07/09/2016 9:32PM

Meadowlands: Musical Rhythm victorious in Graduate Trot final

Lisa Photo
Smart handling by John Campbell aided Musical Rhythm in his Graduate Series final triumph

Hall of Famer John Campbell had to make a critical decision with Musical Rhythm past the half while on the lead, and that move likely preserved the son of Cantab Hall well enough to propel him to victory in the $250,000 Graduate Series Trot final at The Meadowlands on Saturday night. Sent off as a 5-1 shot after starting from post ten, Musical Rhythm won for the 12th time in 14 starts, setting a personal-best clocking of 1:51 2/5 in the process.

Action was hot and heavy in the early stages as Wings Of Royalty pushed off sharply from the rail, forcing even-money choice Maestro Blue Chip to take a seat. Crazshana and Muscial Rhythm, from posts nine and ten, respectively, also moved quickly at the start. Crazshana had the lead before the 27 4/5 opening quarter but parked the winner another eighth before releasing.

Musical Rhythm controlled the pace at the 55 4/5 half, but Wings Of Royalty and driver Corey Callahan aggressively moved out and went full throttle to wrest the lead away from Musical Rhythm. Campbell didn't lose contact at that time, but Wings Of Royalty was winging literally through a 27 3/5 third quarter and opened ground in the homestretch.

Midway down the lane, Campbell pulled again with Musical Rhythm, and the son of Cantab Hall responded in a big way to surge by and draw clear. A solid battle ensued for the place spot, with longshot Centurion ATM flying late for the place honor, and Crazshana coming along the pylons for third money.

"This little guy amazes me," said Ben Baillargeon, his trainer and co-owner along with Santo and Nunzio Vena and Claude Hamel. "You have to be little careful with him in the turn, and that's why John (Campbell) let the other horse go. But when he got in the stretch he really swelled up."

The victory pushed Musical Rhythm's 2016 earnings to $276,823.