(Edited Meadowlands press release)
Favored Etched waited in the wings as Great Debater led the field through the first quarter mile in :23.28 and the half in :46.81 before launching his bid on the far turn. Flanked by Kiss the Kid to his outside and Great Debater on the rail, Etched shook free at the top of the stretch and briefly extended his lead before being asked to hold off the game Kiss the Kid by a neck. Ridden by Alan Garcia, Etched ran the 1 1/8 miles in 1:45.93 over a sloppy track.
Etched paid $5.40, $4, and $3.40 and topped a $41 exacta. Kiss the Kid returned $6 and $3.60. Anak Nakal moved four wide on the turn and rallied to finish third, returning $3.00 to show.
"We had a great trip," Garcia said. "Hebroke well and sat right in behind the early speed. At the quarter pole I had a horse on the inside and outside of me and figured that was the time to let him go. I thought it was best to let him run his race and he did just that. The horse on the outside (Kiss the Kid) wasn't going to go by us. This is a smart and talented horse."
Etched provided Garcia and trainer Kiaran McLaughlin each with his first Meadowland Cup trophy. The 4-year-old son of Forestry out of the Unbridled's Song mare Unbridled Elaine has now won five of six career starts.
"This horse has been training great up at Saratoga," said Andrew St. Lawrence, McLaughlin's assistant trainer. "When he's on his game, he's on it. He's now a perfect five-for-five in the U.S. You can't argue with that. He was real impressive and the time was good."
As for whether the colt will make his next start in the Breeders' Cup World Championships next month at Santa Anita Park, St. Lawrence said, "The way he ran here, I wouldn't be surprised, but that's for Kiaran and Darley to decide."