Saturday, March 26, 2022

What a way to break in!

Nicklas Korfitsen, a 22-year-old native of Denmark, made his first start in the U.S. a winning one Friday night at The Meadowlands, guiding Epos Ostervang DK to a wire-to-wire score in a TrackMaster (Rating 77 or less) pace.

Not surprisingly, Korfitsen experienced some butterflies immediately before his first-ever start at the No. 1 harness facility in the world.

“Going to the gate, I was not nervous,” said Korfitsen. “But in the few minutes before, I was feeling it in my stomach.”

Korfitsen had Epos Ostervang DK on the go in the early stages in the eight-horse field (there was one scratch) from the outermost post and hit the quarter in :28.3 with 3-2 favorite P L Oscar right behind him in the two-hole.

The 6-year-old gelded son of Wishing Stone-Luna Ostervang was then permitted to rate the middle half in a tepid :59.1, leaving just enough octane to hit the wire a head in front of a late-closing P L Oscar in 1:57.2. Trents A Lock was third.

Korfitsen won the 2020 edition of the Knutsson Rising Star Cup series for young drivers in Sweden, to earn the trip to the States. Tristan Sjoberg sponsors the series.

Epos Ostervang DK returned $5.80 to win as the 9-5 second choice in the wagering. The Per Engblom trainee is owned by the Engblom Stable and Kasper Forget and has now won seven times from 42 lifetime starts.

“It was fun,” said Korfitsen. “Kasper is a good friend of mine. It was nice to come over here and drive at The Meadowlands.”

THE STREAK LIVES: When Yannick Gingras guided Siri Blue Chip to a wire-to-wire score in the eighth race, it kept the 42-year-old Hall of Fame-bound pilot’s streak alive of winning at least once on all 20 race cards conducted in 2022 at The Big M.

GETTIN’ RICH WITH THE PICK-6: One shrewd player had him or herself a big night, when a carryover of $8,335 led to a total pool of $41,881 in the 20-cent Pick-6. After Dexter Dunn guided 32-1 chance Big Rich to victory in the 13th race, the lone winning Pick-6 ticket was worth $36,849.14.

A LITTLE MORE: Tony Verruso has been the leading driver by far this year in the GSY Amateur Driving Club, but he scored at odds of 45-1 nonetheless with Vintage Gal in the fifth race, keying a big 20-cent Pick-5 payout of $2,883.60. The Trifecta returned $14,067.40. … Dexter Dunn had a driving triple, which included a sweep of the Late Double ($170.60). … Ron Burke and Brandon Mongiello each trained a pair to victory lane. … All-source handle totaled $2,691,288. … Racing resumes Saturday at 6:20 p.m.

PHOTO 1: Epos Ostervang DK scores at The Meadowlands Friday night to give driver Nicklas Korfitsen a victory in his first-ever drive in the U.S. (Credit: Lisa Photo)