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WESTERN JOE BACK IN BIG M WINNER’S CIRCLE

Saturday, November 14, 2020

Longtime fan favorite Western Joe worked his way into a live flow and got up after a thrilling stretch duel with Ana Afreet N to win the Saturday night feature at The Meadowlands, the $28,000 Preferred Handicap for pacers.
It was anything but easy for the 6-year-old gelded son of Western Ideal-Ante Fay, who departed from post 10 in a strong field for trainer Chris Choate. Filibuster Hanover, with his gaudy lifetime bankroll of $1.8 million, was sent to the gate as the 6-5 public choice and after driver Yannick Gingras asked for a quick burst of speed, cleared the top before the half, which was timed in :54.1.
Western Joe, winless in his last five Meadowlands starts, was now working his way into the outer flow, following fourth-over right behind the red-hot Ana Afreet N, who was searching for his fourth win in five starts.
At the head of the stretch, the field bunched up as Filibuster Hanover weakened. Ana Afreet A and Western Joe battled throughout the final eighth of a mile on the far outside, and at the wire, it was Western Joe, the winner of the 2018 Sam McKee Memorial, scoring his 28th win from 91 lifetime starts by a nose. The time for the mile was 1:49.4, and after being dismissed at odds of 10-1, ‘Joe’ paid $22.60 to win. Wes Delight finished third. Filibuster Hanover was eighth.
Western Joe, who now sports career earnings of $687,208 for owners Anthony Ruggeri and Richard Tosies, is heading for the Nov. 21 TVG Open Pace at The Big M.
BIG NIGHT AT THE WINDOWS: Betting was solid throughout the 13-race program, as a Fall Meet high of $2,823,647 was pushed through the windows.
The 20-cent Pick-6, with a $28,142 carryover serving as the catalyst, saw a total pool of $104,695. Those with winning tickets cashed in for $5,642.38 after seeing a sequence where the winner’s odds were 4-5, 5-1, 10-1, 6-5, 5-2 and 5-1.
Four races on the card saw action that exceeded $250,000, while betting was vigorous on the two Pick-4s, as the Early Pick took in $75,400 while the Late Pick saw $70,574 in action.
FINAL FOUR PREPS: Always A Miki (Always B Miki-Beach Gal) readied himself for next week’s Governor’s Cup by taking a 2-year-old colt and gelding pace in 1:52.3 for driver Dexter Dunn and trainer Nancy Takter as the 6-5 favorite, ending a personal seven-race losing streak in winning for fourth time from 12 starts.
Three Diamonds hopeful Notorious Pink sat a pocket trip behind JK Alwaysbalady before getting up at the wire in 1:53 in a 2-year-old filly pace as the 8-5 public choice. Driven by Tim Tetrick and trained by Tony Alagna, the daughter of Captaintreacherous-She’s A Hot Mess upped her lifetime stats to five wins in 12 tries.
A LITTLE MORE: The final stakes-laden card of the year takes place Saturday, Nov. 21 when $2.8 million in purses will be up for grabs on Fall Final Four/TVG Finals Night. … Todd McCarthy, Andy McCarthy, Dunn and George Napolitano Jr. accounted for eight of the winners on the card by winning two races apiece. … Racing resumes Friday at 7:15 p.m.

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