On paper, the $83,000 Clyde Hirt Final appeared to be a wide open race. But on the racetrack, it was anything but.
Avatartist, sent off as the 9-5 favorite, made the early lead in 26.1 prior to yielding to the pocket. Driver Dave Miller made an aggressive move down the backstretch, reclaiming the lead past a 53.3 half-mile. The Buckeye threw down the gauntlet and opened up a commanding lead heading to the top of the stretch and never had an anxious moment in the stretch winning in a stakes record 1:50.1.
Alexa's Jackpot rallied very well off dull cover to be second, while Wake Up Peter came from an impossible spot to be third.
The winner is trained byfor owners William Hill, Peter Harrisson, Michael Saftic and James Walker. Ironically, Avatartist is not eligible to the upcoming Whata Baron series which begins Saturday April 5th, while Alexa's Jackpot and Wake Up Peter are heading to that series next.
In the $60,600 Final of The Horse & Groom, it was a perfect storm for Hldontghttoyurdrms in more ways than one. First, the 3-5 favorite Bambino Glide made a break prior to the start, never to be involved. At the start, round one winner Amigo Ranger went off-stride. Next, turning down the backstretch, with Hldontghttoyurdrms leading through a 27.3 opening quarter, pocket-sitting March Awareness broke stride, leaving the pace-setter with a six length lead heading to the half.
Hldontghttoyurdrms got that half in 55.4 and three quarters in 1:24.3, while never facing a challenge and romping to an easy score in 1:53.4 for Canadian based driver. The winner had been a bit disappointing in the first two rounds of the series, but with the money down, the gelded son of got the job done. He is trained by for owners Saverio Spagnolo, Frank Schimizzi and Frank Spagnolo.
Longshot Magglio was second with Crosbys Clam Bake finishing third.
and Jim Morrill, Jr. were the Winners in Round 2 of the Legends vs. Phenoms Drivers Challenge.
continues to make plenty of noise at The Meadowlands as he easily led the Phenoms from gate to wire to win the second leg of the Driver Challenge with 85 points. Zeron also won the "phenom" category last week as well.
While Zeron is dominating the Phenoms, the Legends category has been a battle. Tonight,and . went into the last race each with 83 points, with first round winner Dave Miller right behind with 81 points. In the end, it was , with 90 points winning round 2 for the Legends.
For the tournament, Dave Miller (172) leads the "Legends" followed by(160), . (158), (74) and (73).
(163) is cruising along in the "Phenoms" category. (90) is a clear-cut second. Rounding out the top 10 are (60), (54), (52), Jim. Marohn Jr. (49), Vincent Ginsburg (46), (45), (33) and (22).
On Saturday April 26th, the top five Legends and the top five Phenoms will qualify for the Driver Challenge Final, with the winner earning $15,000.
Racing resumes on Friday with the first round of the Artistic Vision series for pacing mares, with post time at 7:15 P.M.
by Darin Zoccali, for the Meadowlands