Concert @ MetLife Stadium 5/17 & 5/18. Please allow for extra travel time.


Sunday, April 7, 2024

In an interview done earlier in the evening, driver Jason Bartlett said he was confident in his chances with Admiral Hill in the Saturday feature at The Meadowlands, a $27,500 winners-over pace.

But even Bartlett must have been surprised at how well his horse would do, given that this was his first start of the year while facing a tough bunch of older competitors.

Shrugging off having to rough it first-over for the final half-mile, Admiral Hill, a 4-year-old gelded son of Sweet Lou-Laura Hill, powered past his foes with ease, winning for fun in 1:50.

“He’s like driving a race car,” said Bartlett after the race. “We are expecting a lot of big things from him this year.”

In the early going, it was Big Skewy N, an Australian invader who was a good fourth in his North American debut a week ago in Red Right Hand’s 1:49.1 mile, making the lead in :27 at the quarter as Rockin On Venus settled into the pocket with Admiral Hill third.

Big Skewy N reached the half in :55.1, and that’s when Bartlett made a decision that would turn into a walk down victory lane. With Maximus Miki gaining from first-over on the rim, Bartlett opted to move off the rail and race in front of that sharp Dover Downs shipper.

“I thought there would be more action early,” said Bartlett. “I wanted to get [Maximus Miki] in front of me. I didn’t want to move too early but waited long enough when I did. I just wanted my horse to be pacing hard at the wire.”

Admiral Hill moved swiftly after Big Skewy N, and was just a length behind that one at three-quarters (timed in 1:23.2) before quickly moving to the lead at the head of the stretch. He then powered clear of the field in what was nothing short of a sparkling performance.

At the finish, it was 1¾ lengths back to 3-1 second choice Maximus Miki with 7-2 third choice Big Skewy N third.

“I called on him and he was gone in the stretch,” said Bartlett. “I never pulled the plugs.”

Owned by Morrison Racing Stables and trained by Per Engblom, Admiral Hill returned $3.80 as the 4-5 public choice while notching his 10th career win from just 27 starts, upping his earnings to $297,008.

CARRY ON: A pair of carryovers will await multi-leg wager lovers on Friday.

The 20-cent Pick-8, offered on races four through 11, will begin with a carryover of $2,873. Those with six correct selections collected $86.78.

Those with five winners in the 20-cent Pick-6, which is available on races eight through 13, cashed in for $35.60, and many of those players will no doubt be involved next week when the wager starts out with $8,332 in the hat.

NOT YOUR AVERAGE JOE: With a big score in the last race, Joe Bohnarczyk walked away with the $2,000 grand prize after winning the track’s $5,000 live-money handicapping contest.

Those finishing in the top five cashed.

Bohnarczyk saved his best for last, connecting in the 14th dash with a $6 win ticket on Ferragamo Hanover (who paid $30.60) and a $10 exacta 1-2 ($211.20). His final bankroll was $1,147.80.

A LITTLE MORE: Tim Tetrick and Yannick Gingras led the driver colony with three wins apiece. … It only took four winning selections for one shrewd 20-cent Survivor Pick-7 player to cash in for a healthy $8,365.62. The third leg of the sequence was won by a 36-1 shot. Of the other six winners, the longest price was 9-2. … All-source handle totaled $3,222,120 on the 14-race card, the 23rd time that betting has surpassed the $3-million mark from 27 programs this year. … Racing resumes Friday at 6:20 p.m.

PHOTO: Admiral Hill and driver Jason Bartlett won the Saturday night feature at The Meadowlands. (Credit: Lisa Photo)