07/25/2015 10:59PM

Meadowlands: Split The House captures New Jersey Classic

Lisa Photo
Split The House and Randy Waples surged by in a career best 1:48 3/5.

Randy Waples gave up a night of racing at Mohawk but the trip worked out just fine as Split The House pulled off a mild upset in capturing the $200,000 Anthony Abbatiello New Jersey Classic at the Meadowlands on Saturday night.

Split The House left alertly to the front before the :26 4/5 opening quarter but yielded readily to 6-5 favorite Artspeak when that one regained off the opening bend. Artspeak waltzed to the half in :55 2/5 with Scott Zeron applying the brakes.

Pierce Hanover came up without cover but Artspeak accelerated in a major way sprinting  a :26 2/5 third quarter to keep the outside flow, that included second choice Dealt A Winner, at bay.

The outside flow lost interest but pocket-sitting Split The House was ready to battle and Randy Waples put him in gear and surged past the leader to score in a career best 1:48 3/5. Revenge Shark angled out and closed well for second ahead of stablemate Artspeak at the wire.

James Dean trains Split The House, a son of the late Rocknroll Hanover bred by Fair Winds Farm. Scot Horner, Peter Milligan and Dean own the colt that won for the seventh time in just nine career races.

Dean captured his third New Jersey Classic having previously won with Panther Hanover and Big Jim.

“We couldn’t ask for a better trip,” said James (Friday) Dean.

“He’s got all the parts,” said Randy Waples in the winner’s circle.

Dean suggested the next major start for Split The House would be the Battle of the Brandywine on August 22 at Mohegan Sun Pocono.

Earlier in the evening Wicked Little Minx overcame post 10 and captured the $100,000 Miss New Jersey for 3-year-old pacing fillies bred in the Garden State. Brett Miller was able to get away quickly and find a hole in the early stages as race favorite The Show Returns took some heat getting the top in the :26 1/5 quarter.

Stacia Hanover came hard on the backstretch and The Show Returns regained quickly enough to yield once again to Stacia Hanover. The half in :54 was taxing and Miller pulled Wicked Little Minx, a filly by the late Rocknroll Hanover, to the outside. The Nancy Johansson-trained lass moved towards the leader through the 1:22 2/5 three quarters and then shifted into high gear in the stretch to score in a career best 1:50 mile. Stacia Hanover held second with The Show Returns gaining clearance inside late for third.

“She’s a big strong filly,” said Brett Miller after the race. “After the way she raced in the Lynch I wasn’t worried about going up without cover but a hole opened early.”

Trainer Johansson, still waiting for last year’s Horse of the Year J K She’salady to emerge this year, has a sleeper in Wicked Little Minx. “Once she gets rolling she’ll get there,” Johansson said of Wicked Little Minx. Courant A B from Stockholm owns Wicked Little Minx.

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