Sunday, March 20, 2022

In what was nothing short of a completely dominant performance, the Jeff Cullipher-trained Lovedbythemasses took his second straight Saturday night feature at The Meadowlands, the $34,500 Preferred Handicap for trotters.

After rolling by the field from last a week ago as the 3-5 public choice, driver Tim Tetrick kept the 5-year-old gelded son of Muscle Mass-Incredibility closer to the action this time around, leaving the gate from post six in the seven-horse field and grabbing a spot before vacating the four-hole just before the half-mile mark and powering past a defenseless Warrior One to grab the lead.

The 1-5 favorite lived up to that prohibitive promise after sailing past three-quarters in 1:24 to open up a 3-length edge before sprinting home in :27.1 to complete a 1:51.1 mile over a rain-soaked, sloppy track. It was four lengths back to Yanks Dugout, who nudged past Warrior One late to grab the place spot.

“He really started to get good at the end of last summer,” said Cullipher, whose three winners led the trainer colony on the card. “He won an invite on Hambletonian Day and we thought he could continue to get better. He’s come back super sharp after a break and we have him staked to all of the major aged trotting races in the U.S. this year.”

Lovedbythemasses returned $2.40 to his backers, and in winning for the fourth time in as many 2022 starts, lifted his lifetime numbers to 22 victories from just 53 starts, good for earnings of $363,279 for owners Pollack Racing and Cullipher.

A LITTLE MORE: Dexter Dunn led the driver colony by recording three winners on the night. … Big M leading pilot Yannick Gingras had a driving double and has now won at least once on all 19 programs in 2022. … There were no winning tickets sold in the 20-cent Pick-6, creating a carryover of $8,335 for the next card. Those with five correct cashed in for $59.92. … All-source wagering totaled $2,892,273. … Racing resumes Friday at 6:20 p.m.

PHOTO: Lovedbythemasses and driver Tim Tetrick are clear of the field at the finish of the Saturday night feature at The Meadowlands. (Credit: Lisa Photo)