05/30/2015 10:20PM

Meadowlands: Artspeak highlights NJSS finals

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Artspeak will likely head to the North America Cup for his next start.

Artspeak and driver Scott Zeron were the stars of a New Jersey Sire Stakes championship night at the Meadowlands. The evening featured four $100K finals for the sophomore set of both gaits and sexes and the three-year-old pacing colt was brilliant scoring in a career best 1:48 4/5 mile for trainer Tony Alagna.

Artspeak, now undefeated in two starts made a huge move for the front on the backstretch and just kept the peddle down easily defeating Gokudo Hanover and Revenge Shark.

“I love this horse,” said Zeron.

Trainer Tony Alagna who campaigned champion Captaintreacherous has a new star.

“He’s more like a sports car when you put him into gear,” said Alagna, who suggested the colt would next go north for the North America Cup trials in two weeks.

In the New Jersey Sire Stakes final for three-year-old pacing fillies, Hall of Famer John Campbell pulled off the biggest upset of the night as 40-1 shot The Show Returns collared Stacia Hanover nearing the wire for her first victory as a sophomore. The sister to champion Put On A Show had been winless in three starts entering the final but was an improved filly on this night.

“Chris changed the bridle and changed her shoes,” said John Campbell, referring to trainer Chris Ryder. “I think that tricked her into finishing better.

The Show Returns came out of a three-hole on the final turn and overpowered Stacia Hanover, herself a game runner-up after a coverless journey, in a 1:51 career best.

On the trotting side of the ledger, Mission Brief scored for the second time in as many starts winning the $100K event for sophomore fillies in a pedestrian 1:54 3/5 mile. Heralded all of her two-year-old season due to her magnificent speed, driver Yannick Gingras was hardly excited about the filly in his post race critique.

Mission Brief encountered longshot Model Behavior after cutting the pace on the final turn and that filly put a head in front of the odds-on favorite. “That’s all she could go,” said Gingras about Mission Brief. “But I still felt she was going to win the race.”

Gingras suggested that a break in the schedule should give trainer Ron Burke time to correct the issues that are clearly keeping Mission Brief from the level of speed she flashed as a juvenile.

Gingras returned with a much faster effort in the New Jersey Sire Stakes colt final guiding Canepa Hanover to a lifetime best 1:51 1/5 mile in his first race behind the Muscle Hill colt. Trainer Jimmy Takter enjoyed a one-two finish with French Laundry finishing second. Race favorite Guess Whos Back was three wide through the first turn but made a break past the quarter and lost any chance.

“The track is really fast, but this is a quality horse,” said Gingras. “Jimmy told me he had this horse as good as he can get him.”

Canepa Hanover, a $300,000 yearling purchase, won for only the second time in 10 career starts but did so in effortless fashion. After reaching the quarter in 28 flat, he cut rated fractions of 56 2/5 and 1:24 before cruising a final quarter in 27 1/5 under little encouragement.