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Horse slaughter in Illinois
|Balmoral Park (8/19/06)
Contact: Tom Kelley
HOLBORN HANOVER SHATTERS ANOTHER TRACK RECORD
The Aged Pace elimination proved to be a showcase for the sport's fastest ever performer as John Fielding & Canamerica Capital Corp.’s Holborn Hanover annihilated the track standard for an aged gelding pacer with a one-length victory in 1:48.1. The previous record of 1:49.1 had been held by three others.
Fresh off becoming the fastest pacer in history with a 1:46.4 clocking in the U.S. Pacing Championship, Holborn Hanover was once again ready to roll after taking a week off to freshen up.
As soon as the wings on the starting gate folded Tim Tetrick sent Maltese Artist storming to the top. Another part of the three-horse Fielding owned entry Stonebridge Eagle (Andy Miller) was able to work his way into the pocket as driver George Brennan eased Holborn Hanover away third. The opening quarter was paced in a quick 27.1.
Using the same tactics they employed in their record-setting mile Brennan then moved his charge to the front as the field raced down the backstretch. After making the lead Brennan happily gave up the top spot when stablemate Ponder (Peter Wrenn) came calling as they reached the half-mile mark in 54.0.
“I was really happy with the trip we were getting,” said Brennan. “I wanted to be as easy as I could on him coming off that last race.”
The top two remained intact around the final turn but the pace had quickened as track record holder Quik Pulse Mindale (Brent Holland) was putting in a first over bid in third. Pacing that quarter into the wind in a brisk 26.3, Ponder led his pocket-sitting entrymate into the stretch with a 1 ½ length lead.
“I really didn’t think we were going that fast around the turn,” explained Brennan. “I just knew that I was happy to be covered up and that Ponder would take us deep into the stretch.”
Moving through the lane Ponder was clinging to a precarious head advantage while straying from the pylons. That gave Holborn Hanover clear sailing and the Brett Robinson trainee wasted no time getting into high gear. Pacing home with long powerful strides Holborn Hanover quickly grabbed command from Ponder and then held off the late challenge of Maltese Artist who wound up finishing second in a dead-heat with Ponder. Stonebridge Eagle gave the Fielding trio a 1-2-4 finish as he wound up 1 ½ lengths back.
Asked after the victory if he knew another track record was in sight on this night Brennan was definitely surprised. “I was actually a bit concerned coming into this race after such a big mile last time out,” said the winning pilot. “The fact that he had missed a week and had the long ship to Illinois also worried me a little.”
The victory was the sixth in 19 starts this year for the winner of over $1.6 million. Brennan knows it may not be quite as easy in next week’s final when Breeders Crown winner Lis Mara joins the fray. “Lis Mara is a very tough horse to beat,” said Brennan. “My horse is awfully good right now though and it will probably come down to who draws the better post position for the final.”
The overwhelming 1-9 choice of the betting public as part of that three-horse entry, Holborn Hanover returned $2.20, $2.10 & $2.10.
“Chalk” players did not fare very well in this affair as 10-1 outsider Med Vac held off a game Dink Adoo to win by a half-length in a snappy 1:53.1. That clocking equaled the track standard for a four-year-old gelding trotter.
Given a confident steer by driver Sam Widger this bay gelding floated away from post position eight and was trotting in fifth as Dunkster (Kurt Sugg) and Sherrie’s Delight (Dave Magee) battled through an opening quarter in 28.2.
Dunkster gained control as the field headed down the backstretch but the advantage was short lived as Dink Adoo (Ryan Anderson) rushed out of the three-hole to overtake the leader. As the field raced towards the half-mile mark Widger had Med Vac in high gear and the Darby Miller trainee was able to put a head in front as the top two reached the halfway mark in 57.2.
Quickly taking command on the final turn Med Vac looked strong on the front as he raced by the three-quarter-mile station in 1:25.2. Dink Adoo was right on his back in second while Dunkster was starting to lose touch with the top pair, trotting along six lengths back, in third. Vivid Photo (Roger Hammer), the 3-5 favorite in the race, was floundering on the outside in fourth at this point some 11 lengths off the lead.
Through the lane a tired but game Med Vac was starting to drift out a bit giving Dink Adoo a clear path on the inside of him. Despite the clear sailing Dink Adoo was never able to collar the rugged Med Vac as they battled tooth and nail through the final sixteenth of a mile. At the wire it was Med Vac who proved best, taking a new life mark in his track record equaling performance. Justice Hall, a 44-1 longshot from post position 10, rallied late to finish third, 6 ½ lengths behind the winner. A dull Vivid Photo wound up seventh, 24 ¾ lengths back.
The win was the fifth in 11 starts for this son of Cr Commando. Owned by Adam Victor and Son Stable, Med Vac has earned $71,500 this season. Med Vac returned mutuels of $22.60, $6.20 & $5.60 while keying a $1,217.80 trifecta payout.
The Bill McEnery trained seven-year-old was handled by Dale Hiteman while recording his third win in 18 starts this year. Incredible Art (Ryan Anderson) was second while Abouttolosecontrol (Brent Holland) finished third.
In addition to the two American National Aged Stake finals next week Doug Ackerman Stables & Southwind Farms great sophomore, Chocolatier, will lead a field of eight trotting colts to the post for the $190,000 American National Stake final. Also on the 80th Anniversary program will be the $100,000 (est.) Fairy Godmother Stake for aged pacing mares and a trio of $60,000 Hanover Stakes for three-year-old pacers and trotters.
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