Sunday, January 23, 2022

Thus far in 2022, it’s been all Yannick Gingras, all the time at The Meadowlands.

The Hall of Fame bound pilot won six times on the Saturday night card at The Big M – including a victory in the feature with Covered Bridge – to up his driver-colony leading win total to 24. Joe Bongiorno is a distant second with 13.

Gingras has been remarkably consistent, winning at least three races on each of the six race cards conducted this year.

“It’s been horsepower,” said Gingras of his wicked start to the new year. “[Trainer] Ronnie [Burke] is racing a little more this [winter] than last year and the horses are in the right spot. I don’t feel any sharper, honestly. I don’t get too up or down. I feel good right now. It’s just the way the cards are rolling.”

For someone raised in Quebec, you’d think the cold wouldn’t bother him, but Gingras is not into it. “I don’t like the winter. I’m not a huge fan of the cold. But at The Meadowlands, they treat us right. We’re not out there too long. Things are good.”

Gingras scored with Force N Fury, who paid $11.00 in the third race; Rockapelo, $4.40 in the sixth; Twin B Tuffenuff, $7.60 in the eighth; Bettors Donttell, $11.60 in the 10th; National Sport, $7.20 in the 13th; and Covered Bridge, $8.40 in the 14th.

Remarkably, only one of “The Green Hornet’s” winners went off as the favorite.

In the featured $31,500 Preferred for pacers, Covered Bridge was coming into the race off a seventh-place finish a week ago at odds of 11-1 facing the same stock, but the betting public bet the sizzling pilot down to 3-1 and after following a live tow from Sonny Weaver N, rolled by in deep stretch to record a 1½-length win over My Pal Joe in a season’s-best equaling 1:49.

“Tonight, things worked out better than last week,” said Gingras. “This horse, he’s just a sweetheart. He does everything right. It didn’t surprise me how he kicked home. All you have to do is put him in the right spot.”

Sure, but having the hottest driver in the sport calling the shots didn’t hurt.

DOUBLE PICK-6 CARRYOVER: For a second straight race card, the 20-cent Pick-6 failed to yield a winning ticket, so when racing resumes, there will be a carryover of $14,033 up for grabs. Those who had five correct were paid $672.72.

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

A LITTLE MORE: Ron Burke trained four to victory lane – all were guided by Gingras – and sits atop the trainer standings with 11 victories. … Corey Callahan drove three winners on the card, including JL Cruze, who became the fastest trotter of 2022 when he stopped the clock in 1:52 while taking a non-winners of $14,000 as the 2-5 favorite. The lifetime earner of over $1.65 million is likely on his way back to the Preferred ranks. … All-source handle totaled $2,573,896. … Racing resumes Friday at 6:20 p.m.

PHOTO: Covered Bridge takes the Saturday night feature at The Meadowlands, giving driver Yannick Gingras six winners on the card. (Credit: Lisa Photo)