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MARVELOUS ‘MIKI’ REPEATS IN BIG M FEATURE

Sunday, April 28, 2024


One week after explaining after a win in a post-race interview that Maximus Miki loves to race first-over, driver Andy McCarthy changed tactics nonetheless Saturday night at The Meadowlands.

And the result was unchanged, as the 5-year-old gelded son of Always B Miki-Beach Gal took the featured $27,500 winners-over pace for a second consecutive week.

After getting away third around the first turn, McCarthy moved ‘Miki’ quickly and secured the lead down the backstretch, taking the point away from Southwind Gendry soon after the quarter, which was timed in :27.

With the 1-2 favorite setting up shop on the lead in a six-horse field, Maximus Miki raced unpressured, reached the half in :55 and three-quarters in 1:23, setting up a sprint to the wire that saw the Tom Cancelliere trainee prevail by a 1¼ lengths over American Dealer N. Southwind Gendry finished third.

“He was super,” said McCarthy. “Tommy’s been doing a great job with him. It’s the first time I put him on the front but he got it done. He really enjoys having a target. When you put him up there [on the lead], you have to keep after him a bit.”

Maximus Miki’s clocking of 1:49.1 was a lifetime best and equaled the fastest mile of the year at The Big M. Red Right Hand was the first to go that fast on March 30.

Maximus Miki returned $3 to his backers after winning for the 16th time from just 32 lifetime starts, good for earnings of $191,229 for owner John Cancelliere.

‘HUNT’ CONQUERS: Huntinthelastdolar went wire-to-wire from the rail to take the $31,500 4-Year-Old Open in 1:50. The gelded son of Huntsville-Eighthunrdolarbill sprinted his final quarter in :25.1 to win for ninth time from 25 lifetime starts, lifting his earnings past the $500,000 mark.

The Per Engblom trainee had plenty of gas left in the tank after a rated middle half of :57.1.

“I had the fractions on my side,” said winning driver Yannick Gingras. “The horse is really nice. He can go fast.”

MATURITY FINALS: There were four $30,000 New Jersey Breeders Maturity finals for 4-year-olds contested during the night, with the first three conducted as non-betting events before the parimutuel card.

In the mares trot, Tactical Mounds (Tactical Landing-Mounds) won a walkover (a one-horse race) in 1:55.2 for driver Scott Zeron and trainer Megan Scran.

Bestfriend Volo (Walner-Bank Of Newport) took the horse and gelding trot in 1:51.3 for Dexter Dunn and Nancy Takter before Lisa Lane (Lazarus N-Special Kay Deo) hit the winner’s circle in the mare pace in 1:51.1 for Patrick Ryder and Chris Ryder.

On the betting card, 2023 New Jersey Classic winner Voukefalas (Lazarus N-Inittowinafortune) emerged victorious as the 2-5 favorite in the horse and gelding pace, gunning down leader Handlelikeaporsche at the wire in 1:50.4 after an explosive final quarter of :25 for Jordan Stratton and Michael Russo.

A LOT OF LITTLE: It was a big night for followers of Dave Little, as the veteran member of the Big M’s TV crew selected eight winners on top, including his best bet and value play.

In addition, Little pegged the Late Pick-4 and had the winning payout of $80.95 five times to cash in for $404.75. On race later, “Little’s Late Double” rolled in, paying $85.40, but Little played a $6 ticket, creating a return of $256.20.

A LITTLE MORE: Dunn, Dave Miller, Gingras and McCarthy tied for the top of the nightly driver leaderboard with two winners apiece. … Engblom led the trainers with a pair of victories. … All-source handle totaled $3,012,800 on the 14-race card, the 27th time from 33 programs that wagering has gone past the $3-million mark this year. … Racing resumes Friday at 6:20 p.m.

PHOTO: Maximus Miki and driver Andy McCarthy won a second consecutive Saturday night feature, the winners-over pace, at The Meadowlands. (Credit: Lisa Photo)