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KARL CRUSHES IN SEASONAL DEBUT AT BIG M

Sunday, May 12, 2024


Karl took his first step toward a possible Hambletonian trophy with an easy win in his first start of 2024 Saturday night at The Meadowlands, a 1:53.2 walk in the park in one of nine $30,000 divisions of the New Jersey Sire Stakes for 3-year-olds.

There were six Leg 1 splits for trotters and three Leg 2 dashes for pacers.

In the first of three colt and gelding trots, the son of Tactical Landing-Avalicious was unhurried in the early going by driver Yannick Gingras, sitting fourth past the quarter and half as Robinhood rolled by those stations in :28 and :57.3, respectively.

Gingras moved Karl to the outside at the half and with a burst of speed was less than a length behind Robinhood at three-quarters, which was timed in 1:26.2. By the time they made it to the top of the stretch, Karl was already clear by 2¾ lengths before extending that edge to 6¾ at the finish. Southwind Metric was second with Pick Pocket third.

“He sat in [the four-hole] well,” said Gingras. “He was on the bit a little, but comfortable. When I asked, he did what he does. He was ready to go. I wanted to race him from behind if I could but I could have done anything. I had my mind set on racing from behind. It’s really impressive the way he looked.”

Trained by Nancy Takter, who is looking for a second consecutive Hambletonian win after Tactical Approach’s score a year ago, Karl returned $2.10 to his backers as the 1-20 favorite. He now has 10 wins from just 11 lifetime starts, good for earnings of $1,056,977.

“I was very happy with Karl tonight,” said Takter. “He’s such a professional. Nothing fazes him. He hit the wheel on the race bike a couple of times in the last turn but stayed at it. A larger UFO race bike has already been ordered that will accommodate his large stride. He did everything right tonight and barely broke a sweat doing it.”

THE GREAT EIGHT: The other eight winners of the NJSS dashes were:

  • Race 2 – 3YOFT: French Champagne (Muscle Hill-French Café); winning time 1:54.2; driver Ake Svanstedt; trainer Svanstedt; paid $8.60 to win as the 3-1 third choice
  • Race 3 – 3YOCGT: Caballero (Tactical Landing-S J’s Minolta); 1:54.1; Trond Smedshammer; Smedshammer; $36.20 as the 17-1 fourth choice
  • Race 5 – 3YOCGT: Benny J (Walner-Anywhere With You); 1:53; Andy McCarthy; Tony Alagna; $3.60 as the 4-5 favorite
  • Race 6 – 3YOFT: Buy A Round (Walner-On Your Tab); 1:55.1; Andy McCarthy; Noel Daley; $3.20 as the 3-5 favorite
  • Race 7 – 3YOFT: Spy Coast (Walner-Zeppole); 1:53.3; Gingras; Ron Burke; $3 as the 1-2 favorite
  • Race 9 – 3YOCGP: Arbitrage Hanover (Bettor’s Wish-Ana Hanover); 1:51; Todd McCarthy; Brett Pelling; $7.40 as the 5-2 second choice
  • Race 10 – 3YOCGP: Endofstory (Lazarus N-Olivette Hanover); 1:50.4; Todd McCarthy; Doug Dilloian Jr.; $3.60 as the 4-5 favorite
  • Race 14 – 3YOFP: Odds On Steno (Bettor’s Wish-Odds On St Lucie); 1:50.4.; Andy McCarthy; Alagna; $2.20 as the 1-9 favorite

McCARTHY BROTHERS SUPER ON SATURDAYS: It was another big Saturday for the dynamic driving brother duo of Andy and Todd McCarthy, as one week after each recorded four Saturday scores, they combined for seven victories this time, with Andy taking four and Todd three.

Todd passed a major milestone by winning his 1,000th career race after guiding Endofstory to victory in the 10th race.

“It’s honestly been a dream come true,” said Todd. “It’s a pretty special moment for me. It’s hard to find one moment that stands out. I’ve had some nice horses. Winning the [2022] Hambletonian [with Cool Papa Bell] was surreal.”

A LITTLE MORE: Showing no ill effects of the foot injury that kept him sidelined for two months, Oakwood Ardan IR returned to the races with a sparkling 1:49 lifetime-best effort in the second leg of the TrackMaster Series for horses with a rating of 89.5 or less. “I was confident as he qualified really well last week,” said trainer Robert Cleary. … Coaches Corner displayed explosive late pace to take the overnight feature, the $31,500 Open Handicap for pacers, in a lifetime-best 1:49.3. “We were a little concerned with his three-week layoff,” said driver Jason Bartlett. “But he showed he can go with the caliber horses they have here.” … Betting was predictably brisk, as $3,490,240 was pushed through the windows on the 14-race card. … Racing resumes Friday at 6:20 p.m.

PHOTO: Karl and driver Yannick Gingras won a division of the New Jersey Sire Stakes for 3-year-old colt and gelding trotters Saturday night at The Meadowlands in the early Hambletonian favorite’s 2024 debut. (Credit: Lisa Photo)