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CONTROL THE MOMENT TAKES MEADOWLANDS PACE

Saturday, July 16, 2016

It was like he never left.
Brian Sears, the dominant driving force at the Meadowlands for the first decade of the new millennium, returned to his old stomping grounds Saturday night and won the $732,050 Crawford Farms Meadowlands Pace for 3-year-olds at the Meadowlands in 1:48.2 with Control The Moment, a horse he drove for the first time last week in the Pace Elimination.
“It was great to get a spin with him last week,” said Sears, who also won the 2005 Pace with Rocknroll Hanover. “And I was real happy with the post draw.”
After winning a week ago from well off the pace, Sears had Control The Moment on the go early from post 3 and was up in the early fray as Lyons Snyder hit the quarter in :26.3. Racing Hill, the Tony Alagna trainee who opted to take a bye into the final, surged to the lead at the three-eighths before yielding the top to a headstrong Control The Moment, who had the lead at the half in :53.2 and three-quarters in 1:21.2.
Control The Moment looked home free after opening up a 2½-length edge at the head of the stretch but got leg weary nearing the wire as Racing Hill came back for more. In the final sixteenth, the 8-5 second choice was coming at the 3-5 favorite, but came up a nose short at the finish. Check Six was third.
“The trip worked out perfect,” said Sears. “And I think the fractions were pretty comfortable. But it was pretty exciting at the wire.”
Control The Moment returned $3.40 to win for trainer Brad Maxwell and owners Control The Moment Stable of Philadelphia, and has now won 11 of 16 lifetime starts, good for earnings just shy of $900,000.
ALL SYSTEMS HAM-GO: Southwind Frank worked out an ideal second-over trip and rolled to an easy 1¼-length win over Sutton in the first of two $153,250 divisions of the Stanley Dancer Memorial, the final major prep for the Aug. 6 Hambletonian for 3-year-old trotters.
The Ron Burke-trained, Yannick Gingras-driven son of Muscle Hill returned $2.20 as the 1-9 public choice and completed the 1 1/8-mile distance in 2:06.4  
The winner did nothing to weaker his stranglehold as the Hambo favorite, though Burke commented in the winner’s cirlcle: “He was alright. He wasn’t excellent.”
Marion Marauder ($4.00) won the other Dancer division by 2¾ lengths over Bar Hopping on the front end in 2:08.1, changing tactics from his win from well off the pace in a Big M Open on July 8.
“It seemed like they were going to give him respect (racing on the front end) and it worked out,” said Mike Keeling, who trains the horse with his wife, Paula Wellwood.”We’ll find out in three weeks just how good he is.”
FAST LASS: Lady Shadow set a new world-record at a mile and an eighth when she won the $223,150 Golden Girls in 2:00.3. … All-source wagering totaled $4,205,981. … Racing resumes at the Big M Friday at 7:15 p.m.

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