02/19/2012 2:02AM

Itrustyou remains perfect in 2012 with 13th straight score

Lisa Photo
Itrustyou (#2) digs in to fend off Special T Rocks in the Exit 16W final at the Meadowlands.

In what has become customary at the Meadowlands, Itrustyou made his weekly trip to the winner’s circle, his 13th consecutive win, in the $74,600 Exit 16W for 4-year-old horses and geldings. The gelded son of Third Straight headlined the action on a night when two other stakes were contested and the Meadowlands recorded their highest handle of the meet - $3,144,519.

Special T Rocks was sent to the front in the Exit 16W but only held the lead past the opening quarter of :27 1/5. Itrustyou came to call with a quick brush and assumed command well before the half mile marker in :54 2/5. On a track that was clearly playing against speed throughout the first half of the card, it was a bold move.

“I wasn’t against being on the front tonight, but if I had the choice I would have rather been second- or third-over,” said Yannick Gingras, driver of Itrustyou.

On the front he was, with company in the form of a first-over Fearless Diablo past three quarters in 1:23 2/5. However, Itrustyou scooted away at the head of the lane and appeared to be an easy winner before a strong late charge from Special T Rocks closed the winning margin to a head at the wire in 1:50.2.

“I was kind of coasting. I thought I was home free and Daryl (Bier – Special T Rocks) almost caught me by surprise a little bit. I think if I would have called on my horse a little bit earlier, he would have given me even more. He raced against the bias tonight and he got it done,” said Gingras.

Bier, who was happy with his second-place finish, only wishes he could have gotten Special T Rocks going a bit sooner. “When he is bottled up in the pocket he doesn’t want to go, but when you show him race track he really gets full of himself. He just picked it up too late,” said Bier.

With two series sweeps at the Meadowlands and 13 consecutive wins under his belt for trainer Ron Burke, Itrustyou has earned over $110,000 through the first six weeks of 2012. The Burke Racing Stable LLC gelding is expected to head up to Woodbine Racetrack next Saturday for the first leg of the Cam Fella series.

Aquarius Final

The stakes festivities began with the $57,600 Aquarius final for 4-year-olds. Camaes Fellow was hustled off the gate through a :27 2/5 opening quarter and did battle with the heavily favored Westwardho Hanover past a sizzling half of :54 2/5 over a track rated good due to some rain that fell during the first few races.

Approaching the super-fast 1:21 4/5 three-quarter call, Camaes Fellow and Westwardho Hanover continued their private duel, but the trailers were catching up. Great Vintage and Rock’em were making their way off the cones and loomed a major threat.

When the mud settled, it was Rock’em and driver Tim Tetrick surging to the front over Great Vintage and a rocky-gaited Westwardho Hanover in a 1:50 mile.

“I thought I could get a good piece of it, and with the big speed duel they had, it worked out well,” said Tetrick, who thought the 4-year-old would have a nice year competing against winners-over type horses at Chester and Yonkers.

Regardless of his future, Rockem, who earned over $200k as a 3-year-old, started his years as an older horse off right for owner Jeffrey Bamond and trainer PJ Fraley.

Junior Trendsetter

There was plenty of movement on the engine in the $58,500 Junior Trendsetter for 3-year-old colts and geldings.

Social Network and Take A Walk took turns battling for the lead through early fractions of :27 3/5 and :54 2/5. It unfolded with Social Network giving way for the pocket before quarter moving back to the front. Then it was Take A Walk who brushed to command at the half and led the field past three quarters in 1:22 4/5.

Once again the hot early pace was setting up the closers and LLC Delight was bearing down on the leaders, with Eastwood Blue Chip, who was actually parked past the quarter before settling in fourth, in close attendance second on the rim.

As Take A Walk began to throw in some funky steps through the lane, LLC Delight wore him down, but Eastwood Blue Chip pounced on both of them to take home Trendsetter honors in 1:52 1/5.

“Everything was perfect,” said winning driver Dan Dube. He continued, “They went fast fractions and I was second over; he won easily.”

Luck truly played a hand in the win. Winning owner-trainer Eric Ell came to own the horse by strange circumstance.

“Eric was bidding on the horse at the sale and he was scratching his neck. They took it for a bid,” said co-owner John Emmons on how he came to own the gelded son of Dragon Again.

Eastwood Blue Chip is now perfect in three 2012 starts.

Around the Meadowlands

YANNICK GINGRAS will be racing at Yonkers Raceway on Saturdays when the Levy series begins on March 24.

“For the Levy, I’ll be over at Yonkers to drive Foiled Again,” said Gingras, who will be taking on a heavy workload and paying hefty gas bills as he shuttles between tracks.

“I’ll be racing at Chester from Sundays to Thursdays, the Meadowlands on Fridays, and Yonkers on Saturdays,” said Gingras.

SATURDAY’S HANDLE of over $3 million was the most money wagered at the Meadowlands since Hambletonian Day in 2011. It was the track’s second $3 million night in 2012, a mark they only reached three times in all of 2011.

RAGS TO RICHES action highlights a 10-race card at the Meadowlands on Thursday. Four 10-horse fields will be offered as the lower-level horses battle for their chance to reach the next round and ultimately the $125,000-plus final in three weeks.

THE NEXT ROUND OF SERIES ACTION gets underway at the Meadowlands on the week of March 1. The Overbid for Fillies and Mares, and the Four Leaf Clover for 3- to 5-year-old pacers highlight the upcoming action.