Sunday, October 22, 2023

Racing returned to The Meadowlands on a rainy Friday night after a five-week hiatus with seven $20,000 leg-four divisions of the Crawford Farms Kindergarten Series for 2-year-olds of each sex and gait, and in the lone dash for pacing fillies, it was the Linda Toscano-trained Sarasota Hanover winning in impressive fashion.

“She was unbelievable with 11 of them in there,” said winning driver Marcus Miller. “I was trying to limit my traffic trouble as much as I could and she was very, very strong.”

Sarasota Hanover avoided any possible logjams blasting away from the gate and led at the quarter while parked in a snappy :26.4 over a track rated ‘sloppy’. Miller was then able to work out a pocket trip after Sea Shanty Hanover made it to the top, reaching the half in :54.3 before taking bitter pressure from Miraculous Deo while clinging to a narrow advantage at three-quarters in 1:23.1.

That set things up perfectly for Sarasota Hanover, who swerved into the three-path mid-stretch before powering clear to a 1-length win in a lifetime-best 1:50.3. Tarrific was a fast-closing second with Miraculous Deo holding third.

“She had a lot of go (in the stretch),” said Miller. “That was a big mile in the mud. The track is very good tonight despite the rain. She was well within herself. She’ll be fun to watch the rest of the year and next year.”

Sarasota Hanover, a daughter of Stay Hungry-Surfside Sexy, upped her lifetime stats to four wins in nine tries, good for earnings of $81,695 for owners Jablonsky Held Stable, Camelot Stable Inc., John Fodera and South Mountain Stables. As the 2-1 public choice, she returned $6.20 to win.

In the first of two colt and gelding trots, Mosquito (Muscle Hill-Amour Heiress) scored for driver Jordan Stratton and trainer Lucas Wallin in a lifetime-best 1:55.1 as the 9-5 second choice before Corey Callahan and Tony Alagna clicked in the other dash in 1:54.4 with Winter Soldier (Face Time Bourbon-Jumalay Mass) as the 6-5 public choice.

Honey’s Sweet (Chapter Seven-Corazon Blue Chip) took the first of a pair of filly trots in 1:55 as the 7-5 favorite for Callahan and Alagna before Paulina Hanover (Father Patrick-Personal Style) scored in a lifetime-best 1:53.3 for Johnathan Ahle and Noel Daley as the 2-1 favorite.

There were two colt and gelding paces, with the first going to 27-1 longshot Copperfield (Betting Line-American Charm) for Braxten Boyd and Ron Burke in a lifetime-best 1:53 and the other to Courtship (Betting Line-Midnight Romance), who was an ultra-impressive winner in a lifetime-best 1:51.3 for Matt Kakaley and Travis Alexander as the even-money chalk.

The Kindergarten’s fifth and final leg will take place Friday, Oct. 27 before the four finals – with total purses estimated at $850,000 – are contested on Saturday, Nov. 4.

EIGHT FOR LITTLE, BIG HIT FOR OTTEN: It was a good night for the on-camera TV talent team of Dave Little and Jessica Otten.

Little tabbed eight winners on top, including the early double, two exactas, his value play and best bet.

Otten’s followers hit big in the Early Pick-4, cashing in for $691.30 after Otten’s $1 ticket, which cost $36, yielded a profit of $655.30.

A LITTLE MORE: Corey Callahan led the driver colony with three winners. … The debut of the 20-cent Pick-8 resulted in a carryover of $1,288. Those with six correct selections collected $22.60. … There were no winning tickets sold on the 20-cent Late Hi-5, resulting in a $9,000.77 carryover, which will be offered on Saturday’s 11th race. … All-source handle on the 14-race card was $2,031,559. … Racing resumes Saturday at 6:20 p.m.

PHOTO: Sarasota Hanover and driver Marcus Miller take the lone 2-year-old pacing filly Crawford Farms Kindergarten Series division Friday night at The Meadowlands. (Credit: Lisa Photo)