Sunday, February 20, 2022

Does American History love racing at The Meadowlands? Just take a look at the past.

The 7-year-old from the Tony Alagna barn muscled up to the top just after the three-eighths and took care of business from there, winning the Saturday night feature at The Big M, a $25,000 high-end conditioned pace in 1:50.3, on a chilly night when the real feel temperature was 11 degrees accompanied by severe winds.

“It was very cold out there,” said winning driver Todd McCarthy, who will collect the 2021 United States Harness Writers Association’s Rising Star Award Sunday (Feb. 20) night at the Dan Patch Awards banquet in Orlando, Fla. “That headwind was one of the strongest I’ve felt here in a while. For him to go that mile into that wind was a humongous effort.”

This was far from the first time the son of American Ideal-Perfect Touch had excelled in overnight races at the mile oval. As a 3-year-old, he won in a lifetime-best 1:47 (on June 29, 2018). At 5, he scored in 1:47.1 (Aug. 1, 2020), and at 6, he stopped the clock in 1:47.2 (May 15, 2021).

Saturday’s frigid conditions weren’t going to allow a rock-the-clock effort like those, but the Brad Grant-owned veteran naturally went the fastest mile of the 13 contested, one-and-one-fifth seconds faster than the second-fastest dash of the night.

Leaving from post two in the nine-horse field, McCarthy let Tito Rocks and Put To Right duke it out through an opening quarter of :27.2 while settling in third. Soon thereafter, McCarthy moved American History to the top, grabbing the point just after the three-eighths before reaching the half in :55.1.

“I didn’t want to have to [go to the lead] so soon,” said McCarthy. “But once he got there, he wanted to go on with it.”

Dean B Hanover was now in motion first-over and put up a stiff fight around the far turn while continuing to gain as they straightened up for the stretch drive. But ‘History’, the 2018 Tattersalls winner, was up to the task at hand, digging in gamely to the wire to record a safe half-length win. Dean B Hanover was a superb second. Tito Rocks finished third.

“I expected him to tire in the stretch,” said McCarthy of American History. “But he was really brave. He did see [Dean B Hanover] coming but we were still a fair distance from the wire and I didn’t want to ask him too early. But when he saw that horse coming, he knuckled down.”

American History, the 2019 Breeders Crown champion, returned $5.60 to his backers as the 9-5 favorite while winning for the 27th time from 77 lifetime outings. His career bankroll now stands at a gawdy $1,276,649.

A LITTLE MORE: Joe Bongiorno (3), Corey Callahan (3), Yannick Gingras (2), McCarthy (2) and Andy Miller (2) combined to win 12 of the 13 races on the card. The only pilot to record a single victory was Jason Bartlett. … Gingras kept his streak alive of winning at least twice on all 12 programs conducted in 2022. … Dylan Davis and Jenn Bongiorno each trained a pair to victory lane. … All-source wagering totaled $2,743,342, to complete a weekend where total action was $5.67 million, a Big M 2022 best. … Racing resumes Friday at 6:20 p.m.

PHOTO: American History and driver Todd McCarthy hold sway to the wire to take the Saturday night feature at The Meadowlands. (Credit: Lisa Photo)