Day At The Track

April Ava steps up, wins again

04:00 PM 27 Mar 2021 NZDT
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April Ava, harness racing
April Ava (#3) gets up to win the feature by a nose
Lisa Photo

EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ - When April Ava won a week ago at The Meadowlands against mid-range harness racing conditioned stock despite not having raced in almost seven months, it wasn't a total surprise since she had performed credibly in her last two starts against similar late last summer.

But Friday night at The Big M, the Ron Burke trainee took a considerable bump up in class and won again, taking the featured $22,500 high-end conditioned pace for fillies and mares in 1:52.2.

"It just worked out tonight," said winning driver Yannick Gingras. "The mare responded when I called on her, so you have to give her credit for that."

April Ava (post 3) blasted away from the gate, along with Marloe Hanover (post 7), Tango Dancer N (post 2), Betalady (post 6) and Wingding Hanover (post 1) in the nine-horse field. After making their way around the first turn, Marloe Hanover and driver Andy Miller settled in on the lead with April Ava opting for the pocket and Wingding Hanover the three-hole.

For the second time in the last three weeks, Betalady, the 3-1 second choice, was left first-over and had to grind it out on the rim while inching closer to Marloe Hanover by the time they reached three-quarters, which was timed in an unspectacular 1:24.

Then, the entire look of the race changed.

Betalady went off stride, and in the process, took out the second-over Tango Dancer N, as well as the 6-5 favorite, Demeter N, who was in the flow third-up.

"I was at the right place at the right time when that horse broke and scattered the field," said Gingras.

Gingras and April Ava vacated the pocket as they swung into the stretch and needed every inch of the final three-sixteenths to record a nose victory over a stubborn Marloe Hanover. Wingding Hanover was third.

 

 

 

"I knew I had it at the wire," said Gingras. "The last 100 feet is not Marloe Hanover's strongest, but she kept on pacing. But mine was just a little bit better."

As the 7-1 fourth choice in the wagering, April Ava, a 5-year-old daughter of Delmarvalous-Jenava, returned $16.20 to win. She now has 16 wins from just 47 career starts and earnings of $135,806 for owners Burke Racing Stable and Weaver Bruscemi.

MUCH MORE THAN SO-SO: Driver Jim Foley blasted So So De Vie away from post 10 and led at every call in the $14,000 GSY Series Final on the pace for amateur drivers.

On a night where whipping winds were unkind to horses on the point, the 4-year-old gelded son of American Ideal-Place Your Best had little trouble going wire-to-wire in 1:55.3 for trainer Williams Hernandez.

Preppy Art (John Calabrese), who was seeking his third straight victory, finished second - three-quarters-of-a-length behind the winner - as the 3-1 second choice with 3-5 favorite Sugartown (Tony Beltrami) getting the show dough.

 

 

 

"I thought being up closer would be the best option," said Foley. "I thought about getting away maybe fourth or fifth and making a brush down the backside, but he got up on the front really easy and all I had to do was rate him. If you can rate him good, he'll give you all he's got."

As the 5-1 third choice in the betting, So So De Vie returned $13.60 to win.

A LITTLE MORE: Tim Tetrick, who will be the guest Saturday night on The Big M's pre-game show segment "In the Sulky" at 5:50 p.m., drove the winners of both ends of the late daily double, joining Dexter Dunn and Gingras as pilots with two victories on the card. ... Chubby Stallworth and Stacy Chiodo both had training doubles. ... All-source handle totaled $2,637,320. ... Racing resumes Saturday at 6:20 p.m.

For full race results, click here.

by Dave Little, for The Meadowlands

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