Saturday, November 4, 2023

Strawberry Fields upped her winning streak to three while Bloodhound scored a second straight victory in their respective TrackMaster Series (rating of 74 or less) pacing finals at The Meadowlands Friday night.

It was an eventful trip for Strawberry Fields in the dash for females as the 3-year-old daughter of Sweet Lou-Bettor Beware, who was close to the action throughout in each of her last two starts, was forced to grab a spot at the rail in fifth after the start saw several horses leave the gate. Leader Shellie De Vie took bitter pressure from Blueberry Shake through a quarter of :26.2 and a half in :54.2, which suited Strawberry Fields, and her driver, Tyler Miller, just fine.

Shes A Live Wire (Braxten Boyd), the 2-1 second choice, was the first to shake things up, moving three-wide heading around the far turn under a full head of steam as Strawberry Fields got out of the dull flow on the rim and followed Shes A Live Wire’s move.

“Maybe I was a little concerned [sitting fifth] because she does her best work toward the front,” said Miller. “I was kind of biding my time. I was planning to go out there [three-wide] but I guess [Braxten] decided he wanted to go.”

In mid-stretch, Shes A Live Wire was clear, but Strawberry Fields found more through the final sixteenth-of-a-mile to get up for a hard-fought neck win in 1:53. Bullvillekarla finished third.

“At the top of the lane, [Braxten] had the upper hand, but I was pretty sure I was going to get there,” said Miller. “It took her a couple of steps to get in gear.”

Trained by Tyler’s mom, Julie Miller, Strawberry Fields returned $3.80 as the 4-5 public choice to notch her fifth career win from 28 starts for owner Mulligan Stables.

In the division for males, Bloodhound scored in impressive fashion for driver Vinny Ginsburg and trainer-owner Mark Silva in a lifetime-best-equaling 1:52.

The 4-year-old gelded son of Huntsville-Bettoronthebeach closed well for second in his leg-one start before winning leg two last week in another off-the-pace performance.

But Ginsburg had other ideas this time around.

Bloodhound wrestled the lead away from Alway’s Close at the quarter while parked in :27.4, extended his edge to 1¼ lengths at both the half and three-quarters in :57 and 1:25.2, respectively, before kicking home in :26.3 to best Alway’s Close by 5¼. Mind Hunter finished third.

“Mark said I was the best and actually didn’t want him on the front even though he was in cheap for him,” said Ginsburg, “but the way the race panned out, we weren’t going fast enough and if I stayed in third at the quarter, [Mind Hunter] would have kept marching and I would have been first up to him with soft fractions on the lead, so I went on and had my way on the lead. He exploded when I asked him.”

Sent to the gate as the 3-5 favorite, Bloodhound returned $3.20 to his backers while winning for the ninth time from 47 career outings.

A LITTLE MORE: Ginsburg and Miller led the driver colony with three winners apiece. … Boyd followed up his four-winner Saturday with two more walks down victory lane Friday. … Multi-leg punters will have a pair of carryovers to shoot for Saturday. The 20-cent Pick-8 will start out with $3,989 in the hat while the 20-cent Pick-6 has a carryover of $3,763. … Free past performances for every race of every Meadowlands card are available by going to playmeadowlands.com. … All-source handle totaled $2,499,798 on the 14-race program. … Racing resumes Saturday at 6:20 p.m.

PHOTO Strawberry Fields and driver Tyler Miller win the TrackMaster Series final for female pacers at The Meadowlands Friday night. (Credit: Lisa Photo)