The father-son duo of trainer Brett Pelling and driver Jack Pelling teamed up twice at Freehold Raceway on Dec. 11. The Pellings scored together with Reigning Deo in race 7 and then won the featured Preferred Handicap pace with Hail Christian N.
Leaving from post position seven in the eight-horse field, Jack Pelling took Hail Christian N off the lead, dropping him in seventh throughout the early stages of the race, according to a press release.
The early leaders, led by favored Rockin M, set an opening quarter of :27.1, followed by a first half-mile of :57.1.
As the horses moved up the backstretch the final time, the field began to bunch up. Pelling moved Hail Christian N off the pylons and grabbed cover third-over.
Entering the stretch, Hail Christian N was still about five lengths off the lead and racing in the four-path. However, Hail Christian N had all the momentum and he flew on the outside late to win by three-quarters of a length. The final time over a “good” track was 1:54.3.
Hail Christian N is owned by Harcourt Lodge Stables. He has won four times this year from 18 starts, with earnings of more than $64,000.
The Dec. 10 Preferred Handicap trot looked like another coronation for Melady’s Monet. A four-time winner at Freehold this year, he was coming off a win in the Open Handicap at Yonkers Raceway two starts back and was consequently made the 1/5 favorite.
Drazzmatazz had other ideas, however, and rallied to win by a length in an 11/1 upset.
The Vincent Stallworth-trained gelding rated in fourth position early on and stayed there until the third turn.
Eric Abbatiello had moved first-over with Melady’s Monet and Luke Hanners decided to pick up cover behind the favorite with Drazzmatazz.
As they rounded the far turn, Melady’s Monet poked his head in front, but his move began to stall.
Sensing this, Hanners moved Drazzmatazz three-wide to give him clear sailing as the horses turned for home. Drazzmatazz seized control in the last 16th and held off the late rally of Dot Dot Dot Dash to win in 1:58. Melady’s Monet checked in third.
Drazzmatazz is owned by Danbry Racing Inc. He has won five times on the year from 36 starts, and 26 times in his career from 167 tries, with earnings of more than $357,000.
Live harness racing continues at Freehold Raceway on Dec. 17 starting at 12:30 p.m. Live racing on two final dates, Dec. 18 and Dec. 31, will conclude the 2021 season.