Saturday, February 17, 2024

Queen Of Success showed a pair of wins racing in the weekly pacing feature for mares back in mid-December, but facing a tougher field Friday night at The Meadowlands, she was sent to the gate as the 8-1 fourth choice in the field of five.

After things didn’t go as expected, ‘The Queen’ ended up going a golden trip and emerged victorious for the third time in her last five starts after taking the marquee-event $27,500 winners-over.

The race took on a different look before the race card began, as Mikala, off two blowout wins at Yonkers at odds of 1-5 and 1-9, respectively, was scratched. That left Racine Bell as the one with the target on her back, with her last line showing a win at The Big M on Dec. 2 in 1:50.

But that one was unable to flash her usual speed, as after leaving the gate from post five, the 4-5 favorite also had to contend with 8-5 second choice Tony’s Mom showing good early energy. In addition, Alexa Skye and Pattycake Mooss were away alertly along the inside, as Alexa Skye had the lead at the quarter in :26.4.

Tony’s Mom was out of the three-hole soon thereafter and made the top at the half in :54.4 as Racine Bell sat fourth with Queen Of Success fifth.

“I took back because she’s been off for a month or so,” said winning driver Johnathan Ahle. “It worked out being in the back. Looking at the program, you definitely would have thought Racine Bell and Tony’s Mom would have been sitting 1-2, but it didn’t work out that way.”

Brett Beckwith activated Racine Bell after the half and came after Tony’s Mom at three-quarters, which was timed in 1:23.2. Tony’s Mom was clear of Racine Bell by 1½ lengths at the head of the stretch, but as it turned out, did not have the race won simply because she had put the favorite away.

Ahle tipped Queen Of Success off her cover, which was provided by Racine Bell as she rallied into contention down the backside, and brought an explosive final eighth-of-a-mile to go on to an easy 2½-length win in 1:50.3.

“She can do it either way, but coming off a helmet she really explodes,” said Ahle. “Once I tipped off cover, I was pretty sure we were winners.”

Queen Of Success returned $18.20 to win after upping her lifetime stats to 14 wins from 45 starts, good for earnings of $449,246 for owners Alagna Racing, Caviart Farms and Robert Leblanc.

Trainer Alagna is considering a rethink of his plan for the 5-year-old daughter of Captaintreacherous-Cashaway.

“She was awfully sharp tonight,” said Alagna. “The plan was for this to be her last start and be off to be a mother like Hot Mess Express. It’s nice to head out on a winning note. But. Who knows after tonight? I’ll talk to the partners and we will see.”

CARRYOVER CRAZY: Multi-leg players will no doubt be in a frenzy Saturday night, as the 20-cent Pick-8 and 20-cent Pick-6 will both feature sizeable carryovers in the wake of longshots taking the sixth (at odds of 25-1), ninth (25-1) and 11th (30-1) races.

The Pick-8, which is offered on races four through 11, failed to yield a winning ticket for a seventh straight card, upping the carryover to $19,825.

The Pick-6, which spans races eight through 13, has huge-action potential, as that pool will start out with $22,945 in the hat.

Free past performances for every race of every Meadowlands card are available by going to playmeadowlands.com.

A LITTLE MORE: Dexter Dunn led the driver colony with three winners. He’s won at least one race on each of the four cards since his return to the track on Feb. 3. … All-source handle on the 14-race card was $3,046,378, the sixth consecutive program where betting bettered the $3-million mark and 10th time in 12 attempts this year. … Racing resumes Saturday at 6:20 p.m.

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