Concert @ MetLife Stadium 5/17 & 5/18. Please allow for extra travel time.


Sunday, May 5, 2024

As the New Jersey Sire Stakes season kicked off Saturday night at The Meadowlands, it was Todd McCarthy who had the right stuff, as the 31-year-old native Australian won four races on the card, including both $30,000 divisions of the first leg of the NJSS for 3-year-old colt and gelding pacers.

The ‘Hot Toddy’ scored in the first dash with the Brett Pelling-trained Arbitrage Hanover, as the product of Bettor’s Wish-Ana Hanover stopped the clock in a lifetime-best 1:51.4.

Arbitrage Hanover sat the pocket to the quarter behind Alritealritealrite in :27.2 before moving to the top and making it to the half in :56.4 and three-quarters in 1:25.3. A final panel of :26.1 was more than enough to hold off the late-charging 3-5 favorite Better Is Nice, who sat a four-hole to the five-eighths and closed willingly first-over to miss a length.

“I was pretty comfortable with the way he raced at [Harrah’s Philadelphia, when he won on April 28],” said McCarthy. “I was happy to cut it out on the front end. It kind of worked out. He got a little off balance there in the stretch but I kicked his plugs and he swelled right up again.”

As the 5-2 second choice, Arbitrage Hanover paid $7.60 to win.

McCarthy pulled off an upset in the other division, guiding 34-1 longshot Endofstory to victory lane in a lifetime-best 1:51.1.

After an alert getaway from post eight, McCarthy was able to wedge the gelded son of Lazarus N-Olivette Hanover into a three-hole as Ain’t Nostopn Time cut out fractions of :26.3, :56.2 and 1:24.3.

The pocket-sitting Royal Desire roared out of the pocket on the far turn to go after the leader, providing live cover for Endofstory, who swerved to the center of the track late and sprinted under the wire 2¼ lengths in front of Royal Desire.

“I did not know a lot about him,” said McCarthy of the Doug Dilloian Jr. trainee he was handling for the first time. “His lines looked pretty good and he stepped out of there nice and we were lucky to squeeze into the hole there. Down the backside, I was hoping we had enough gas at the end and was hoping we would shake loose. He responded to me well down by the wire and finished up pretty well.”

Endofstory returned $71.40 to his backers as the fourth choice.

FABULOUS FEMALES: In the $40,000 first leg of the Miss Versatility for open mare trotters, the 4-year-old Call Me Goo ($6.60 to win as the 2-1 third choice) held off a late-charging Tipsy Moni by a nose in 1:52.3. The daughter of Googoo Gaagaa-Callmemza, who was driven by Tim Tetrick, upped her lifetime record to 18 wins from just 25 starts for trainer Jason Skinner, and upped her bankroll to just under $450,000.

In the $30,000 NJSS dash for 3-year-old pacing fillies, Odds On Steno ($3.60 as the 4-5 public choice) made her seasonal debut a winning one for trainer Tony Alagna and driver Andy McCarthy in a lifetime-best-equaling 1:52.2. The daughter of Bettor’s Wish-Odds On St Lucie upped her record to five wins from 12 starts, good for earnings of almost $150,000.

HELLUVA HANDLE: All-source wagering on the 14-race program reached $3,870,638, a 2024 Meadowlands best. The previous high of $3,779,096 was established on Jan. 27.

There have been 35 programs conducted at The Big M this year, with 29 of those seeing action exceed the $3-million mark.

A LITTLE MORE: Refusing to be outdone by his little brother, Andy McCarthy also won four races on the night, including a sweep of the Late Pick-3 (races 12 through 14), which returned $107.70 for a $1 bet. … Battlefield ($16 to win) and Mac’s Delight ($4.20) won the 11th and 12th races, respectively, in 1:48.4. The time is the fastest of the year at The Meadowlands and tied for the fastest of 2024 in the sport. The only other horse to go that fast was Artatac A, who turned the track at Miami Valley on March 14. … Racing resumes Friday at 6:20 p.m.

PHOTO: Arbitrage Hanover and driver Todd McCarthy won the first division of the New Jersey Sire Stakes for 3-year-old male pacers at The Meadowlands Saturday night. (Credit: Lisa Photo)