Saturday, January 22, 2022

Lovedbythemasses came into the featured $31,500 Preferred for trotters at The Meadowlands Friday night off a 47-day layoff, so driver Mark MacDonald wasn’t going to overdrive the Jeff Cullipher trainee.

“He was off for a month,” said MacDonald, “so we weren’t going to use him too much early.”

He didn’t need to.

With his only charted line since Dec. 4 a Big M qualifier on Jan. 15, Lovedbythemasses followed perfect cover before storming home to beat a solid field in 1:52.3.

Predictably, Dover Downs shippers Warrior One (who was sent off at odds of 2-1) and Crystal Fashion (5-2) left the gate quickly from posts six and five, respectively, in the seven-horse field and sat 1-2 to the half in :55.4.

Yonkers regular Hayek, the 2-1 favorite by just $800 in the wagering, popped out of the four-hole after the half and sprinted up after the leader while Lovedbythemasses picked up the livest of cover. Hayek continued his bid around the far turn and poked a head in front of Warrior One as they turned for home, and MacDonald patiently waited until mid-stretch to tip off cover before going on to score by 1½ lengths. Warrior One came back along the inside to out-game Hayek for second. Crystal Fashion finished sixth.

“He’s a nice horse to drive,” said MacDonald of Lovedbythemasses, whom he drove for the first time. “He was two fingers going to the gate. When I moved him out, he just trotted by. He felt like a winner the whole way through the stretch. I was pretty confident.”

A 5-year-old gelded son of Muscle Mass-Incredibility, Lovedbythemasses returned $19.00 to his backers as the 8-1 fourth choice in the betting. He’s now won 19 of 50 career starts and earned $314,779 for owners Pollack Racing and Jeff Cullipher.

A LITTLE MORE: Yannick Gingras continued his winning ways in the early stages of the Winter Meet, guiding four to victory lane. He’s won at least three races on all five race cards in 2022. … There were no winning tickets sold in the 20-cent Pick-6, creating a carryover of $3,943 for the next program. Those with five correct cashed in for $219.08. … One shrewd player took all the money in the 20-cent Survivor Pick-7 and walked away with $6,643. The sequence was anything but impossible to have as the winner’s odds were 5-2, 3-1, 5-2, 8-5, 5-2, 9-5 and 4-1. … All-source handle totaled $2,541,112. … Racing resumes Saturday at 6:20 p.m.