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The Conscience of Thoroughbred Racing

NZ STAR PACER IN U.S. DEBUT

By Ken Weingartner, USTA Media

New Zealand-born Amazing Dream is ready to begin what her connections hope is an amazing journey in North America. Sent from Down Under to trainer Linda Toscano, the 6-year-old female pacer arrived in February with 24 wins — including 10 Group 1 races — and more than $1 million in earnings. She finished worse than third only five times in 48 starts.

On Saturday, Amazing Dream will make her North American debut in the $31,500 Fillies-and-Mares Open at The Meadowlands. She will start from post seven in a seven-horse field with Todd McCarthy in the sulky.

The mare, by Bettor’s Delight out of Christian Dreamer, was New Zealand’s 3-year-old Pacing Filly of the Year and left home as the second-richest stakes-earning mare in Australasian history. She has been owned since March 2021 by Enviro Stables, Richard Gutnick, Tom Pontone, and Joseph Lozito Jr.

In her final start Down Under, Amazing Dream, who was trained by Mark Purdon in New Zealand and his son Nathan in Australia, finished third against male rivals in the Hunter Cup. She has qualified twice in the U.S., with her most recent effort a 1:52.4 triumph at The Meadowlands. She paced her last quarter-mile in :26.2.

“She’s a pleasure,” Toscano said. “She really hasn’t done anything wrong. She’s fit right into our routine pretty much exactly like an American horse would. Nathan told me not to worry about her traveling or settling in; she’s got more frequent flyer miles than most people we know. She’s done a lot of traveling and settling into different places.

“Any time you have a mare that’s professional, that’s a good thing for me. She takes care of herself, and her work ethic seems really good. They say she can be a little keen, a little on the grabby side, but that’s OK; she wants to beat everybody. But for the most part, she’s just a professional. I’d say that’s the best part about her, her temperament.”

Amazing Dream is eligible to the ongoing Blue Chip Matchmaker Series at Yonkers Raceway, but with only two of five preliminary rounds remaining, the New Jersey-based Toscano decided to send the mare to The Meadowlands for her first race.

“We couldn’t make the (Matchmaker) final, so I thought it was better to race her here and get her started this way,” Toscano said. “It’s home.”

Amazing Dream, who knocked off the boys four times in major races Down Under, will have plenty of opportunities to tackle the sport’s top mares on the North American Grand Circuit when the time is right.

“She’s got everything,” Toscano said. “She has to step up and be able to go with the big girls. She raced against the boys down there, so we’re hoping. Her strength down there was distance. I think that’s the reason she was able to compete against the boys the way she did because her staying power was just amazing. Now, she will have to sprint. We’ll just take it one step at a time. She’s a good horse, and usually good horses find a way to win.”

Amazing Dream is the 5-2 morning-line second choice in her race Saturday at The Meadowlands. Another New Zealand-bred, Majorca, is the 9-5 favorite. Trained by Dylan Davis, the 7-year-old mare is 3-for-3 since arriving in the States.

Racing begins at 6:20 p.m. EDT at The Meadowlands. Saturday’s 13-race card also includes a $34,500 Open/Preferred Handicap Trot (race seven) in addition to the Fillies-and-Mares Open (race 12). TrackMaster past performances for all Big M cards can be found at the track’s website here.

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