by Garnet Barnsdale
While many eyes were on returnee Ariana G this week – and she lived up to her billing — there was a sophomore trotting colt that made his seasonal debut that caused a buzz by trotting to a season’s record 1:52.1 mile at the Meadowlands Friday night.
Long Tom, a Muscle Hill colt out of the Windsongs Legacy mare Ilia, went postward as the 4-5 favorite in a $20,000 New Jersey Sires Stakes dash, and the Marcus Melander trainee didn’t disappoint; far from it.
Leaving from post five in a field of six, Long Tom was sent for the lead off the gate, but it took until just past the :27.1 opening quarter for him to clear to the front. But Deacon Tony – who closed as the strong second choice at 3-2 – was hot in pursuit and Yannick Gingras sent that gelding to the front in a snappy :54.4 half.
Tim Tetrick pulled Long Tom before the three-quarter pole and he eased by the leader as they trotted past the station in 1:24. From there, driver Tim Tetrick had the whip at his side as Long Tom trotted a :28.1 kicker on his way to a new season record. The mile time was one tick faster than last year’s two-year-old filly champion Ariana G’s sophomore debut performance on the same card. Long Tom, who is owned by Amg Stable Oy, of Vantaa, Finland, was winning for the fourth time in eight starts and he boosted his lifetime earnings to just under $71,000.
The performance got some prominent people from the industry people buzzing on social media.
“Long Tom looks like the real deal. Easy rigged. Fluid moving,” posted Art Zubrod of Brittany Farms.
“That was an excellent effort; a lot better than I expected,” said Meadowlands morning-line maker and broadcaster Dave Brower.
“Isn’t he a classy colt, wow,” remarked Stanley Prakas
So, trainer Marcus Melander now has at least two contenders for this year’s Hambletonian as his undefeated colt Enterprise – a previous subject of a Buzzworthy column here – has already won twice at the meet and was a previous season’s record holder.
This dynamic duo may have only begun creating a buzz and will surely be heard from again as the season progresses.