Sunday, June 19, 2022

Nandolo N did not go the best of trips, but that suited him just fine in the Saturday night feature at The Meadowlands, the $31,500 Open for pacers.

“I wasn’t surprised at how good he was,” said winning driver Jason Bartlett. “I was more worried about the fractions than anything. He has been racing those types of horses all year long.”

That’s true. The 8-year-old gelded son of Betterthancheddar-Midnight In Paris made some serious money racing in the Borgata Series at Yonkers, and came into the race with 2022 earnings just $5,000 behind that of Let It Ride N, whose $135,742 was tops in the field.

Da Delightful was away quickly at the start and led the field past the quarter in a tepid :28. Bettors Donttell, the 9-5 favorite, made the top soon thereafter, taking the seven-horse field past the half in :55.4.

“We were just going so slow,” said Bartlett. “I was a little worried.”

So Bartlett moved Nandolo N to the outside from the four-hole and made his way toward the leader, getting within a length while parked as three-quarters was reached in 1:24.

“My horse was getting to [driver] Corey’s [Callahan’s] horse [Bettors Donttell] on the turn,” said Bartlett, “and with a target, he’ll keep on coming.”

Nandolo N, a Shane Tritton trainee, continued to grind away at the leader’s edge through the stretch while Da Delightful was back for more after finding room along the inside, but at the wire, it was Nandolo N prevailing by a thrilling neck in 1:50.4. Bettors Donttell was second with Da Delightful a close-up third.

“He’s better on a big track,” said Bartlett of Nandolo N. “He’s a really big horse, and he runs in on the turns. It was my fault he got hung in his last Meadowlands start [when sixth]. He’s a first-over horse. That’s his trip.”

Nandolo N now has 18 victories from 75 lifetime starts, good for earnings of $431,410 for owners Team Tritton Inc. He returned $9.20 to his backers as the third choice in the wagering. Let It Ride N, the 5-2 second choice, finished seventh and last.

WARKENTIN THE MASTER: On the strength of a $356 score after hitting a $71.20 exacta five times in the eighth race, Ken Warkentin was the winner on Night 6 of the Meadowlands Battle of the Masterminds handicapping contest, finishing with a mythical bankroll of $514.

On-track patrons who select the winning handicapper on a given night are eligible for a nightly prize of a $200 betting voucher and a $50 gas card. The winner of that drawing is then eligible for the grand prize of $10,000.

Warkentin, Dave Brower, Dave Little, Jessica Otten and Edison Hatter will go at it every night through August 5. The grand prize winner will be chosen on Hambletonian Day, August 6.

A LITTLE MORE: One shrewd player held the only winning ticket in the 20-cent Survivor Pick-7 and walked away with $8,524. Other than one 22-1 longshot, no other horse during the sequence went off at odds greater than 5-1. … Ron Burke was on fire, training four winners on the program. … Joe Bongiorno had a driving triple. … All-source handle totaled $2,528,515. … Racing resumes Friday at 6:20 p.m.

PHOTO: Nandolo N and driver Jason Bartlett take the Saturday night feature at The Meadowlands. (Credit: Lisa Photo)