Sunday, February 5, 2023

Lochinvar Art A came to town with a sparkling resume from his native Australia, and the 8-year-old lived up to his lifetime bankroll of $1 million by taking the Saturday night co-feature at The Meadowlands, a $27,500 winners-over $10,500 for pacers.

The son of Modern Art-Ponder In Paris was away well in the early going, setting up shop behind the blazing speedball Crunch Time A, who reached the half in :52.4 in his most recent outing before finishing seventh. After less-than-spectacular early fractions of :27.1 and :55.3, driver Lauren Tritton moved the multiple Gr. 1 stakes-winner from Down Under.

“I wanted to be a little aggressive at the start,” said Tritton, who made it to the Big M winner’s circle for the first time in her driving career. “Obviously, Crunch Time, he came across (and got the lead). I moved a little earlier than I would have liked.”

It turned out to be the right move, as Lochinvar Art A was out and after the leader deuce-popping just after the half. At three-quarters, ‘Artie’ was moving well and hit three-quarters in 1:24 before getting clear by a length-and-a-half at the head of the stretch.

“I could feel him getting a little leg weary (in the stretch),” said Tritton of her horse, who is being pointed toward the MGM Borgata Series at Yonkers, which kicks off on March 20. “He was tired, but had enough class to win. This is just unbelievable.”

Lochinvar Art A, who is trained by Tritton’s husband, Shane, hit the wire in 1:50.1, a neck in front of the fast-closing 3-5 favorite Burnham Boy N, and now has 29 wins from just 57 lifetime starts. He paid $12.40 to win as the third choice in the field of six. Nicholas Beach was third.

DON’T FENCE ME IN SCORES: In a wild finish, Don’t Fence Me In got up on the wire in the co-featured $27,500 winners-over $10,500 for pacing fillies and mares.

After sitting a three-hole trip to the top of the stretch, driver Scott Zeron swerved the Tony Alagna trainee to the outside and bested second-place finisher Always B First by a neck in 1:51.1.

“We were begging for some space and when we found room, she had enough,” said Zeron. “This was a tough bunch to beat.”

Don’t Fence Me In returned $13.80 as the fourth choice in the wagering.

NINE IS FINE: The Meadowlands’ streak of betting over $3 million on every Friday and Saturday night is alive and well, as $3,354,157 was pushed through the windows on the 14-race card.

There have been nine programs during 2023 contested on Friday and Saturday, and each one has seen betting bust the $3-million barrier.

A LITTLE MORE: Jordan Stratton continued to impress during the Big M winter meeting, winning four races on the card. Since Friday’s races were canceled due to extreme cold, the 35-year-old Yonkers regular is the odds-on favorite to take down a second straight Driver of the Week honor. … Driver Yannick Gingras and trainer Ron Burke had another big night, as usual, teaming up to win three times on the program. … Racing resumes Friday at 6:20 p.m.

PHOTO: Lochinvar Art A (inside, No. 4) takes the Saturday night co-feature at The Meadowlands with Lauren Tritton in the bike. (Credit: Lisa Photo)