Saturday, April 29, 2023

Trainer Nancy Takter has been on fire since the first of her students hit the mile oval at The Meadowlands on March 31, with nine winners from just 21 starts at the start of racing Friday night.

After the second race on the card, the blaze continued to burn out of control.

Tactical Approach, a son of Tactical Landing-Sarcy, took a non-winners of two exclusively for 3-year-old colt and gelding trotters where all seven starters were making their first starts of the year, going wire-to-wire in a lifetime-best 1:52.3 to up his lifetime stats to three wins from five outings.

“He’s very nice to handle,” said winning driver Scott Zeron. “I was very confident. We got a nice tailwind down the lane, and when you have that, they give you everything and more.”

With a pair of winning qualifiers under his belt, Tactical Approach cut out fractions of :28.1, :56.4 and 1:25.3 before finishing the job with a :27 kicker to reach the finish 3 lengths in front of Ari Ferrari J. Squared Away was third.

“I am very happy with the maturity and development of Tactical Approach,” said Takter. “This versatile horse has shown so much potential, and I am confident he will continue to excel in the future. Tonight’s effort was outstanding, and I am eagerly looking forward to the New Jersey Sire Stakes (which get underway May 13).”

As the 7-5 favorite, Tactical Approach returned $4.80 to win.

PELLING PROTÉGÉ PROVES ‘QUICK’-EST: The Brett Pelling-trained Quick E (Sweet Lou-Southwind Tempo) closed well through the stretch to take a non-winners of two for filly and mare pacers in her first start of the season in 1:52.2. It was just the third career outing for the 3-year-old.

“She’s come a long way,” said winning driver Todd McCarthy. “The last of the (three) qualifiers (before racing tonight) was really good (a 1:52.2 win). She got out of there good tonight. It ended up we got live cover off the turn, and she went pretty well from there. She’s still a little green, but I was very happy with her.”

Quick E won it by a neck over another Pelling student, Southwind Bella, and returned $7.80 to win as the 5-2 second choice in the wagering.

31 AND COUNTING: Despite rainy conditions and four fields that had only seven starters, The Big M’s streak of $3-million handles on nighttime programs stayed alive.

Not counting last Saturday’s (April 22) card that was canceled after only seven races due to bad weather, there have been 31 Friday and Saturday night programs conducted at The Meadowlands during 2023 and each one has seen betting bust the $3-million barrier.

Friday’s 14-race card saw all-source wagering total $3,007,798.

During 2022, there were a total of 85 programs conducted at the mile oval, with 23 going past the $3-million plateau.

A LITTLE MORE: Dexter Dunn led the driver colony with five winners on the card. … Kelvin Harrison was the top trainer with three walks down victory lane. … Always tough on the handicappers are the Meadowlands Amateur Drivers Club events, and the betting backed that up Friday as divisions one and three on the program saw three horses go to the gate at odds of 5-2. Division two had a 2-1 favorite, followed by a 7-2 shot and a pair at 5-1. … Racing resumes Saturday at 6:20 p.m.

PHOTO: Tactical Approach and driver Scott Zeron score at The Meadowlands Friday night. (Credit: Lisa Photo)