to do and came up three-quarters-of-a-length short in second.
Watch Me Now N, driven by Dexter Dunn and trained by Tony Alagna, paid $35.80 while lifting her lifetime stats to 12 wins from 28 starts. The 6-year-old daughter of He’s Watching-Mach N Elle, who paced the mile in 1:49, now has earnings of $159,109.
WHAT’S YOUR HANDLE: Betting on the 13-race card was extremely vigorous, as a total of $3,412,840 was put in play, highlighted by race seven, which took in $444,633 worth of action.
It marked the 11th time this year that betting busted the $3-million barrier at The Big M. The only time wagering was higher than Saturday’s program was on March 5, when the all-source handle totaled $3,755,422.
A LITTLE MORE: Burke and Gingras were up to their usual tricks, teaming up to win four times on the program, to lead the trainer and driver colonies, respectively. … Mark MacDonald had a driving triple. … The 20-cent Survivor Pick-7 took in $13,728 worth of action, and at the conclusion of the wager, those who cashed walked away with a handsome $3,888.66 for seven correct selections. … The 20-cent Pick-6 started with a modest carryover of $6,167, leading to a total pool of $57,610. Those who had six winners on their tickets cashed in for $779.32. … Racing resumes Friday (May 27) at 6:20 p.m.