Sunday, March 31, 2024

Returning to the scene of his determined score three weeks ago in his seasonal debut, the Nancy Takter-trained Red Right Hand notched his second straight win at The Meadowlands Saturday night in a 2024 track-fastest-mile time of 1:49.1.

Red Right Hand tried his hand at Yonkers in the Borgata Series after his initial Big M win, but went off stride before the half on the way to a last-place finish 12 days ago.

Back at his favorite track, where he set his lifetime best of 1:48.1 during 2022, was just the thing to get Red Right Hand back in the winning swing.

Australian invader Big Skewy N was the first away from the gate from post six in the seven-horse field and led at the quarter in :27 making his North American debut as Red Right Hand set up shop in the pocket. Even-money favorite Combustion, seeking to stay perfect in two seasonal starts, raced in fourth, just behind Dragononthebeach.

The half was reached in :54.4 with no movement, but shortly after reaching the five-eighths, driver Yannick Gingras would wait no longer, deuce-popping with Red Right Hand before sprinting to the lead at three-quarters in 1:22.3, using what would turn out to be the winning move.

“I thought it was asking a lot of [Big Skewy N to win on the front],” said Gingras. “I think our horses might be a little more fit. That horse was running in a little on the first turn, and when I moved, it was time to pounce. I figured I could sit there [in the pocket] for a while and see what happens.”

Red Right Hand was on a clear lead at the head of the stretch, then shrugged off a challenge from Dragononthebeach, before holding on by a head as the late rush of Combustion (off live cover) came up a head short. Dragononthebeach held third.

“They were coming at the end, but my horse had a pretty big effort,” said Gingras.

A 6-year-old horse by Captaintreacherous-Preppy Party Girl who is owned by Christina Takter, Nancy Takter and JAF Racing, Joe Sbrocco and R A W Equine Inc, Red Right Hand returned $8.40 to win as the third choice in the betting. He now has 19 wins in 77 career tries, good for earnings of just over $450,000.

‘KODY’ ROCKS THE CLOCK: Lexus Kody, one week after going off stride in mid-stretch as the 3-2 favorite, rebounded in a big way for trainer Michael Burke, scoring in a dazzling 1:50 lifetime best, and in the process, established a new track record for older trotting geldings in an $18,000 high-end conditioned event.

The 6-year-old by Archangel-Lexus Helios blasted to the lead from post nine in the nine-horse field and led at every call, clicking off fractions of :27.4, :55.2 and 1:22.4 before sprinting home in :27.1 to complete the job. Undeterred by what happened the week before, with regular driver Gingras calling the shots, the public bet Lexus Kody down to 7-5, and the favorite delivered a $4.80 payoff.

“I know this horse,” said Gingras. “When he runs in, he’s OK, but when he runs out, he makes breaks. The horse has crazy speed and crazy ability. He’s a crazy fast horse, but at times, he’s his own worst enemy.”

A LITTLE MORE: Yonkers regulars Jordan Stratton and Jason Bartlett led the driver colony with three wins apiece. Stratton scored twice with 7-1 shots, while one of Bartlett’s victories came with a 10-1 chance. … Both 50-cent Pick-4 pools exceeded $100,000, as a total of $213,600 was put in play on the Big M’s most popular multi-leg bet. … All-source handle totaled $3,520,145 on the 14-race card. For the weekend, the total wagered on the 28 races was $6,965,703, leaving total action just $35,000 short of a $7-million race week. … Racing resumes Friday at 6:20 p.m.

PHOTO: Red Right Hand won the pacing feature at The Meadowlands Saturday night. Yannick Gingras was in the sulky. (Credit: Lisa Photo)