Tim Tetrick was on his game Saturday night (May 8) at The Meadowlands, as the 39-year-old Hall of Fame driver won both $30,000 divisions of the first leg of the Miss Versatility Series for open mares on the trot.
Off a superb seasonal debut where she closed in :26.4 to just miss, Next Level Stuff was predictably sent to the gate as the 3-5 public choice in division one, and while she did not disappoint, she needed every inch of the stretch to record a neck victory in 1:52.2.
“She raced against the top [fillies] last year,” said Tetrick. “She’s a trip mare, and she got a trip tonight.”
Long shot Morairtime, off at 60-1, cut the action on the front to three-quarters. When Dovescry inched closer from first over on the far turn while providing a perfect tow for the eventual winner before making the lead at the head of the stretch.
Tetrick tipped Next Level Stuff off cover at just the right time with about an eighth of a mile to go and got up nearing the wire to record her 14th win from just 25 starts for trainer Jim Campbell. The four-year-old daughter of Sebastian K S-Nantab returned $3.40 to her backers while upping her lifetime bank account to $668,066. When Dovescry was a valiant second with Felicityshagwell S third.
“I got David [Miller, driving When Dovescry] to pull out of there,” said Tetrick, “and everything went like it was supposed to for me. I’m super happy with her. She’s a nice mare to drive.”
Tetrick opted to race Absattitudexpress on the front in division two, and just held off 2020 Hambletonian Oaks champion Sorella by a nose in 1:52.3. Miss McKee was third.
The race saw little action from the outset, as the 3-5 favourite Absattitudexpress and 9-5 second-choice Sorella raced one-two around the track. Yannick Gingras moved Sorella from the pocket at the head of the stretch, only to miss by an eyelash after a stretch-long duel.
“[Winning trainer] Lucas [Wallin] and his crew have done a great job with her,” said Tetrick of the four-year-old miss by Trixton-Abbiesgotattitude. “I thought going to the lead was the best thing to do. She was good turning for home, but Sorella dug in too. I’m very happy with her. Her effort was big tonight.”
Absattitudexpress paid $3.40 to win while upping her lifetime stats to 10 victories from 19 starts, good for earnings of $310,641.
PICK-6 CARRYOVER: There were no winning tickets sold in the 20-cent Pick 6, which means the wager will have a carryover of $14,686 for Friday night’s card. Those with five correct collected $2,447.
Free program pages for every race of every Meadowlands card are available by going to playmeadowlands.com.
HELLUVA HANDLE: All-source wagering totaled $3,764,756, giving the Big M 12 consecutive programs where handle has exceeded the $3-million mark. Added to the $3.3 million wagered Friday, the track has now recorded six weekends during 2021 where betting has bettered the $7-million plateau.
A LITTLE MORE: American History was sensational in the seventh race mid-range conditioned pace, blazing a trail around the track, leading at every call, and stopping the clock in 1:48, to equal the fastest mile of the year in the sport two weeks after Stars Align A’s identical timing.
Andy McCarthy was the big dog of the driver’s colony, scoring four times on the program to run his weekend total to eight victories.
Racing resumes Friday (May 14) at 6:20 p.m. (EDT).
Since pacing is the far more
Since pacing is the far more popular gait in North America, why isn't there also a Miss Versatility Series for PACING mares?
Two horses going in opposite directions: Alberta's Major Custard has found the competition to be much more difficult in Eastern Canada and even more so in the USA. After winning 15 of his 16 starts last year, he lost his first 3 races in 2021, all against nonwinners, at Mohawk, then moved to The Meadowlands, where he's finished dead-last 2 weeks in a row. And even though Nicholas Beach was the runner-up in the 9th race Preferred Pace, he still has 13 wins in 17-lifetime starts and has never finished worse than second.