Day At The Track

Atlanta scores in the slop

03:58 PM 11 Jul 2020 NZST
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Atlanta,Harness racing
Atlanta winning on the wet track
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EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ - Gusting winds and drenching rains from Tropical Storm Fay could not extinguish the harness racing fire that is super mare Atlanta at The Meadowlands Friday night.

Facing an easier task than in her first two starts of the season not having to face arch-rival Manchego, the Ron Burke-trained Atlanta had an easy time of it in the $40,000 second leg of the Miss Versatility for open mare trotters over a sloppy track.

Driver Yannick Gingras kept Atlanta off the early action, sitting fifth past the quarter and half. He then got the 5-year-old daughter of Chapter Seven-Hemi Blue Chip in gear after leader Kenziesky Hanover. With Atlanta gaining quickly, Plunge Blue Chip swerved out of the three-hole, which provided a live tow for the eventual winner.

Plunge Blue Chip was just off the leader's flank at three-quarters, and out of the turn, Gingras swung Atlanta three-wide for the drive and easily coasted by Plunge Blue Chip to record a 3¼-length score in 1:51.2. Plunge Blue Chip, the 5-1 second choice, completed the $5.20 exacta. Felicityshagwell S was third.

"I wasn't concerned about the sloppy track because I knew Yannick would adjust to the conditions," said Burke. "The truth is, she prefers to get the kind of trip she got tonight. I wanted to follow Plunge Blue Chip, and as long as we could outkick her, we'd be alright. I am going to give Atlanta next week off. I don't want to over-race her. She's more thoroughbred than standardbred. She'll go next in two weeks in the Spirit of Massachusetts at Plainridge."

Atlanta has now won 22 of 42 lifetime outings, good for earnings of $2,026,089 for owners Crawford Farms Racing, Brad Grant and Howard Taylor.

NJSS ROUNDUP: The New Jersey Sire Stakes for 2-year-olds kicked off Friday with its opening leg, and in the filly pace, the John Urbanski-trained and driven Anna Jeans, a product of Great Vintage-Early Go Hanover, won in a "walkover" (a one-horse race) in 2:15.2 over the sloppy surface in a race conducted before the betting card.

In another early non-bettor, Fika Time took the colt and gelding pace for driver Tim Tetrick and trainer Chase Vandervort. The gelded son of Sunfire Blue Chip-Raiders Favorite stopped the clock in 2:01.1.

In the first of three colt and gelding trots on the betting card, Southwind Tyrion, a son of Muscle Hill-Taylor Jean, came from off the pace to score as the 4-5 favorite for trainer-driver Ake Svanstedt in 1:56.1. The Dexter Dunn-driven, Per Engblom-trained Mon Amour, a colt by Muscle Hill-Mind Meld, went wire-to-wire in 1:56.4 as the 3-1 second choice in division two before Beyond The Hill took advantage of a late break by leader Sonofamistery to score in the final division in 1:59.1. Driven by Dave Miller and trained by Jim Campbell, the son of Muscle Hill-Beyond Blue paid off at odds of 10-1.

The filly trotters had two divisions, and taking the first was Hot As Hill, who won from off the pace for driver Joe Bongiorno and Burke. The daughter of Muscle Hill-Smarty Pants went off at odds of 17-1 and went the mile in 1:58.3.

The second division gave Svanstedt a trainer-driver NJSS double as another longshot, 39-1 chance Presto, upset the apple cart in 1:57 from off the pace. The winner is a daughter of Trixton-Susie's Magic.

A LITTLE MORE: Melissa Arbia, who guided Take It Back Terry to victory in the first race GSY Series pace for amateur drivers, combined with Bongiorno to complete a rare husband-wife driving double on the card. The last to do it were Ake and Sarah Svanstedt. ... Despite the bad weather and multiple 2-year-old races, wagering on the 13-race card totaled $2,373,660. ... Racing resumes Saturday at 7:15 p.m. The Meadowlands Pace Elimination and a pair of $250,000 Graduate Finals highlight the program.

 

By Dave Little, Meadowlands Media Relations

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