Sunday, June 25, 2023

On a thrilling summer night of racing at The Meadowlands, Mad Max Hanover and I Did It Myway put a big jolt of electricity into the third and final leg of the Graduate Series for 4-year-old pacers as both won in high-voltage style Saturday night.

In the first of the two $50,000 splits, Mad Max Hanover took on Stonebridge Helios, who went to the gate as the 2-5 favorite after stopping the clock in a Big M season’s-best 1:47 in leg two one week ago.

Mad Max Hanover brushed to the lead at the half (after sitting fourth to quarter) in :54 as Stonebridge Helios followed that live tow. “I made a brave move,” said winning driver Tim Tetrick. “If (Stonebridge Helios) followed me, great, if not, whatever.”

Whatever must have meant he wasn’t in a yielding frame of mind, as the two battled nose-to-nose around the far turn and past three-quarters in 1:21.2. Stonebridge Helios battled his way to the top as they hit the top of the stretch and appeared to be on his way to victory, but inside the sixteenth pole, ‘Max’ found more and gunned down his tiring foe in a lifetime-best equaling 1:47.4 by three-quarters-of-a-length. Taurasi was third.

“My horse is tough,” said Tetrick of the Jake Leamon trainee. “If he could have left the gate like this last year, he would have made a million dollars. He’s still learning how to leave the gate. He’s improving with age. He was beat halfway down the lane but I kept grabbing him and yelling at him. I can’t give my horse enough praise.”

Mad Max Hanover returned $7.80 to win as the 5-2 second choice in the betting. The gelded son of Always B Miki-Mayhem Seelster now has eight wins from 36 lifetime outings, good for earnings of $717,163.

I Did It Myway, one week after finishing third (placed second) to Mad Max Hanover as the 3-5 favorite, made amends for that defeat with a lifetime-best 1:47.3 effort in the second Graduate pacing split.

“(Last week) I wasn’t disappointed in my horse, I was more disappointed in my drive,” said winning driver Andy McCarthy. “In the middle of the first turn, I said ‘uh-oh’ because I was too far back. I got him out of there a bit better tonight.”

I Did It Myway and 6-5 favorite Dreamfair Arnie B were up front early to no one’s surprise, as the fractions put up were :27 with I Did It Myway on the point, before Dreamfair Arnie B took over, hitting the half in :53.4 and three-quarters in 1:20.4.

With about an eighth of a mile to go, McCarthy moved I Did It Myway out of the pocket and collared his rival rather easily nearing the wire on the way to a neck win. Night Hawk was third.

“He’s very versatile,” said McCarthy. “With the fractions they go here you have to be close. Once you move him over (out of the pocket), he always digs in.”

I Did It Myway, a son of Captaintreacherous-Flyme To The Moon who is trained by Tony Alagna, returned $5.60 as the 9-5 second choice. He’s now won 16-of-36 lifetime outings and earned $1,069,903.

TWO FOR TAKTER: Nancy Takter’s barn, with 17 wins from just 45 starts at The Big M entering the weekend, stayed red hot, sending out a pair of winners who have their appetites set on some big stakes.

Her student Keg Stand (Bar Hopping-Palm Beach Bi) scored from off the pace in the lone $75,000 Graduate Series dash for 4-year-olds on the trot as the 2-1 second choice ($6.60 to win) in a lifetime-best 1:50.4. Keg Stand figures to take on Jiggy Jog S when the $250,000 (est.) Graduate finals for both trotters and pacers take place on July 8.

Cannibal took a conditioned race later on the card in 1:49.1. The 3-year-old son of Sweet Lou-No More Losses, is being pointed to the $700,000 (est.) Meadowlands Pace on July 15. Cannibal paid $3.40 as the 3-5 public choice while staying perfect in three seasonal starts.

LITTLE BIG MAN: Saturday night belonged to Dave Little, as the veteran member of the Big M TV team won Night 8 of the track’s “Battle of The Meadowlands Masterminds” handicapping contest in record fashion.

Little’s $500 win parlay of Mad Max Hanover and I Did It Myway turned into $5,460, a single-card record in the two-year history of the event. His profit for the night was $4,960.

As for his handicapping, Little tabbed eight winners on top, including the Early Pick-4 cold, when he turned a $36 wager into $420.

A LITTLE MORE: P L Ozzy upped his winning streak to five when the 5-year-old by Sunshine Beach-Taylorlane Action stopped the clock in a lifetime-best equaling 1:48.3 in the $23,500 Play Meadowlands Series final for mid-range conditioned pacers. He returned $2.80 to win as the 2-5 public choice. … Natameri, a 26-1 longshot, wore down Ruthless Hanover in deep stretch to take the overnight feature, a $31,500 Open for pacers. The 5-year-old son of American Ideal-Native Daughter hit the finish in a lifetime-best 1:48.2. Four weeks ago, Ruthless Hanover went the fastest mile of the year in the sport with his 1:46.3 clocking at Harrah’s Philadelphia … All-source wagering topped $3 million for the 39th time from 51 race cards this year after $3,024,891 was pushed through the windows on the 14-race program. … Racing resumes Friday at 6:20 p.m.

PHOTO: Mad Max Hanover and driver Tim Tetrick win the first of two leg three divisions of the Graduate Series at The Meadowlands Saturday night. (Credit: Lisa Photo)