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Speed asserted his status as the top free for all pacer at the Meadowlands with a decisive score in the $50,000 opening round of the Presidential Series on Saturday night.


With Ron Pierce in tow, Winbak Speed came first up to easily clear the lead from Maltese Artist entering the stretch and drew off to a three-length tally in 1:50.2. Shark Gesture moved three wide on the final turn and rallied for second, while Special Report finished a length behind in third. Winbak Speed paid $3. The 6-year-old pacer was a sharp $30,000 claim by trainer Wayne Givens on Jan. 21, 2008 at Dover Downs. The son of Village Jove was originally a $15,000 SUNY Morrisville yearling purchase. Winbak Speed hit the board in 17 of 30 starts in 2008, winning seven races and $173,080. His most impressive race of the year was a 1:49.2 romp in the $32,500 Delaware Special on Dec. 15.


Winbak Speed carried that momentum to the Meadowlands, where he has now posted two wins and a second in three starts. In addition to the Presidential, he finished a nose behind Boulder Creek in heavy fog on Dec. 27 and rolled to a four-length win over Soul Chaser in 1:50.2 on Jan. 3.


In a three-way photo finish, Beau Rivage caught Psilvuheartbreaker and Noble Falcon to win the first Presidential division in 1:50.2.


Noble Falcon seized command off the gate and locked up with Soul Chaser down the backstretch in a brisk :54.3 half. Noble Falcon rebuffed his challenger on the final turn, just as Psiluvuheartbreaker moved three wide and began to close in. Psiluvuheartbreaker eventually gained the advantage but could not hold off the late rally of driver Eric Goodell and Beau Rivage as they soared from last to first by a nose.


“Peter (trainer Peter Tritton) just said to race him off the back,” Goodell said. “I got one good brush down the stretch. He was pretty easy to drive. I think he has a little getting used to the big track.”


Beau Rivage has now won 13 of 70 career starts. Peter Tritton trains the 7-year-old son of Village Jasper for Harry Von Knoblauch of Monee, Ill.


“We haven’t been having much luck at the Meadowlands,” said Tritton, who picked up his first win at the track. “My horses are as good as they should be, but it’s a different style of racing here than down at Delaware. I knew the horse was good and I’m not surprised he won. It just takes some getting used to the track.”


The three-week Presidential Series culminates in a $125,000 final on Saturday, Jan/ 24. (Meadowlands)