East Rutherford, NJ — Highalator and Guardian Angel As extended their respective winning streaks in style Friday night (June 14) in the co-features at The Meadowlands.
Highalator won for the fifth time in six Meadowlands starts this year, displaying some versatility in coming from off the pace to win leg three of the Golden Receiver series for pacers for driver Ricky Still and trainer Jenny Bier.
The 5-year-old son of Somebeachsomewhere-Higher And Higher was away fourth in the early going as the 2-1 second choice — and 2018 Sam McKee Memorial winner — Western Joe hit the quarter in :26.2. After a rated second fraction in :28.2, Still moved Highalator to the outside at the half and went after Western Joe while parked, before poking a nose in front at the three-quarters in 1:22.3.
Highalator then did what Highalator does, sprinting his final quarter in :26 to win his third straight at the Big M and fourth in a row overall. It was a neck back to a fast-closing — but non-threatening — Classy Dragon. Trump Nation finished third. Western Joe weakened and finished eighth.
The winner returned $4.20 as the public’s choice and the final time of 1:48.3 equaled Highalator’s season’s-best effort and gave him eight wins in 16 seasonal starts. Lifetime, he’s won 29 of 62 and banked $429,028.
“I think he’s the best older pacer in training,” said Bier. “He can do it any way you want. He’s very easy on himself and he doesn’t get tired. He’s a happy horse and he loves to race.”
A week from Saturday at The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono, a meeting with McWicked awaits in the Ben Franklin.
Guardian Angel As, off a 1:51 score in the Maxie Lee at Harrah’s Philadelphia, faced a deep field in the third leg of the Mr Muscleman for trotters, and in workmanlike fashion, scored in 1:52.1 to win his third straight after starting his season with a fourth-place finish in the Big M’s Cutler. It was his first-ever Meadowlands win in six tries.
Tim Tetrick, who guided four winners on the program, handled the 5-year-old son of Archangel-Provide As patiently, sitting at the rail fifth past the quarter before going on a steady, constructive stroll after leader Pinkman. Guardian Angel As, who returned $3.00 as the 1-2 favorite, cleared the top shortly after the half but had to contend with Cruzado Dela Noche, who had followed the live cover of the eventual winner down the backside before inching closer while racing first-over.
Through the stretch, it became apparent that whatever Cruzado Dela Noche brought, Guardian Angel As brought a little bit more, and at wire he was a half-length to the good. Pinkman finished third.
“He was very good,” said Tetrick of the Anette Lorentzon trainee. “Especially for being off three weeks. It was a very good effort.”
The win was Guardian Angel As’ 19th from 44 career starts, good for earnings of $614,780.