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‘DIAMOND’ MUSCLES HIS WAY TO THIRD STRAIGHT BIG M FEATURE

Friday, December 21, 2018

It would be hard to dispute that Muscle Diamond is the top trotter at the Meadowlands right now, as the Brett Bittle trainee won his third consecutive Preferred Handicap at the Big M Friday night despite not having raced in 35 days.
The 6-year-old son of Muscle Hill-Windylane Hanover, who ran his overall win streak to five, did not have the complete confidence of the wagering public despite his gaudy resume. Trolley, who was in search of his fourth straight Big M score, was sent to the gate as the 4-5 favorite, likely due in large part to the fact that all three of his recent wins came while Muscle Diamond was on the shelf.
With some aggressive Marcus Miller handling, Trolley made the lead just after a sizzling opening quarter of :26.3. David Miller was content to sit a five-hole with Muscle Diamond and did not vacate the rail until the five-eighths with plenty of work to do.
But he was up to the task.
Muscle Diamond took aim at Trolley and gradually chipped away at that one’s edge but was still a length behind at the head of the stretch, but at the eighth pole, David Miller hit the gas pedal and Muscle Diamond responded with wicked late trot on the way to an easy 3-length win in 1:52.1. Cash Me Out, a 14-1 long shot, outkicked Trolley for the place spot.
As the 2-1 second choice in the wagering, Muscle Diamond returned $6.00 to win for owners C. Keller III, C. Keller IV, E. Bittle and B. Bittle. He is now seven-for-13 this year, while lifetime, he’s won 19-of-53 and earned $775,199.
SHOW ME THE MONET: Earlier on the card, David Miller guided another outstanding trotter, Melady’s Monet, to his second straight Meadowlands win since coming back from a six-month layoff.
The 9-year-old gelded son of Revenue S-Keystone Melady, a lifetime earner of more than $1.3 million, sailed past Tuonoblu Rex in mid-stretch on the way to a 1-length score in 1:53.1 as the 6-5 favorite in the non-winners of $15,000 event.
Could he be headed for the Preferred Handicap and a date with Muscle Diamond down the road?
A LITTLE MORE: For the second straight night, there was a single winning ticket in the 20-Cent Survivor Pick-10. That player, who made it through eight legs, cashed in for a hefty $14,117. … Multiple drivers had multiple wins on the card: David Miller, Yannick Gingras and Corey Callahan all had three while Brett Miller scored twice. … All-source wagering on the 14-race card totaled $2,468,454. … Racing resumes Saturday night with another huge 14-race program. The first race goes at 7:15 p.m.

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