Sunday, June 2, 2024

Oakwood Ardan IR has been nothing short of a sensation since arriving in the U.S. from Great Britain last fall.

Maybe “sensation” sells the 5-year-old gelded son of Sweet Lou-Trend Setter short, as his win in the $27,500 featured winners-over pace at The Meadowlands Saturday night was positively electric. The Robert Cleary trainee displayed an explosive burst of speed through the stretch to gun down Allywag Hanover and Primary Colors nearing the wire in a sparkling 1:48.3.

“He wants to go,” said winning driver Andy McCarthy. “He wants to get them. He’s so much fun. He’s just a terrific horse.”

Sent to the gate as the 8-5 second choice, Allywag Hanover was away alertly from post nine in the nine-horse field as Primary Colors (post seven) left underneath him. Primary Colors took the front away from Lyons Steel, who led at the quarter in :27, soon thereafter before ‘Allywag’ followed Primary Colors, and took the point away just after the three-eighths before hitting the half in a taxing :54.3. McCarthy watched all of this transpire while keeping Oakwood Ardan in sixth along the rail.

Heading for three-quarters, Oakwood Ardan got some help in the way of cover from the first-over American Dealer N, as Allywag Hanover, the lifetime earner of over $2.2 million, led at that station in 1:21.3.

Once they straightened away for the drive to the finish, McCarthy tipped Oakwood Ardan off his now-not-so-live tow, and exploded past the field during a final quarter of :26.1 on the way to a safe half-length win over Primary Colors, who nudged past Allywag Hanover nearing the wire in the race for place.

“I had a long way to come tonight,” said McCarthy. “But I had a cover trip. He’s just amazing, really. As far back as he was, I was comfortable, and that’s hard to come by. He did a great job in Great Britain and to come here and go the times he’s gone. I just hope he keeps improving like he’s doing.”

Owned by Royal Wire Products Inc, Oakwood Ardan returned $3.20 to his backers as the 3-5 public choice. He has now won nine of 10 outings since his arrival in the States, with his only loss coming to Red Right Hand on March 9, when a :26 final quarter over a sloppy track resulted in a neck defeat in a 1:50.3 mile. Overall, he has 18 wins from 38 lifetime outings, good for earnings of $120,378.

A LITTLE MORE: Jason Bartlett and McCarthy tied for tops in the driver colony with four winners apiece. … Cleary and Jenn Bongiorno led the trainers with two victories each. … Thanks to 49-1 shot Canigetalouploup and driver Mark Herschberger, there were no winning tickets sold on the 20-cent Pick-6. Friday’s pool will start with a carryover of $6,309. … Jessica Otten was the winner on the first night of the track’s Battle of The Meadowlands Masterminds handicapping contest. Her meager $76.50 bankroll was easily best as Dave Little, Ken Warkentin, Gabe Prewitt and Michael Carter all failed to cash a ticket. … All-source wagering totaled $3,178,258 on the 14-race program, making it 36 times from 43 race cards that wagering has gone past the $3-million mark during 2024 at The Big M. … In a statistical oddity, wagering on Friday was also $3.178 million. … Racing resumes Friday at 6:20 p.m.

PHOTO: Oakwood Ardan IR won the Saturday night feature at The Meadowlands. (Credit: Lisa Photo)