1 More Laugh wins $1 million Meadowlands Pace
One More Laugh parlayed a perfect trip into a dramatic win in the $1 million Meadowlands Pace.
One More Laugh got up in the final stride and captured the Meadowlands' signature race in a photo finish over favored Rock N Roll Heaven on Saturday night.
The dramatic head-length win allowed Tim Tetrick to become the first driver to win the Meadowlands' signature race twice while in his 20s. It also made Ray Schnittker only the sixth trainer to win both the Meadowlands Pace and the Hambletonian.
''He's been right there every week, but just hasn't had good luck,'' said Tetrick, who won the Meadowlands Pace in 2007 with Southwind Lynx. ''Today, I did my job and he was right there. He doesn't get tired. He keeps going and doesn't give up.''
In the eliminations last weekend, One More Laugh didn't find clear racing room until late and could not catch Rock N Roll Heaven. The trip was a lot better this week.
''He had a ton of pace (in his elimination), which was very positive for this race,'' said Schnittker, who won the Hambletonian with Deweycheatumnhowe in 2008.
One More Laugh paid $8.20, $4 and $3.40 as the third choice in the field of 10. Rock N Roll Heaven paid $3.20 and $2.80, and Valentino finished third and paid $7.40 to show.
Rock N Roll Heaven's second-place finish denied Hall of Fame driver John Campbell a record-extending eighth win in the pace for 3-year-olds.
''My horse was tremendous, he just got beat,'' said Campbell, who last won the Pace in 2002 with Mach Three.
One More Laugh covered the mile in 1:47.4, a world record for 3-year-old pacing geldings. The time, however, was almost a second slower than the stakes record set by Art Official in 2008. The final time was a fifth of a second slower than the winning time that Rock N Roll Heaven posted in capturing his elimination last weekend.
That race established Rock N Roll Heaven as the favorite, and the son of Rocknroll Hanover was just a step away from getting to the winner's circle again.
Only a late dash by One More Laugh denied Campbell and trainer Bruce Saunders.
''He raced his eyeballs out, he just wasn't good enough,'' Saunders said.
Kyle Major and driver Jody Jamieson got away quickly from the No. 1 post position and took the field through the opening quarter mile in 25.4 seconds. Campbell and Rock N Roll Heaven, who were tucked in behind the leader, went to the front after that and led the field through the half mile in 53 seconds and three quarters of a mile in a sizzling 1:20.
One More Laugh, who started from the No. 8 post position, was fourth after the half mile and third entering the stretch. Tetrick and One More Laugh came off cover in the final 100 yards and wore down Rock N Roll Heaven in the last stride.
''Nothing's ever going to beat the Hambletonian with Dewey,'' the 50-year-old Schnittker said after his gelding won for the 12th time in 19 career starts. ''He went undefeated and was unbelievable. This horse was just a tough, really good horse.''