Sunday, February 12, 2023

On what was likely the most power-packed race card of the year thus far in the harness game, Majorca N, Seriously Hanover and Nicholas Beach all brought their “A”-games on the way to jaunts down victory lane Saturday night at The Meadowlands.

Majorca N won the $27,500 Sweetheart Pace for mares in 1:51 for trainer Dylan Davis and driver Dexter Dunn. No stranger to winning at The Big M, Majorca N took her lifetime mark of 1:48.4 last Hambletonian Day in an Open for mares.

“We’ll take it,” said Davis. “She seems to be coming back to herself. I lost her for three or four starts there while my barn got sick. I scratched 11 horses that week (Majorca N scratched sick at Dover Downs on Jan. 11). She’s a mare that needs to work. She loves her job. When the race didn’t fill at Dover this week, we came here.”

It wasn’t all that easy for the 8-year-old daughter of Art Major-Cloudy Beach, who had to duck into the four hole early before going after leader Lit De Rose (who faded and finished fifth) at three-quarters. From there, Majorca N was on cruise control, scoring by 2¼ lengths over Jody. As the 2-1 favorite, she returned $6.60 to win.

“Those guys, they do this every day,” said Davis. “I don’t question (what they do as far as the trip is concerned). I guess (Dunn) felt that was best and I was fine with it. She’s versatile. I don’t prefer a certain trip over another. I love it here at The Meadowlands. She’s done very well.”

In the $30,000 TrackMaster Series final for pacers, Seriously Hanover ran his winning streak to three after scoring in 1:50 for trainer Travis Alexander.

“He’s a really nice horse,” said winning driver Jordan Stratton. “(At the half, which was reached in a taxing :54.2) I was just hanging on. He gets pretty aggressive. (We went) big fractions and he was getting tired by the wire, but he was serious tonight. He’s going to be tired tomorrow.”

Seriously Hanover used an explosive third quarter of :27.2 to open up a 4-length edge at the three-quarter call on the way to an easy 1¾-length score over Bettor Memories. The 6-year-old gelded son of Western Ideal-Stolly Up Bluechip returned $5.20 as the 8-5 public choice.

Finally, in a $23,000 high-end conditioned pace, Nicholas Beach got back on the winning track for the sister-brother, trainer-driver team of Jenn and Joe Bongiorno, winning in 1:49.

The 7-year-old gelded son of Somebeachsomewhere-Michelle My Gal was on the move from third at the quarter, made the lead at the half in :55 before pacing his back half in :54 to defeat the pocket-sitting Carbine by 2¾ lengths. Last May, the horse known as “Baby Nicky” in the Bongiorno barn rocked the clock at The Big M in a lifetime-best 1:47.

“He definitely has his issues,” said Jenn of her pupil, who has made only 14 starts over the last 16 months. “But I truly cannot name a horse that we’ve had that provides us the gratification he does. He has a world of ability and I know in my heart that he can race with anyone. Tonight was a huge moment for us with staking due, and, sure enough, he delivered.”

Nicholas Beach returned $3.60 as the 4-5 favorite.

11TH HEAVEN: A total of $3,360,314 was wagered on the 14-race card, keeping The Big M perfect on Fridays and Saturdays.

There have been a total of 11 programs contested on Friday and Saturday nights during 2023, and each one has seen betting better the $3-million barrier.

The 10th race took the most action on the night, with $380,799 pushed through the windows, $114,405 of that on the Late 50-cent Pick-4.

A LITTLE MORE: A carryover of just over $6,500 led to $46,326 in “new money” being poured into the 20-cent Pick-6 pool for a grand total of $52,862. Those who had winning tickets – after a sequence that saw winner’s odds of 2-1, 8-5, 4-5, 11-1, 11-1 and 8-5 – cashed in for $1,912.86. … Jason Bartlett led the driver colony with three winners. … Ron Burke trained a pair to victory lane. … Racing resumes Friday at 6:20 p.m.

PHOTO: Majorca N and driver Dexter Dunn win the Sweetheart Pace at The Meadowlands Saturday night. (Credit: Lisa Photo)