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Friday, September 10, 2021

On a night that saw six divisions of the Kindergarten Series for 2-year-olds of each sex and gait, Niki Hill was the most impressive winner Friday night at The Meadowlands, scoring in 1:51.1 in the second leg for 2-year-old fillies on the pace.

The Chris Ryder trainee remained unbeaten in three lifetime starts while lifting her career earnings to $47,291 for owner Tom Hill after leaving alertly from post eight in the 10-horse field with Dexter Dunn driving and reaching the quarter while parked in :28.

The 1-9 favorite sailed past the half in :56 and three-quarters in 1:23.3 before pacing her final quarter in :27.3 to report home a 3¼-length winner over Find Happiness. Hood Party was third.

A $155,000 Lexington Select Sales purchase, Niki Hill returned $2.10 to her backers. The time for the mile was three-fifths of a second slower than her lifetime best, which she set in Pennsylvania Sire Stakes action on Aug. 9 at Pocono Downs.

It was a big night for Ryder, as, in addition to Niki Hill, his I’ll Drink To That was over at Yonkers winning the $200,000 New York Sire Stakes Final for 3-year-old pacing colts. But the trainer didn’t miss his filly’s win.

“I was at The Meadowlands early and then zipped over to Yonkers,” said Ryder. “Niki Hill is terrific. We haven’t raced her much yet this year so we can concentrate on the bigger races later on. She’s in the eliminations for the She’s A Great Lady next week. Then, she’ll go to the Breeders Crown, Three Diamonds and Kindergarten Final.”

The daughter of Always B Miki-Road Bet is doing her best to fill the void for Hill and Ryder left by Party Girl Hill, whose career was cut short by an injury after winning 15 of 16 races a year ago. “Tom Hill was held up in England,” said Ryder, “so he asked me to find a top filly for him. I liked everything about Niki Hill. She’s a half-sister to Cattlewash, who won in 1:46.4 a couple of days before the sale. It feels good to make up for that loss.”

A LITTLE MORE: Dave Miller, Dunn, Todd McCarthy and Tyler Buter all recorded driving doubles on the card. … Izzy Estrada trained two to victory lane. ... All-source handle totaled $1,962,356. … Racing resumes Saturday at 6:20 p.m.

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