Sunday, December 17, 2023

Off a close-up second to the good-looking, short-priced winner Beach Cowgirl a week ago, bettors bet big on Talk Curdy To Me, hammering her down to 1-9 in the Saturday night feature at The Meadowlands, a $23,000 winners over for fillies and mares on the pace.

The way things panned out, it appeared all was well for the chalk players, as Talk Curdy To Me was cruising along on the point at the head of the stretch (after a 1:25.3 clocking at three-quarters) after a rated middle half in a sleepy :58.4.

Apparently, Queen Of Success had little interest in letting the race pan out in predictable fashion.

Sitting a two-hole behind the public choice throughout, driver Johnathan Ahle moved Queen Of Success off the rail inside the eighth pole and charged right past the defenseless favorite, hitting the wire 1½ lengths to the good in 1:51.3 after an explosive final quarter of :25.4. Talk Curdy To Me held second with Silent Crossing third.

“George [Brennan] had the horse to beat, so sitting the two-hole was the place to be,” said Ahle. “I knew both George’s horse and my horse would be strong after that middle half. I knew it would be a sprint to the wire.

“When I came out of the pocket, she came out like she meant it.”

Queen Of Success hadn’t raced since late October in Kentucky before qualifying at The Big M on Dec. 9.

“We freshened her up after Cumberland Run and qualified her back last week,” said winning trainer Tony Alagna. “Andy McCarthy said she felt as good as ever. Queen has been battling her tough stablemate Boudoir Hanover all summer, so tonight was a bit of class relief. The plan will be to breed her in the spring to Tall Dark Stranger.”

As the second choice at odds of 9-1, Queen Of Success, a 4-year-old daughter of Captaintreacherous-Cashaway, returned $20.80 to her backers. She’s now won 12-of-41 lifetime starts, good for earnings of $417,071 for owners Alagna Racing, Caviart Farms and Robert Leblanc.

CARRY ON: There were three tickets alive heading into the final leg of the 20-cent Pick-8, but after Saulsbrook Raptor pulled off a minor 5-1 surprise in the 11th race, the Pick-8 went unhit for a seventh consecutive program.

That means the octadic puzzle will feature a carryover of $64,543 on Friday night.

Saturday’s carryover of $46,811 attracted nearly $28,000 in “new money” for a total pool of $74,744.09. Had someone had a ticket with all eight winners, the return would have been an astonishing 252 percent.

A LITTLE MORE: Braxten Boyd drove three winners to finish the weekend with four victories. Ahle also finished the weekend with a four-bagger after three wins Friday and one more Saturday. … Trainer Ross Croghan, who has been making a slow recovery from several surgeries, won for the first time at The Meadowlands since July of 2020 when Montana Storm N took the seventh race. … All-source handle on the 14-race program totaled $3,085,356, the 57th time during 2023 out of 85 race cards that betting topped the $3-million mark. … Racing resumes Friday at 6:20 p.m.

PHOTO: Queen Of Success and driver Johnathan Ahle win the Saturday night feature at The Meadowlands. (Credit: Lisa Photo)