Sunday, January 14, 2024

After winning two of three starts at Yonkers Raceway, Tony’s Mom shipped to The Meadowlands on Dec. 23 and was a good-looking, fast-closing second-place finisher in the feature coming from sixth with a quarter-mile to go.

On Saturday night at The Big M, driver Jason Bartlett kept the Per Engblom student closer to the action and was rewarded with a victory in the featured $27,500 high-end conditioned pace for fillies and mares.

“She raced great two weeks ago,” said Bartlett. “So, I wanted to try and get her involved early if it didn’t seem too crazy.”

That was the blueprint for success.

Queen Of Success, the 2-1 favorite, was on the go early from post eight in the eight-horse field seeking her third win in four tries in this class. Tony’s Mom was also away well from post six, actually leading at the quarter in :28.1 before Queen Of Success went around the eventual winner and made the point shortly thereafter.

Johnathan Ahle, driving Queen Of Success, was able to back the middle fractions down to :57.1 and 1:25.1, with Tony’s Mom waiting patiently in the pocket to pounce.

When the field straightened up in the stretch, Bartlett moved Tony’s Mom from the rail with a little more than an eighth-of-a-mile to go and went by Queen Of Success with ease before reporting home a safe 1-length winner over a fast-closing Racy Roxy A in 1:53.2. Hot Mess Express was third.

“She’s a very versatile mare with great manners,” said Bartlett. “So, it makes it easy to just play how the race is developing.”

A 5-year-old daughter of Heston Blue Chip-Donna Lee, Tony’s Mom returned $8.40 to her backers as the 3-1 second choice. She now has 16 victories from 51 career starts, good for earnings of $233,331 for owners Morrison Racing Stables and Brian S. Gordon.

A LITTLE MORE: Andy McCarthy led the driver colony with three winner’s circle visits. … Paul Blumenfeld and Robert Cleary each trained a pair to victory lane. … Devon Tharps and Randy Crisler were the winning drivers of the two divisions of the Martin Luther King Remembrance Race, an event that features all African American drivers. … All-source handle on the 14-race program totaled $2,891,180. … Racing resumes Friday at 6:20 p.m.

PHOTO: Tony’s Mom and driver Jason Bartlett win the Saturday night feature at The Meadowlands. (Credit: Lisa Photo)