Top Sophs Star in Meadowlands Qualifiers
Saturday, May 13, 2023
Saturday’s qualifiers at The Meadowlands was the stage for several of the returning stars of last season to hone their skills as 2023 stakes get underway in earnest. The track was fast with temperatures in the 60’s and little wind.
Top sophomores carried the day and there were a few dazzlers. One came from El Rey who cut a slow 57 half then took off, leaving his overmatched rivals in the wake of a 53.2 final half, 26 flat last quarter to complete the mile in 1:50.2 under no urging from driver Scott Zeron. Tony Alagna trains the winner of last fall’s Governor’s Cup for owners Brittany Farms and El Rey Racing which is comprised of the trainer, Pryde Stables (Robbie Pryde), Larry Denley, Steve Head and Stephanie & Myron Bell’s Riverview Racing, LLC.
Pacing filly Twin B Joe Fresh served notice to her division rivals this morning, cutting the mile and drawing away from a good field as driver and part owner Dexter Dunn pleased through a 26.3 end to a 1:50.3 mile while under restraint. The dual Sires Stake champ, winning finals in both New York and Kentucky last fall, is trained by Chris Ryder, also a partner in the Roll With Joe filly along with his assistant trainer Perry Trebotica and Barry Spak.
Three Diamonds stake champ Zanatta was an impressive winner for driver Joe and trainer Jenn Bongiorno this morning, leading all the way in 1:51.3 with a 26.3 final quarter over a closely attending Cultured (Zeron). Michael Cote Gagnon’s One Legend Stable owns the Stay Hungry filly.
Venerate (Brian Sears) was powerful, taking over before the 56 half then drawing away as the driver pleased for a 1:51.2 / 27.1 romp. The now 5-year-old son of Love You was straight and strong today for trainer Marcus Melander and owners Courant, Inc., Holly Lane Stud East, Kemppi Stables Oy and Venerate Partners who likely have the upcoming Cutler Memorial in their collective sights.
Instagram Model (Zeron) followed last week’s 1:53.1 effort with an ultra-impressive score, coming from well back to sweep past NYSS champ Kayleigh S (Sears) in 1:55 with an in-hand final quarter of 27.2. Trainer Annie Stoebe has the Chapter Seven filly in good form to begin her sophomore campaign for owner R. Lynn Curry.
Two other races for 3-year-old filly trotters saw All The Rage win Ake Svanstedt by as much as the driver pleased, taking a 1:59.2 record in the process for owner Little E, LLC. Ake came right back to win with the Swedish-bred Brilliantissime filly Pure Hope S in 1:57.1 for Swedish-bred owners Soderberg Bloodstock.
A strong group of sophomore colt trotters took the field for race 5 and KY Sires champ French Wine was a 1:54.4 winner for Team Miller. Driver Andy gave the Bar Hopping colt a nice ride behind Gruffalo (Jordan Stratton) then edged by that one late through a 27.2 end to the mile. Julie Miller trains for owners Andy Miller Stable, Daniel & Jean Plouffe and One Legend Stable.
Diamond Creek homebred Challenger (Tim Tetrick) converted a pocket trip into a 1:54.1 win, fanning off the back of mile cutter Quebec Hanover’s rapid fractions in the stretch.
It is a quality card tonight at The Meadowlands with six division of the New Jersey Sires Stakes, highlighted by last year’s Dan Patch Award winning filly trotter Special Way along with all of last year’s 2-year-old NJSS champs, Oh Well, Walner Payton, Voukefalas and Ucandoit Blue Chip back to defend their crowns.
The fun starts at 5:45 with the Pre Game Show then first post at 6:20. Get your free programs here.