Balmoral Park (7/17/10)
Contact: Tom Kelley
HANOVER STAKES IN FULL SWING
Hanover Stakes action was in full swing on Saturday, July 17 at Balmoral Park as 10 of the 14 races on the program featured Hanover action for two and three-year-old pacers of both sexes.
|Voomerang helped Mike Oosting to four Hanover Stakes victories as they teamed up to take home top honors in a speedy 1:50.2 in a $22,700 division of the Hanover for three-year-old pacing colts.|
Freshman pacing fillies kicked off the busy Saturday night card with a total of 22 youngsters battling in a trio of $19,100 splits on a very warm and muggy evening.
In the first division Joe and Tina Seekman and Sawgrass Farms' Jamaica Hanover shook off a tough first over trip to post an impressive one-length victory in a snappy 1:53.2.
After getting away sixth in the seven-horse field, driver Travis Seekman sent the daughter of Art Major-Jasmine Hanover on her way as the field approached the half-mile mark. Gradually making her way up to the pace-setting Little Miss Henry (Casey Leonard), the $45,000 Lexington purchase then reeled off a 27.4 final quarter to post her second win in as many starts.
Although it may have looked easy, the win was not without its anxious moments according to Seekman.
“It's always a concern when you have to come first up for that long,” he explained. “She also jumped a shadow out in the far turn but she covers so much ground with her long strides that I never really had to chase after her once she got herself back in gear.”
Another Joe Seekman-trained miss captured the second division, as Scott Rudnick and SRS Stables' Southwest made her career debut a winning one with a very easy four-length romp in 1:54.0.
Hustling from fourth to first on the backstretch, the daughter of Western Hanover-Matt’s A Coming grabbed control of the proceedings as the field of seven moved by the half-mile mark. The issue was never in doubt from that point on as driver Travis Seekman had the filly on the cruise control the rest of the way. Kayay Digidigy (Dave Magee) rallied late to be the bridesmaid while Fox Valley Touche (Dale Hiteman) was third.
In the winner's circle Seekman was quite impressed by his filly’s effort.
“She had some problems training down on our smaller track but I really liked the way she raced in her last qualifier,” he said. “She can still be a little green but I really felt that if anything would have gotten close to us in the lane that she could have gone a lot faster than she did.”
The final two-year-old pacing filly split was taken by Richard Balog’s Pardon as she rolled to a deceptively easy 2 ¾ length triumph in 1:54.0 for Hall of Famer Dave Magee.
The Dirk Simpson-trained daughter of Richess Hanover-Rose Dawson was given a confident steer by Magee, who pulled from the pocket as the field approached the half-mile mark. After grabbing control of things, the Dirk Simpson-trained miss then turned aside a first over bid from Eastern Star (Travis Seekman) at the top of the stretch before drawing clear for the win. Eastern Star held on for second while Fox Valley Phoebe (Brandon Simpson) finished third.
With victories in her first three starts, Magee still thinks this filly has plenty more to give.
“I really didn’t want to race her on the front end but the pace was slowing and she was very strong out there tonight,” said Magee. “I didn’t have to chase her very much even when the other horse came to us and she seemed very comfortable and well within herself coming to the wire. She’s definitely got more in the tank.”
With a total of 28 two-year-old pacing colts dropped into the box, that Hanover was split into three divisions with each carrying a jackpot of $25,600.
The first split went to the good-looking Nelson Willis trainee Fox Valley Libero, who scored by 2 ¾ lengths in a career best of 1:53.0.
Given a textbook steer by driver Mike Oosting, the gelded son of Incredible Finale-Lady Jeeves saved ground while racing up close throughout the opening five-eighths of a mile. Manuevering off the pylons from fourth as the field neared the top of the stretch, Fox Valley Libero took dead aim on the 1-5 favorite Mystic Desire (Dave Magee). Chewing up ground in the center of the track, Fox Valley Libero flew home in 26.2 to pick up his third win in four lifetime starts. Mystic Desire held on for second while Best Man Hanover (Todd Warren) finished third.
In the winner’s circle Oosting was singing the praises of his charge, who continues get better with each victory.
“I thought about moving him to the front early but these are two-year-olds and I didn’t want to use him twice during this mile,” he explained. “Once we had clearance I tapped him once on the tail and he dropped his head and just took off. He’s got some gears to him and he’s a very nice little horse.”
In the second division Dave Magee picked up his second winner of the night as he guided Mack Racing Stables' Mr. Bedrock to a two-length victory in 1:52.3.
Saving ground throughout the mile, Magee expertly avoided a potentially dangerous situation when Little Gus (Josh Sutton) made a break while on the lead midway around the final bend. After getting by the trouble, Magee patiently waited for the passing lane while Paco Labrook (Mike Oosting) and Onhishonor Hanover battled it out. After gaining clearance in the passing lane, the Robert Taylor-trained Mr. Bedrock quickly gobbled up the embattled leaders as he rolled to his second win in as many starts. Paco Labrook was a game second while AJ Get’s The Money (Casey Leonard) was third.
The final division of the two-year-old action produced another eye-popping effort from the Roger Welch-trained He’s So Hot as he romped to an effortless 4 ¼ length victory in 1:52.4 for Mike Oosting.
Zipped from fourth to first after the opening quarter, the son of Sportsmaster-She’s Redhot then proceeded to widen his advantage at each call, winning as he pleased while pacing his final three-quarters of a mile in a wicked 1:23.3. Con Game (Todd Warren) turned in a solid effort to finish second while Playin For Keeps (Jamaica Patton) was third.
Now two for two in his brief career, this ultra-impressive gelding has the pedigree to be a force on the Illinois circuit.
“His dam has thrown a bunch of good ones and this certainly looks like another one,” said winning driver Mike Oosting. “Tonight he really wanted to leave out of there but I got him settled in and then when things slowed up a bit I let him go and he was on his way. I just turned him loose a little more on the turn and it was all over after that.”
Next on the docket were sophomore pacing colts as a total of 15 three-year-olds met in a pair of $22,700 Hanovers.
The first division provided a big upset as Harmony Oaks Racing, Vip Internet Stables, Claude Gendreau and Eugene Shick’s Indescribable overcame post position eight to win by a head at odds of 23-1 while stopping the clock in a career best of 1:50.4.
Leaving quickly from the outside starting spot for driver Brandon Simpson, the son of Cole Muffler-Glorious Future settled into a perfect spot in third through the opening half-mile. With things thrown up for grabs when 1-5 favorite Allthatgltrsisgold (Dave Magee) made a break while racing at the back of the pack, Simpson moved his charge first over midway around the final turn. After collaring the pace-setting Southern Sport (Casey Leonard) at the top of the stretch, the John Butenschoen trainee was then all out to hold off the late charge of Enry while posting his fourth win in 14 starts this year. Enry (Josh Sutton) finished second but was disqualified for interference and placed fourth. That moved Southern Sport from third to second and Fox Valley Escort (Mike Oosting) from fourth to third.
After the race a relieved Simpson was happy to be back in the charmed circle at his old stomping grounds.
“This feels great and this horse was as tough as nails tonight,” said a beaming Simpson. “I was hoping to settle into a good early spot and things worked out perfectly. Once the favorite made a break it was anybody’s race and my horse just dug in when the other horse came to him at the wire and gutted out this victory.”
In the second division, William C. and William P. De Long’s Voomerang picked a nice time to come up with his first victory of the season as turned a perfect pocket-sitting trip into a thrilling head decision in a lifetime best of 1:50.2.
Perfectly handled by the red-hot Mike Oosting, the gelded son of Cole Muffler-Vavoom Hanover settled in behind the heavy favorite Power Of A Moment as that gelding ripped through splits of 26.3, 54.0 and 1:22.3. Popping out of the garden spot at the top of the stretch, the Roger Welch trainee finally wore down the 3-5 favorite in the closing strides to get the victory. Power Of A Moment was a game second while Fools Gold (Todd Warren) finished third.
After that long winless drought to start the season, Oosting was happy to see Voomerang’s hard work finally pay off with a victory.
“This horse dragged Power Of A Moment all around last year,” he said. “Tonight we were the ones getting the good trip while he cut it out. I didn’t want to get stuck in there behind when he tried to slow it down at the top of the stretch, which is why I popped out when I did. Then it was one heck of a stretch duel between two good horses all the way down to the wire.”
Closing out the action were three-year-old pacing fillies, with a total of 18 sophomore distaffers battling in a pair of $22,400 splits.
The first division provided a thrilling finish as Mystical Marker Farms and Peggy Hood’s Mystical Victress held on gamely to win by a neck in 1:51.3, while giving driver Brandon Simpson another victory.
|Mystical Victress teamed up with Brandon Simpson to capture the first of two $22,400 divisions of the Hanover Stake for three-year-old pacing fillies in 1:51.3.|
Spying some hot and heavy action from fourth through the opening half-mile, Simpson moved the daughter of Sportsmaster-Sneakheravalentine as the field headed into the final turn. Slowly grinding her way to the top, the Ervin Miller-trained miss finally wore down longshot Flip Flop Summer (Trace Tetrick) with an eighth of a mile to go. Simpson then had to go to work on his filly, getting all he could out of her to hold off a hard-charging Reilly’s Daughter (Dale Hiteman) for her third win in seven starts this year. Reilly’s Daughter was a tough-luck second while Fox Valley Oracle (Casey Leonard) was third.
Once again Simpson was very happy to come away with another hard fought victory.
“Things were a little wild through that opening half-mile,” he said. “Once I got my filly on the move I kind of nursed her around the turn because she was getting in a little bit. Then when we straightened out for home she dug in and took off for me. It really feels good to hook up with these owners and trainer again and get them a victory.”
In the nightcap Oosting grabbed his fourth Hanover title of the night, guiding Frank Baldachino and Earl Smith’s Rev Me Up to a thrilling head decision in 1:51.2.
Content to watch an early battle up front, Oosting managed to get the daughter of Park Place-Turbonium out and rolling in a second-over position as the field moved into the final turn. Swinging three wide at the top of the stretch, the Kathy Millman trainee blew by the pace-setting Artcam and then gamely held off an inside bid from even-money favorite Cotton Candy (Dave Magee) to record her eighth victory of the season in a lifetime best. Cotton Candy was second while Makes You Wonder (Travis Seekman) was third.
After his big night in the Hanovers, Oosting had nothing but praise for the winning filly.
“This filly can do it anyway you want her to,” he said. “I was happy to see them battling up front once I decided to duck and things worked out perfectly as we got dragged up to the top of the stretch. Once she set her sights on the wire I was pretty confident that nobody was going to be able to beat her.”
This week’s Hanover action concludes on Sunday night with a pair of $28,250 divisions for three-year-old trotting colts. There will also be a Pick 4 carryover of more than $8,900 on Sunday, with the pool expected to be in excess of $45,000. The action gets underway at 6:30 pm (central).