Sunday, January 15, 2023

After sweeping the Early Daily Double that paid $34.20, driver Andy McCarthy wasn’t quite done on the Saturday night program at The Meadowlands, as later on the card he recorded his third winner of the night with Rich And Miserable in the featured trot, a high-end conditioned event that sported a $23,000 purse. The 36-year-old Aussie ended the night with four winner’s circle visits.

“He’s a good old boy,” said McCarthy of the 8-year-old gelded son of Explosive Matter-Wishful Me, “he’s getting on in years but still knows what to do.”

McCarthy put Rich And Miserable in a position to win, sitting a three-hole trip, and took advantage of a tough journey from post 10 went by 4-5 favorite Delayed Hanover to record the score.

Dees Red Delicous was explosive from post nine in the 10-horse field, taking the field past the quarter in :27 while Delayed Hanover continued his march to the front before getting to the point at the half in a taxing :55.2 given the cold 32-degree conditions.

Looking for a second straight Big M score, Stride The Hill came calling at three-quarters to apply serious heat to the leader, and as those two dueled through the stretch, McCarthy waited patiently until the eighth pole, when he tipped Rich And Miserable and rolled by the top two, hitting the wire first by a neck in 1:53.4. Stride The Hill nudged past Delayed Hanover to grab the place spot.

“I figured the nine and 10 would get out of there pretty good,” said McCarthy. “I used my horse a little early and hoped we’d get out in the stretch. It worked.”

A Todd Buter trainee, Rich And Miserable recorded his 42nd career win from 133 starts while lifting his lifetime earnings to $695,399. He paid $11.60 to win as the 9-2 third choice in the wagering.

THARPS IS ‘KING’: Driver Eric Tharps Jr. had Sports Teen ($8.40 to win as the second choice) rolling three-wide at three-quarters and had enough through the stretch to take the second Martin Luther King Remembrance Race of the weekend, an event exclusively for African-American drivers that paid tribute to the civil rights icon.

“[Winning at The Meadowlands] is a great feeling,” said Tharps. “I didn’t like where we were [early in the race] but it worked out.”

One of McCarthy’s four-pack came in the Together We Can Be The Dream, a race where five of the African-American drivers took on five Big M regulars. Lone Wolf American ($11.20 as the second choice) was flying late to complete McCarthy’s sweep of the double.

HELLUVA HANDLE: The early-season action at The Big M stayed hot and heavy as all-source betting totaled $3,611,560. All four Meadowlands’ programs in 2023 have seen handle surpass the $3-million plateau. During 2022, action didn’t reach the $3-million barrier for a fourth time until the 21st program of the year on March 26.

A LITTLE MORE: Yannick Gingras, Mark MacDonald and Jordan Stratton all had driving doubles. Last Saturday, Stratton guided four to victory lane. … There were no winning tickets sold on the 20-cent Pick-6, setting up a carryover of $5,044 when racing resumes. Those with five correct collected $129.36. … Free past performances for every race of every Meadowlands card are available by going to … Jessica Otten followed up her eight-winner Friday by giving out the $283.70 Late 50-cent Pick-4 on Saturday. … Racing resumes Friday at 6:20 p.m. … Next week on Jan. 22, the Meadowlands will have an additional day of action, as live racing will take place on the first of two consecutive Sunday afternoons. Post time is 12:30 p.m.

PHOTO: Rich And Miserable takes the Saturday night feature at The Meadowlands, one of four winners on the night for driver Andy McCarthy. (Credit: Lisa Photo)