Jody Jamieson made the trip down from Woodbine to drive the red-hot trotter to a career-best-equaling 1:51.3 score. Sent off the slight favorite over runner-up Winning Mister, Mister Herbie paid $5 to win the sixth race co-feature. Hot Shot Blue Chip picked up the show money.
Mister Herbie posted his fourth win in five starts this season for trainer Jeff Gillis, who co-owns the 4-year-old gelding with Mac Nichol of Burlington, Ont.
He entered the Cutler off a thrilling upset over 2011 Horse of the Year San Pail in the Glorys Comet final on April 7 at Woodbine. Mister Herbie improved his earnings to $557,020 with the Cutler victory, his 14th in 29 career starts.
“I didn’t mind being first-up at all,” Jamieson said. “This horse is an incredible animal. I really thought that the only way he could get beat was if something like that [a tough first-over trip] happened. He even surprised me. This horse was just unbelievable beating San Pail, something that’s not an everyday occurrence and tonight he just dug in deep from a terrible trip and showed his true grit.
“This game is all about trips,” Jamieson continued, “and Timmy [Tetrick and Winnign Mister] just got to glide out of there and just go by the half in 56.1, which is crawling for these horses. I was first-up and maneuvering the whole three-eighths before that. To show his mettle by digging in that last five-eighths of a mile, he’s just an incredible horse."
The Cutler honors the memory of the late horse owner and New York City restaurateur whose culinary legacy includes Carmine's, Virgil's Real BBQ, Artie's Delicatessen and Gabriela's. Cutler died of a heart attack in 1997, at the age of 53.
“Artie was a great guy,” said New Meadowlands Racetrack LLC Chairman Jeff Gural. “He loved the Meadowlands and I wish he was here, because I’m sure he‘d be my partner in this venture. He was a great restaurateur and a great friend. We have 80 or 90 of his friends who still gather here. Even after 15 years, we still have a great crowd who comes here to honor his memory.
“It was a great race,” Gural continued. “I really appreciate the connections coming down here. I’m disappointed San Pail didn’t come, but obviously, Canada sent their A-team down to show us what they could do. I’m glad they did. The horse acquitted himself in spectacular fashion.”
Golden Receiver surpassed $1 million in career earnings as he wired the field in the $180,000 Graduate final for pacers later on the card. Driven by Brian Sears, Golden Receiver rolled to a three-length tally over Bettor Sweet in 1:48.2. Foiled Again was third.
“With that caliber of horses, I definitely wanted to cross over before the turn because he has that kind of speed,” Sears said. “The way he does it every week is amazing, how sharp he is. He does all the work; he’s never looking for a trip. All the credit goes to Mark and the caretakers of the horse.
“I did get a couple of quarters there and I knew I was going to have to push off from there. We just hit the gas and tried to outlast them. He’s sharp as ever, that’s for sure."
Golden Receiver [$7.20] also captured the Presidential final in January. He is on his way to a peak season with nine wins in 11 starts thus far in 2012.
Mark Harder trains the 7-year-old Village Jove gelding for Stable 45, Richard Taylor, Stephen Springer and Nina Simmonds.
“I think Brian’s trained him to do that [come off the gate like that],” Harder said. “He’s obviously blossomed this year. He is better than ever.”