Walner Dominant In First Dancer Division
By Lou Monaco, for the Hambletonian Society
EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. – Walner did not disappoint.
The 1-9 favorite and defending Dan Patch and Breeders Crown winner cruised to a 3¼-length victory over Devious Man in a stakes-record 1:50.2 in the first division of the $159,000 Stanley Dancer Memorial for 3-year-old male trotters at the Meadowlands Saturday night.
Walner eclipsed the previous stakes mark of 1:50.4, set by Royalty For Life in 2015.
Driven by Tim Tetrick and starting from post eight in an eight-horse field, the likely Hambletonian favorite took control early after a :28 opening quarter and is now 2-for-2 in his 3-year-old campaign, extending his win streak to seven dating back to September of last year.
The colt has also won nine of 10 career races for owner Ken Jacobs and trainer Linda Toscano.
“He’s an amazing animal, that’s all I can say. He really does (love what he’s doing). He thinks it’s fun. Timmy said he was really good and he just gets sharper every week,” said Toscano. “(The Hambletonian) is a horse race. I’m going to fly under the radar as best I can and take care of the horse and hope he takes care of us.”
Tetrick and Toscano have each won one Hambletonian, which came as a team with Market Share in 2012.
“Absolutely no racing (prior to the August 5 Hambletonian). We will probably have a real easy week for him this week and then take it week to week,” added Toscano. “I train him like a Thoroughbred. He seems to get ready and responds off very little work and that’s the way we are going to keep it.”
Walner paid his backers a modest $2.20, $2.10 and $2.10 for his efforts. Bill’s Man finished third and Common Parlance finished fourth.