Sunday, June 02, 2002

McArdle wins $500,000 New Jersey Classic

AP Sports Writer

        EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. — McArdle took the lead with a sixteenth of a mile to go and won the $500,000 New Jersey Classic in a three-horse photo finish at the Meadowlands on Saturday.

        Royal Mattjesty, who raced as part of a betting entry with the winner, finished a neck behind McArdle and a half-length in front of favorite Mach Three, who did not overcome the outside post.

        Getting skillful handling from new driver Catello Manzi, McArdle paced the mile in 1:50.1. The time was a fifth of a second off the stakes record held by Bettor's Delight (2001) and Art's Conquest (1999).

        The son of Falcon Sealster paid $11.60, $11 and $3 for his fourth victory in six starts this year. It was his 11th win in 16 career starts.

        “It came down to luck and I had a good trip,” said Manzi, who got the drive when David Miller opted to get in the sulky behind Art's Tribute.

        It turned out to the wrong move.

        Art's Tribute finished fifth, giving Manzi one of the biggest wins of his career that has seen him win more than 9,200 races. He will be inducted into the Hall of Fame in July.

        Trainer Chris Ryder said McArdle got sick before his elimination for the Berry's Creek earlier this month, and that took a little out of him.

        “After last week's race, how strong he was in the lane, I had a good feeling,” Ryder said.

        Mach Three, who made a threatening move at the top of the stretch with John Campbell in the bike, never got his head in front and finished less than a length behind the winner.

        Mach Three, who won the Berry's Creek, paid $2.40 after losing for the first time in five starts this year, and for only the third time in 14 career starts.

        Manzi got McArdle away quickly from the No. 2 post and took the field of nine 3-year-olds through the first quarter-mile in 26.4 seconds, with Brad's Gold second and Royal Mattjesty.

        Campbell got a break when Yankee Landa was scratched before the race. He had Mach Three in gear from the No. 9 post but they raced almost three wide on the first turn before tucking in fourth place after first quarter.

        “He would just not relax behind his cover,” Campbell said. “That's what cost him the race.”

        George Brennan put Brad's Gold on the lead before the half mile, and Mike Lachance and Royal Mattjesty followed on the outside.

        Manzi kept McArdle tucked in the pocket in third place.

        As the field went around the final turn, Campbell attacked with Mach Three on the outside, putting Brad's Gold, Royal Mattjesty and Mach Three across the track.

        Brad's Gold tired in the stretch and Manzi moved McArdle between that colt and Royal Mattjesty, taking the lead on the inside and never losing it.

        Joseph Muscara bought Mach Three on Wednesday for a reported $2.2 million.

        Earlier on the card, Worldly Beauty paced a career-best to win the $200,000 Miss New Jersey final in 1:51.3. Driven by Luc Ouellette, the 3-year-old daughter of Artsplace returned $2.60, $2.40 and $2.20 and won for the third time in as many starts this year and for the ninth in 10 career starts.


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