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The Conscience of Thoroughbred Racing


By Ken Weingartner, USTA

East Rutherford, NJ — Karl and T C I entered their respective divisions of Saturday’s W.N. Reynolds Memorial for 3-year-old male trotters at The Meadowlands ranked as the top two contenders for August’s $1 million Hambletonian Stakes, and both solidified their standing with victories.

Karl won the first $34,250 Reynolds division by 1-1/2 lengths in 1:51, equaling his career best time. Bright Star finished second and French Kronos was third.

Three races later, T C I overcame rain and wind in his $34,750 division to win by 2-1/4 lengths in 1:53.1 over a track labeled good. Tony Adams S finished second and Caballero was third.

Both winners were sent off as 1-9 favorites.

In the opening division, Bright Star led the field to the opening quarter in :27.3 before driver Yannick Gingras put Karl, ranked No. 1 in Meadowlands announcer/analyst Ken Warkentin’s Road to the Hambletonian, in motion from third and took the lead in a :56.1 half. Nothing changed from there, with Karl hitting three quarters in 1:24.2 and stepping home in :26.3 to victory.

“I just let people settle (on the first turn),” Gingras said. “When you’re 1-9, just trying to keep him out of trouble, not have someone make a break in front of him, then march my way to the front and go from there.”

Undefeated in four races this season, Karl has won 13 of 14 career starts and earned $1.20 million for trainer Nancy Takter. He has captured eight in a row since his lone setback, which came by a nose against T C I, last October.

Karl, a 2023 Dan Patch Award winner, is owned by Christina and Nancy Takter, Black Horse Racing, Crawford Farms Racing, and Bender Sweden Inc. The son of Tactical Landing-Avalicious was bred by Crawford Farms.

In the second division, Ron Burke-trained T C I, the No. 2-ranked horse in the Road to the Hambletonian, methodically worked his way to the front with driver David Miller in a :57.2 half and remained in control, reaching three quarters in 1:26 and coming home in :27.1.

“Our plan was to trip him out, get him in a hole, but it really wasn’t developing around the first turn,” Miller said. “Everybody was just kind of floating out of there. There was one little hole in the first turn, but it closed up quickly, so I had to go on. But I thought he raced well. He finished up strong.”

Unbeaten in three races this year, T C I has won 13 of 15 career starts and earned $1.32 million. A 2023 O’Brien Award recipient, T C I is owned by Burke Racing Stable, Hatfield Stables, Knox Services Inc., and Weaver Bruscemi LLC. The son of Cantab Hall-Nicole’s Promise was bred by Concord Stud Farm.

In addition to the two Reynolds divisions for the boys, there were three splits for the fillies on Saturday at the Big M.

Sunkist Beauty won the first of the three $25,667 divisions for the sophomore female trotters by three lengths in a career-best 1:52.2 for driver/trainer Ake Svanstedt. St Pauli Girl finished second and Dolce Amara was third.

Sent off as the 3-5 favorite, Sunkist Beauty was third for the first half of the mile before moving for the front on the final turn and overtaking leader Cheval Rapide at the top of the stretch to win her seasonal debut. Sunkist Beauty, a daughter of Six Pack-Orange Bigi, is owned by Ake Svanstedt Inc. and Stall Kalmar Inc. She was bred by Kiefer Elite Bloodstock and Martin Michalik. She has won three of six career races and earned $110,583.

In the second division, 6-5 favorite Elista Hanover grabbed the lead after the opening quarter and never relinquished it as she extended her win streak to eight with a 3-1/2 length victory in 1:52.3. Spy Coast finished second and Slip Sliding Away was third. Returning Dan Patch Award-winner Soiree Hanover finished fourth in her seasonal debut.

David Miller drove Elista Hanover for trainer Annie Stoebe, who co-owns the filly with Lynn Curry and Philomena Curry. The daughter of International Moni-Evermore was bred by Hanover Shoe Farms. She has won eight of nine races this year and nine of 18 lifetime, earning $175,958.

The third division went to Buy A Round by 3-3/4 lengths in a career-best 1:53.2 on a track labeled sloppy. Honey’s Sweet finished second and Only One Cosmo was third.

Buy A Round, the 6-5 second choice, was driven by Andy McCarthy for trainer Noel Daley. The daughter of Walner-On Your Tab is owned by breeder Frederick Hertrich III. She has won two of three races this season and eight of 12 in her career, earning $390,933.

All three filly winners are eligible to August’s $500,000 Hambletonian Oaks at The Meadowlands.

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