Saturday, July 2, 2022

Trainer Lucas Wallin is looking to have a big day on the first Saturday in August, and if Friday night is a good indicator, he will.

Wallin trained three winners at The Meadowlands from four divisions of the W.N. Reynolds Memorial for 3-year-olds on the trot, which gave a look at possible Hambletonian and Hambletonian Oaks contenders.

The first of Wallin’s hat trick came with Rebuff, the Breeders Crown champion from a year ago, who gunned down 2-5 favorite (and Goodtimes winner) Fast As The Wind by three-quarters-of-a-length in a lifetime-best 1:51.3 in the first of two splits for colts and geldings. The purse was $36,650. A marvelous performance given it was the son of Muscle Hill-Meucci Madness’ first start of the season.

“The trip worked out perfect,” said Wallin of the live cover journey right on the favorite’s back. “We actually wanted to stretch him out with the Hambletonian Eliminations coming up in four weeks. I was pretty confident he was going to do well. He has been training super. Rebuff is so good-gaited, he doesn’t need too many races to have a good performance.”

Rebuff, who was driven by Tim Tetrick, returned $9.80 as the 7-2 second choice in the betting.

Manon was Wallin’s next winner, getting up in a driving finish to dead heat with 7-5 public choice Raised By Lindy in a lifetime-best 1:51.1 in one of two divisions of the Reynolds for fillies for a purse of $35,600.

The daughter of Bar Hopping-Are You Ready, who raced only once at 2, is now five-for-five in her sophomore season.

“She’s been super this year,” said Wallin. “This was her first big test. She got a little sore last year, so we decided to turn her out and bring her back this year. We have a patient owner, so it worked out. I think tonight she showed she belongs [in the Hambletonian Oaks]. That’s the main goal.”

Manon returned $3.00 to win after being bet down as the 5-2 second choice. Once again, it was Tetrick at the controls. Raised By Lindy (Walner-Birthright), driven by Yannick Gingras and trained by Domenico Cecere, paid $2.60, as she, too, established a new lifetime best.

B A Superhero (Muscle Hill-Win Missy B) gave Wallin – and Tetrick – a sweep of the two male divisions (this one for a purse of $37,150), grabbing the lead at the half and powering down the pike from there to best Classic Hill by 3¼ lengths in 1:51.2, lowering his previous mark by two-and-three-fifth seconds.

“In the [May 27] New Jersey Sire Stakes Final [when he finished fifth behind winner Pretender], we gambled a little and put a different bridle on him and he got a little too grabby,” said Wallin. “Then, we gave him a few weeks off. He did race well last week [when fifth with older foes], so I was really confident coming into tonight.”

B A Superhero returned $5.20 as the 8-5 second choice in the betting. Dover In Motion, the 6-5 favorite, broke before the half and finished last.

Reflecting on his big night, Wallin was sure to give credit where it’s due. “It’s a nice feeling [when you have nights like this]. We have a very good team in the barn, so I’m very happy. Without them, we wouldn’t be here.”

Or the Hambletonian, or Hambletonian Oaks.

In the only Reynolds dash not won by Wallin, the Ake Svanstedt trained and driven Baptism (Southwind Frank-Fall From Grace) scored from off the pace at odds of 8-1 in a lifetime-best 1:51.3 in the other division for fillies for a purse of $35,600, taking down New Jersey Sire Stakes champion Fashion Schooner, who settled for second as the 1-5 favorite. Had Fashion Schooner won, Tetrick would have gone four-for-four in the Reynolds.

BIG BETTING: All-source wagering surpassed the $3-million mark for the 13th time from 49 Big M race cards in 2022, as a total of $3,100,260 was pushed through the windows on the 14-race program.

Betting was especially vigorous on the first race, as $407,555 was put in play, $94,695 of that in the 20-cent Pick-5.

A LITTLE MORE: Driving the Svanstedt-trained Incommunicado, 24-year-old provisional driver Emanuel Miller recorded his first-ever Meadowlands victory in the fifth race, returning $17.80 to his faithful. … Tetrick’s three victories led the driver colony. Braxten Boyd and Mark MacDonald had two apiece. … Wallin’s three scores were tops among the trainers while Svanstedt had a pair. … Racing resumes Saturday at 6:20 p.m.

PHOTO: Rebuff and driver Tim Tetrick hit the wire first in a division of the W.N. Reynolds for 3-year-old male trotters at The Meadowlands Friday night. (Credit: Lisa Photo)