Saturday, July 15, 2023

The added eighth of a mile made a difference on Saturday night (July 15) in the $410,250 E.T. Gerry Jr. Hambletonian Maturity at The Meadowlands, as M-M’s Dream and driver David Miller needed every inch of the 1-1/8-mile distance to track down heavily favored Jiggy Jog S and end her 11-race win streak on the wire to capture the event for 4-year-olds.

With a longer drive to the first turn, Miller left with purpose from post 9 but didn’t press the issue in the opening eighth of a mile as Raised By Lindy and Yannick Gingras and Looks Like Moni and Scott Zeron took early control of the race.

Looks Like Moni had the lead into the first turn and passed the quarter in :26.3 with Raised By Lindy on his back. M-M’s Dream and Miller continued parked and needed three-eighths of a mile before clearing to the front with the favorite Jiggy Jog S on her back. Miller was content to yield to Dunn with Jiggy Jog S, who crossed over and hit the half in a respectable :55.4 clocking.

An outer flow developed on the far turn, though Pretender and Andrew McCarthy were mostly on the offensive as Cool Papa Bell struggled to keep with cover, impacting Justice in the outer flow.

Following a soft three quarters of 1:24.3, Dexter Dunn and Jiggy Jog S began a solid sprint and opened ground not only on M-M’s Dream but the entire outer tier and appeared to turn it into a one-mare race. Miller kept M-M’s Dream in hailing distance as Jiggy Jog S flashed a huge :26.2 fourth quarter and looked to have the race sewn. That final eighth proved the tipping point and Jiggy Jog S struggled to maintain her advantage as a persistent M-M’s Dream kept shortening her lead. In the final strides, the Ron Burke-trained M-M’s Dream prevailed by a neck in a clocking of 2:04.3 for the 1-1/8-mile distance, just two-fifths off the world record. Raised By Lindy rallied for third with Looks Like Moni and Justice completing the top five finishers.

“This is a special mare. She gives me Hannelore Hanover vibes,” said Ron Burke, her trainer, following the victory.

Owned by Eleven Star Stables, Frank Baldachino and Hillside Stables, M-M’s Dream became harness racing’s newest millionaire with $1,014,605 now in her coffers from 27 starts, with 22 wins now on the card of the 2022 Indiana Trotter of the Year.

“A lot of credit goes to Henry Graber Jr. for breaking her and training her in Indiana,” said co-owner Baldachino.

Off at 12-1, M-M’s Dream returned $26.60 to win.