Odds On Steno and Arbitrage Hanover take NJSS finals at Big M

East Rutherford, NJ — Odds On Steno and Arbitrage Hanover — both sired by Bettor’s Wish — completed three-race sweeps of the New Jersey Sire Stakes for 3-year-olds on the pace, as each won their respective $240,000 finals Saturday night (May 25) at The Meadowlands.

Odds On Steno and driver Andy McCarthy took the New Jersey Sire Stakes final for 3-year-old pacing fillies. Lisa photo.

In the dash for fillies, Pulp Fiction left alertly from post seven and grabbed the top at the quarter in :27.3. Odds On Steno, who was in no particular hurry from post eight in the eight-horse field in the early going, marched her way toward the leader racing on the outside before clearing at the three-eighths then hitting the half in a not-so-taxing :55.2.

“Not really,” said winning driver Andy McCarthy if he was concerned that there were horses leaving underneath him. “I figured there’d be a few leavers in there. You know, the way that she went last week, I figured that they wouldn’t want to be too far away from me. So, I expected a little bit of pressure early in the pace and then I just kind of let the dust settle and worked my way up there.”

A soft three-quarter time of 1:24.1 left plenty in the tank for the daughter of Bettor’s Wish-Odds On St Lucie, and Odds On Steno powered through her final quarter in :26.4 on the way to an easy-as-pie three length win in 1:51. Where’s Larry emerged from the three hole to gun down Pulp Fiction for the place spot.

“She was terrific tonight and she did that very easy, so hopefully onwards and upwards, she’s good,” said McCarthy. “I figured she was doing everything right at the time (through the stretch). I didn’t really want to mess with her too much (by pulling her ear plugs). I was just telling her that she was a good girl, and keep on trucking.”

Trained by Tony Alagna and owned by Let It Ride Stables and Odds On Racing, Odds On Steno was odds-on for a third straight outing and paid $2.40 to win as the 1-5 public choice. She now has won half of her 14 lifetime starts and earned $283,750.

Arbitrage Hanover won the New Jersey Sire Stakes final for 3-year-old colt and gelding pacers. Lisa photo.

Arbitrage Hanover’s assignment was more difficult than Odds On Steno’s in the division for colts and geldings, but the Brett Pelling student stayed perfect in four seasonal tries after overcoming post 10 in a tough field.

“Well, Todd (McCarthy is) good at (leaving the gate),” said Pelling. “I mean, Todd’s one of the best I’ve ever seen at getting one off the wing, so you knew he was going to go forward.”

So Todd asked for speed from the gelded son of Bettor’s Wish-Ana Hanover and received plenty, as ‘Arbitrage’ reached the quarter first while parked in :27. Better Is Nice, for a third straight start sent to the gate as the favorite (this time, 3-2), had designs on the point, and Todd’s big brother Andy put his horse there, leading past the half in :54.4.

Endofstory, also seeking a NJSS sweep, was now challenging the leader on the outside as Arbitrage Hanover continued to sit patiently in the pocket while Better Is Nice went past three-quarters in 1:23.

Unable to sustain his bid, Endofstory wasn’t much of a factor through the stretch drive, and with a little more than a sixteenth of a mile to go, Todd found a sliver of room for Arbitrage Hanover up the inside to nail Better Is Nice by a thrilling half-length in a lifetime-best 1:49.1. Mr Three O Five was superb in deep stretch to get third.

“He’s push button, wears a little pony bridle, and does anything you like,” said Pelling of Arbitrage Hanover. “The hesitation he had last year just in the turns with just nicking a knee a little bit, it seems to have passed him by.”

Pelling, a record five-time winner of The Meadowlands Pace, has not had a lot of success as an owner in his career.

“Well, I dabble; every year I sort of put a bit in and try and have a piece of this or a piece of that,” he said. “You know, I’ve trained some great horses with some great owners, but you’re right, this is the biggest purse that I’ve won as a part owner and it’s fantastic.”

With The Pace less than two months away, Pelling was non-committal about possibly supplementing his horse to the $700,000 (est.) event, with a payment of approximately $70,000 necessary to get him eligible.

“It never crossed my mind,” said Pelling with a laugh. “I mean, crazier things have happened. No, I can’t even answer that one; we gotta go back, regroup.”

Owned by Pelling Racing, Rojan Stables and Bridle Path Stables, Arbitrage Hanover returned $9.60 to his backers as the 7-2 third choice in the betting. He’s now won five of 16 lifetime outings and earned $203,750.

Pelling sees a bright future for his prized pupil.

“You know what, a lot of people probably don’t know this, but, his mother and Allywag (Hanover’s) mother are sisters and Allywag just got better with age and I see this horse getting better with age as well,” said Pelling.

A Little More: David Miller led the driver colony with three victories on the night, while Alagna and Ron Burke topped the trainers with a pair of wins apiece.

All-source handle on the 14-race card totaled $3,139,424.

Racing resumes Friday at 6:20 p.m.

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