On the racetrack, it was the Corey Callahan Show, as Callahan won four races -- and it would have been five if not for Tonato of Love going off-stride near the wire in the first race. Callahan is having a monster 2013 campaign and has asserted himself as one of the top drivers on harness racing’s biggest stage.
Among Friday's Meadowlands features was the third round of the Rags to Riches Series. After having victory snatched from his grasp in the first race, Callahan dusted himself off and climbed aboard the favored Cane Ridge (Cambest--Camus) in race two, the first Rags to Riches division.
A quick opener of :26.2 left little question of Callahan's intentions, though Laguna Beach found himself without a seat when the music quieted and he raced parked-out. A generous, :58.2 middle half breather left Cane Ridge the energy to sprint home in :27.2 with minimal effort to equal his career best of 1:52.1.
Doug Dilloian, Jr. has his charge in excellent form heading into next week's $60,850 final for owner Darius Oshidar of Wrightstown, N.J.
In the second Rags to Riches split, Cambassador (Cam’s Cark Shark--Absolutely Cam) rewarded his faithful followers with an impressive, forwardly placed romp. John Campbell picked up the mount tonight for owner-trainer Mark Silva and moved the winner to the front just after the quarter. From there on he endured nary an anxious moment guiding the slight favorite to a geared down score over double leg winner Hopskipanajump in 1:52.2.
Ice Machine (Muscles Yankee--Icy Pleasure) has developed into a solid top class trotter and he doesn't mind a little air. He drew a middle post in the $30,000 trotting feature and Callahan left for position, landing fourth in the early stages. The presence of heavy favorite Tall Cotton on the lead off a leisurely, :58 first half did not deter Ice Machine's brave, first-over assault. He wore down the favorite in late stretch and held off the late charge of Opening Night to prevail in 1:54.1.
Ice Machine is a graduate of the Bob Key academy for top horses, being part of a family Key has cultivated for several generations.
It was just one of three training wins on the night for Walt Carroll. He also sent out Spectator K for Mr. Key and Westside Lindy, who he and wife Beth own in partnership with Jonathan Klee Racing.
The distaff pacing feature was won by ... wait for it ... Corey Callahan! This one was with the good mare Monochromatic (Dream Away--Miss Ty) for Delaware connections trainer Dylan Davis and owners North Street Stables. It was an action-filled event for Monochromatic, used hard to make front well past a demanding :26 first quarter, then yielding to a well-meant Unred Hanover for a pocket breather. She mustered another move in deep stretch when called upon and prevailed by a neck in 1:51.2.
Racing will return with a 12-race program on Saturday featuring harness racing’s best bet, the $75,000 (guar.) Late Pick-4 with post time at 7:15 p.m., eastern.