by Frank Carulli
April 30, 2019
The late daily double at the Meadowlands April 13 returned $328, but to Nutley, N.J., resident Russell Slader, the winning combination of Prophet Blue Chip ($13.80 win, $6 place) and Camwiser ($23 win, $11.20 place) paid a lot more.
Slader won a record $43,200 grand prize in the World Harness Handicapping Challenge after he wagered $50 to win and place on both runners to catapult to the top of the 108-player field.
The WHHC required contestants to wager a minimum of $30 and maximum of $100 on eight races at the Meadowlands and one mandatory race at the Big M and at Buffalo Raceway.
Slader launched his winning rally with a $40 win-place bet on Sweet Rock ($51, $13.20) in the eighth race at the Meadowlands, but he still needed the late daily double to accumulate a $2,518 contest bankroll and fend off defending champion Jim Videtic of Willowick, Ohio, for the title.
Videtic was leading most of the way and held the second and third spots heading into the final race. He wagered $100 place on Camwiser to lock up second place on his first entry and finished seventh with his second entry, good for $23,760 in total prize money.
The top 10 finishers shared in the record $108,000 prize pool after competing in weekly qualifiers throughout North America prior to the final.
Joining Slader and Videtic in the money were: Arch Glenn of Columbus, OH (3rd place, $1,735 bankroll, $16,200 prize); Rocco DiBello of Ontario, Canada (4th place, $1,619 bankroll, $10,800 prize); Tim Platt of Little Falls, N.J. (5th place, $1,496 bankroll, $5.400 prize); Scott Hall of Herkimer, N.Y. (6th place, $1,302 bankroll, $2,160 prize), Matt Minger of New Lenox, IL (8th place, $1,232 bankroll, $2,160 prize); Nick Montemurro of Bogota, N.J. (9th place, $1,191 bankroll, $2,160 prize); and Todd Cross of Seaman, OH (10th place, $1,030 bankroll, $2,160 prize).
Contestants had the luxury of betting into large pools at the Meadowlands, which handled at least $2.5 million on 29 of its first 32 live racing days this year.
A pair of series finals for 3-year-old colts and geldings headlined the Big M card last Saturday. Goes Down Smooth ($8.80, Tim Tetrick) seized the moment in the $54,500 Walner final for trotters when 2-to-5 stable-mate Final Claim broke stride on the lead. Then in the $58,500 Wiggle It Jiggleit pace, Goes Down Smooth ($15.60, Andy Miller) tracked a torrid pace in the pocket, got past favorite Dealer’s Table and held off a late rush by Stone Hanover to prevail.
Miller ranks third in the Meadowlands driver standings with 49 wins, but Yannick Gingras entered the week as the runaway leader with 91.