EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. (AP) _ Falcons Scooter took the lead late in the stretch and captured the $500,000 New Jersey Classic at the Meadowlands Racetrack on Friday as heavily favored Mattduff finished last.
Driven by Ray Remmen, Falcons Scooter paced the mile in a career-best 1:52 for a 1 1/4-length victory in winning for the fifth time in six starts this year.
Hot Lead, the winner of the Berry’s Creek here last month, finished second, holding off the late-charging Rockapella by a nose in the field of 10 3-year-old colts and geldings.
Falcons Scooter paid $15, $5.20 and $5.40 and earned $250,000 for owner Leonard Kolschowsky of St. Charles, Ill. Hot Lead paid $4.40 and $3.60, while Rockapella was $6 to show.
Mattduff, who nearly died early last year and then recovered to win eight of nine career starts, was in contention early but the 3-5 favorite started to fade on the far turn.
``He was awesome last week,″ said driver Doug Brown, who guided Mattduff to the fastest time in the three eliminations last week. ``He fell apart on the last turn. He had no pace and no excuse.″
At the time Mattduff was fading, George Brennan had moved Hot Lead into an almost three-length lead at the top of the stretch.
But Remmen and Falcons Scooter took the lead in the final 20 yards, drawing out to the victory.
``He never quits coming,″ said Remmen, whose colt started from the No. 4 post. ``He put out a great race. I was scared because of the speed duel in front of us. I knew if we got involved with it, we didn’t have a chance.″
In the race before the Classic final, Paige Nicole Q captured the $200,000 Miss New Jersey final by 1 1/4 lengths over Diehard Fan.
Driven by John Campbell, Paige Nicole Q paced the mile in 1:53 2-5 in winning for the first time in two starts this year. The 3-year-old daughter of Beach Towel earned $100,000 for owner Alan H. Quinn of Deland, Fla., in defeating Diehard Fan and Pretty Discreet.