Saturday, March 25, 2023

A new acquisition from the potent team of owner Tom Pollack and trainer Jeff Cullipher made it to the winner’s circle Friday night at The Meadowlands.

Making his second Big M start (after finishing fourth in his debut one week ago), Betterinpinehurst came from well off the pace to score in the feature, a $20,000 high-end conditioned trot, and in doing so, lowered his previous lifetime best by two-and-two-fifth seconds, stopping the clock in 1:53.3.

“(Last week) It was his first start in over a month for a new barn,” said winning driver Tim Tetrick, “so I just took him off and he responded well. It paid off today because he trotted home very strong.”

Well back in the early going, Betterinpinehurst picked up live cover down the backstretch and raced third-over as 2-1 second choice Dreamonhigh cut out fractions on the point of :27.2, :56.3 and 1:24.3.

Betterinpinehurst swung wide off his live tow for the stretch drive and trotted home in :27.4 to record a neck win over 25-1 longshot Champagne Hanover, who was also closing well inside the eventual winner. Pocket-sitting A New Leader, seeking his fourth win in seven starts, had a big shot along the inside, but had to settle for third.

“Maybe I should have been a little closer,” said Tetrick, “but he got the job done. My horse really made up a lot of ground.”

A 4-year-old gelded son of Better Caviar-Sheer Delight, Bettrinpinehurst returned $5.80 as the 9-5 favorite. He’s now won six-of-24 lifetime outings, good for earnings of $63,301.

“We got him four weeks ago or so,” said Cullipher. “Tom Pollack knows (former trainer) Dave Wade (who had the horse at The Meadows), so it was a private sale. We are going to play it by ear with him. He’s not an open stock kind of horse, but he should do well in the high-end conditioned races.”

CARRYOVERS GALORE: For the first time in 2023, there were no winning tickets sold on the 20-cent Pick-5, setting up a carryover of $47,294 for the next edition of the wager, which is Saturday’s first race. Those who had four correct collected $140.14.

If the projected $125,000 in “new money” is poured into the pot, that would create a total pool of approximately $175,000.

There were also no winning tickets sold on the 20-cent Pick-6, so that bet will begin with a carryover of $6,136 for Saturday’s eighth race. Those who had five correct on their tickets cashed in for $124.88.

Free past performances for every race of every Meadowlands card are available by going to

22 STRAIGHT: All-source betting totaled $3,272,187, keeping The Big M’s streak of surpassing the magic $3-million mark intact.

There have been 22 Friday and Saturday night programs conducted during 2023 and every one has seen wagering exceed $3 million.

During 2022, betting went past the $3-million mark 23 times during the 85-program season.

A LITTLE MORE: Dave Miller led the driver colony with three victories on the night. … Marcus Miller, Tim Tetrick and Andy Miller all recorded driving doubles. … Maria Alvarez and Cullipher both trained a pair to victory lane. … Only three favorites hit the wire first on the 14-race card, helping to create the two carryovers. … Racing resumes Saturday at 6:20 p.m.

PHOTO: Betterinpinehurst takes the Friday night feature at The Meadowlands with Tim Tetrick doing the driving. (Credit: Lisa Photo)