by Frank Carulli
July 15, 2019
Brian Sears figured if he could keep 3-year-old pacer Best In Show hidden in the bushes long enough Saturday night, he might be able to execute a sneak attack on his highly-visible competition in the $682,650 Crawford Farms Meadowlands Pace.
Best In Show tracked the race favorites in fourth, found a rail seam in the stretch and prevailed in four-horse blanket finish at 27-1 odds in the track’s signature race.
He had to run fast to do it, but did so in 1:48 on the one-mile oval. He showed good speed off the gate, but backed off 4-to-5 pace setter Captain Crunch (Scott Zeron), pocket-sitter Workin Ona Mystery (Tim Tetrick) and 5-2 second choice Bettor’s Wish (Dexter Dunn), who was left to grind first-over a long way.
The photo-finish camera revealed Best In Show won by a head over Bettor’s Wish, another head in front of Workin Ona Mystery and another head ahead of Captain Crunch, the Pepsi North America Cup champion who blazed the first 3/4s of a mile in the Pace in 1:19.3.
“I knew they were racing pretty good,” said Sears, a Hall of Fame driver and three-time Meadowlands Pace winner. “It was all the horses to beat and they were going at it. I was pretty content. I wanted to sneak him around there a little bit. I got a little opening, and he fired for me.”
Best In Show, who raced in the non-winners of two condition in May, paid $56.20 to win and keyed exotic payouts of $217 for the exacta and $819 for the trifecta.
The $341,325 winner’s share more than tripled his earnings for Richard and Joanne Young, who own and bred the son of Bettor’s Delight/Put On A Show. It also bolstered the resume of trainer Linda Toscano, the first female to win the Hambletonian (Market Share 2012), the first to be inducted to the Hall of Fame, and now the first to win the Meadowlands Pace.
“This is another one I never dreamed of,” Toscano said. “This is home for me. This is awesome.”
The Pace was one of nine, six-figures stakes on the card.
Tim Tetrick drove three winners – Crystal Fashion ($48.40) in the $450,000 Hambletonian Maturity, Stonebridge Soul ($8.20) in the Mistletoe Shalee and odds-on favorite Shartin N in the appropriately named $179,500 Golden Girls.
Greenshoe (Sears) re-established himself as the favorite in next months’ Hambletonian with a powerful 1:50.1 score in the $153,000 Stanley Dancer Memorial. Swandre the Giant (David Miller) won the other division in 1:51.3.
Lather Up (Montrell Teague), winner of the Graduate Series at the Big M in a world-record 1:46 two weeks ago, followed suit with a front-end score in the 1-1/8-mile, $423,000 William Haughton Memorial in 2:01.1.
Odds-on choices Evident Beauty (David Miller) and Millies Possession (Dunn) ran the final quarter mile in :27 and :27.2, respectively, to win in their division of the Delvin Miller Memorial Trot for 3-year-old fillies.