Day At The Track

Huge increase in handle, Callahan wins five

08:16 PM 03 Mar 2019 NZDT
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Rodeo Rock, harness racing
Rodeo Rock pulled off an upset in the featured seventh race, the $25,000 Preferred Handicap for pacers
Lisa Photo

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. - Increased purses, big fields, competitive harness racing and - of course - a dedicated fan base led to the biggest night of wagering of the year Saturday at the Meadowlands.

All-source betting on the 13-race program totaled $3,603,187, easily eclipsing the previous single-card - and industry - best of $3,166,920, which had been established on Feb. 16. Saturday's card got off to a fast start as $332,662 was wagered on the first race, $79,818 of which was bet in the 50-Cent Pick-5 pool, a yearly best.

Single-race betting exceeded $300,000 five times during the course of the evening, with the most action taken in the eighth race, when $340,076 was put in play. The 50-Cent Pick-4, which begins in the eighth, took $134,614 in wagers, that bet's biggest pool of 2019.

Corey Callahan, known as "The Captain", was in command of the driver colony, winning five times on the card. He won four of the first six races with the longest-priced winner going off at odds of 9-5.

But Callahan saved his best for last, scoring with 11-1 chance Ever Again in the 10th race, making his fans stand at attention and salute.

In a thrilling stretch finish, Rodeo Rock pulled off an upset in the featured seventh race, the $25,000 Preferred Handicap for pacers. Driver Andy McCarthy had the 6-year-old gelded son of Rock N Roll Heaven-Electric Fool in a tough spot - fourth along the rail racing in last - when the field turned for home, but McCarthy swung the Robert Cleary trainee to the far outside and exploded through the stretch, pacing his final quarter in :26.2 to nail Beckhams Z Tam nearing the wire and win by a neck. Always At My Place was third.

The winning time of 1:49.4 marked the second time this year that a Big M race went in sub-1:50, with Castle Flight's 1:49.3 from a week ago the only faster mile.

Rodeo Rock paid $20.80 as the sixth choice in the wagering for owners Royal Wire Products Inc. Castle Flight, the 2-1 favorite, worked hard to make the lead at the half in :53.4, then wilted through the stretch, finishing eighth and last.

A LITTLE MORE: Kyle Husted had a driving double on the card while Jeff Cullipher trained a pair to victory lane. ... Racing resumes Friday at 7:15 p.m.

By Dave Little, Meadowlands Media Relations


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