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Opulent Yankee takes Big M feature
Friday, March 09, 2018 - by Dave Little, Meadowlands Media Relations

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East Rutherford, NJ --- Driver Andy Miller drove patiently in Friday night’s (March 9) feature at the Meadowlands, and when he asked Opulent Yankee for trot in the stretch, the Julie Miller trainee responded in a big way, taking the $20,000 Preferred Handicap in a season’s-best 1:52.4.

Lisa photo
Opulent Yankee and driver Andy Miller take the Friday night feature at the Meadowlands, the $20,000 Preferred Handicap for trotters.

Coupled in the wagering due to common ownership (Jeff Gural’s Little E group owns a piece of both), Opulent Yankee and Gural Hanover were sent to the gate as the heavy 1-5 favorite. Gural Hanover settled on the lead at the quarter, with Opulent Yankee sitting the pocket and 2-1 second choice Melady’s Monet racing in the three-hole.

In an abbreviated seven-horse field with the best three horses racing on the front end, there was no movement as Gural Hanover clicked off fractions of :27.4, :56.3 and 1:24.4. Melady’s Monet, racing at the Big M for the first time since April of last year, made the first move, tipping off the rail for the stretch drive while shifting into high gear. With an eighth of a mile to go, Andy Miller swung Opulent Yankee to the outside and easily went by a tired Gural Hanover to record a one-length win. Melady’s Monet was second in what was a good-looking Meadowlands return. Gural Hanover held third.

The winner returned $2.60 to his backers for owners Little E LLC, Arthur Geiger and David Stolz, and now has three victories this year in four tries. Lifetime, the 7-year-old gelded son of Muscles Yankee has won 21 of 85 starts and earned $411,295.

HISTORY MAKER: Seventy-four-year-old Terry Morgan guided 36-1 shot Master Of The Hill to victory lane in the third race, and by doing so, became the first driver in Meadowlands history to win a race in both 1976 (the track’s opening year) and 2018.

A LITTLE MORE: Prolific pools and payouts continued in the Big M’s popular multi-leg wagers. The 20-cent Survivor Pick-10 attracted $16,711 in action, and with one patron who was wagering in Canada ending up as the only seven-leg survivor, the payout was $18,447.56 after the conversion of American vs. Canadian funds. … The Pick-5 saw $48,126 in play and even though three favorites scored during the sequence, a handsome $4,429.35 was the return. … A total of $87,607 was poured into the Pick-4 pot, with the those holding winning tickets walking away with $4,131.05. … All-source wagering totaled $2,342,323. … Once again, the Late 20-cent Jackpot Super High-Five failed to result in a single-ticket winner, upping the carryover to $132,042. … Yannick Gingras drove four winners on the card after winning three last Saturday. All seven horses were the betting favorite. ... Racing resumes Saturday at 6:35 p.m.

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