Sunday, September 3, 2023

There’s no question that Ucandoit Blue Chip loves racing at The Meadowlands. The Linda Toscano trainee is seven-for-12 lifetime at The Big M and is a two-time New Jersey Sire Stakes champion at the mile oval.

The daughter of Keystone Velocity-Molly Can Do It will look to add a New Jersey Classic trophy over her fireplace in the $150,000 (est.) final next week, and appears ready to do just that after taking the lone NJC elimination for 3-year-old filly pacers Saturday night.

“I was really happy with her,” said Toscano. “She’s as consistent as they come, that’s what you have to love about her. I passed on the bye, so by winning we would get a good post (for the final).”

Driver Scott Zeron had Ucandoit Blue Chip in the three-hole early on, vacated the rail at the five-eighths to go after leader Beltara, collared that one at the head of the lane before surging clear in mid-stretch. Odds On Cinamon, the 2-1 second choice, picked up live cover from the eventual winner around the far turn and was closing ground late, but came up a neck short in a mile that went in 1:50.2.

“The (New Jersey Classic) series is phenomenal,” said Toscano. “Everything about it has been great for the horsemen. It’s basically what the appropriation money was supposed to do. Our trotting sires, you can’t get much stronger. What was lacking was the pacing side and with Perfect Sting and other sires on the way, we are moving in the right direction.”

As the 4-5 favorite, Ucandoit Blue Chip returned $3.60 to win while increasing her lifetime earnings to just over $380,000.

In the only NJC elim for pacing 3-year-old colts and geldings, Stay Grounded came from off the pace to win for the fourth time in his last six starts, hitting the wire a head in front of 28-1 longshot Gallie Getaway. The Noel Daley trainee, a son of Stay Hungry-Radar Contact, was driven by Johnathan Ahle to the 1:50.4 win and paid $8.80 as the third choice in the wagering.

“He’s a little quirky,” said Ahle of Stay Grounded. “But second-over worked out fine. He had plenty in the tank.”

A LITTLE MORE: The four-card “Mini Meet” concludes next weekend with eight NJC finals on tap with purses totaling $1.7 million (est.). … All-source wagering on the 14-race card totaled $2,323,871. … The NJC finals will be featured live on Fox Sports 1 Friday night at 9 p.m. Big M TV’s Jessica Otten will provide the commentary. … Gabe Prewitt gave out both Pick-4s to his #Senditin Army faithful Friday and followed that up with a $452 Early Pick-4 Saturday. … Racing resumes Friday at 6:20 p.m.

PHOTO: Ucandoit Blue Chip and driver Scott Zeron win the New Jersey Classic elimination for 3-year-old pacing fillies at The Meadowlands Saturday night. (Credit: Lisa Photo)