07/15/2017 9:00PM

Meadowlands: Walner wows the masses with stakes-record effort in Stanley Dancer

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Derick Giwner
Walner is quickly making up for lost time earlier this season

Walner could not have been more impressive in his second start of 2017, winning the first of two Stanley Dancer Memorial divisions for 3-year-old colt trotters on Saturday at the Meadowlands in a stakes-record clocking of 1:50 2/5.  Tim Tetrick would also guide Long Tom to a 1:52 4/5 decision in the other flight.

Starting from the outside post eight in the $159,000 dash, Walner was up to take over from Sortie (Andrew McCarthy) past the 28 second opening quarter.  Walner would race unchallenged through a half in 55 1/5, but a first-over Devious Man (Andy Miller) got to within a length and a quarter of him at the 1:23 1/5 three-quarters.  Devious Man would then drop into the pocket for a tuck after Sortie broke while sitting in the pocket.

In the lane Devious Man tried to maintain contact with Walner, but it was no use as the defending Dan Patch Award winner for the group powered away late to win by 3 1/4 lengths.  Bill's Man (Corey Callahan) finished in the third spot.

"He's an amazing animal," said winning trainer Linda Toscano.  "He really does love what he's doing out there.  He thinks it's fun.  I'm going to fly under the radar the most I can.  We'll take it race-by-race, we'll take care of the horse, and we'll hope he takes care of us.

"Absolutely no racing (before the Hambletonian), and probably a real easy week for him this week.  I train him like a Thoroughbred.  He seems to respond and gets ready off very little work, and that's the way we're going to keep it."

Toscano trains the victorious Chapter Seven colt for owner Ken Jacobs.  Walner is now nine-for-ten in his career, and he has earned $570,037.  The 1-9 choice, Walner paid $2.20 to win.

What The Hill (David Miller) showed the way through fractions of 28 1/5, 57, and 1:25 2/5 in the other $161,500 flight, but Long Tom and Tetrick rallied up the inside following a pocket trip to win by a length.  Meteoric (Joe Bongiorno) came in third.

"We're going to face Walner, so that's going to be tough, but my horse is going to go into the Hambo as good as he can be," offered Marcus Melander, who trains the Muscle Hill colt for Amg Stable Oy.  "We had steel shoes on him last year, and this year we have aluminum.  He grew a lot over the winter, and I couldn't be happier with how he developed."

A winner of a Grand Circuit stakes event at The Red Mile in 2016, Long Tom is four-for-five this year and boosted his career bankroll to $339,200.  The 3-5 favorite, Long Tom returned $3.20 to win.