Sunday, March 13, 2022

Lovedbythemasses stayed perfect in three 2022 starts by displaying an explosive burst of stretch speed to take the Saturday night feature at The Meadowlands, the $37,500 Preferred for trotters.

The 5-year-old gelded son of Muscle Mass-Incredibility was unhurried early, opting to sit last in the field of six (there was one scratch) as Yanks Dugout, who won the feature eight days ago in super-game fashion, was cutting out the action on the point in :29.1 and :57.3 on a terribly cold and windy night in Northern New Jersey.

JL Cruze proved to be a big player in the race, as he was the first to pull approaching five-eighths, providing a live tow for Lovedbythemasses. JL Cruze was up to challenge Yanks Dugout at three-quarters, which was reached in 1:26.3, but driver Tim Tetrick knew what he had after going a perfect second-over trip.

“I loved my spot, for sure,” said Tetrick. “[Lovedbythemasses] had been off for 3½ weeks and you don’t want to work hard to get the lead if you have a horse who can win from the back. I didn’t think I could lose given how good he was at Dover [when he won coming from far back on Feb. 15].”

Tetrick swung the eventual winner three-wide as they straightened up in the stretch and powered past the field with ease to win by 1½ lengths in 1:55.1 on a night when the wind chill had the real-feel temperature at 11 degrees. Yanks Dugout was a game second while Angel Nation was third.

“He’s always been a nice horse,” said Tetrick. “He’s really matured. He had feet trouble last year but so far that’s been good. He’s just playing with them right now. He’s proven he can win from off the pace, and if you protect a horse like that, they will last a lot longer. I wasn’t worried at all that he was off a layoff tonight because when he won at Dover, he’d been off for three weeks then, too. He’s staked to a lot of the major trotting events this year.”

Lovedbythemasses, trained by Jeff Cullipher and owned by Pollack Racing and Cullipher, returned $3.40 as the 3-5 public choice. He’s now won 21 of 52 career starts and earned $346,029.

HUGE PICK-5 POOL: Starting out with a carryover of $43,342 helped the 20-cent Pick-5 blossom into a giant total pool of $312,283, but after the second choice took the first race, four favorites followed, meaning that many race fans cashed in for the payoff of $44.32.

WHAT’S YOUR HANDLE? Betting fell just short of reaching the $3-million mark for a fourth time in five cards when $2,954,026 was put in play on the 13 races. Wagering topped $6 million for a second consecutive weekend.

A LITTLE MORE: The Dynamic Duo of driver Yannick Gingras and trainer Ron Burke were up to their usual tricks, winning three times on the program. Gingras has now won at least once on all 17 Big M race cards conducted in 2022. … Numbers players had a ball in the 12th race as Austin Siegelman guided 20-1 chance Bargain Shopper to victory, while 74-1 shot Fourboltmane was second with 7-1 War Dan Delight N third. The Trifecta returned $20,190.80. … Racing resumes Friday at 6:20 p.m.

PHOTO: Lovedbythemasses storms past the field in the stretch to take the Saturday night feature at The Meadowlands. Tim Tetrick was in the bike. (Credit: Lisa Photo)