‘Empire’ finals; Mohawk Features Eliminations
By Frank and Ray Cotolo
(H) denotes Hambletonian eligible.
Sunday June 9, Vernon hosted the Empire Breeders Classics for soph trotters. The colts went for $259,900 and the fillies for $237,600.
Jurgen Hanover (H-Credit Winner) won the colt division, coming off of cover and sailing home in 1:53.4. David Miller drove for trainer Donna Marshall, using a second-over trip to catch Modest Prince (H-RC Royalty). Twisted Pretzel (H-Crazed) got third. Jurgen Hanover paid $3.30 for owners Norman Smiley, Gerald Smiley and TLP Stable.
Non-eligible Lola De Vie took the filly chapter in 1:55.3. She won in the same style as Jurgen Hanover. Jim Morrill, Jr. was in the bike for Chris Ryder and owners Joie De Vie Farm LLC. Finishing third-placed-second was eligible Proclaiming April (H-Conway Hall). Placed third was Perfect Alliance (H-Credit Winner).
The first Friday in June was full of action for sophomore trotters, with the $70,000 Elegantimage eliminations being contested at Mohawk for the fillies and the $134,426 Currier & Ives for the colts. More colt hopefuls raced in the $60,000 Goodtimes eliminations on June 8 at Mohawk.
The Goodtimes eliminations attracted five colts vying for a spot in the August classic. Two eliminations were held on Saturday night, drawing seven horses each.
The co-favorite Denver (H-Andover Hall) was the tempo-setter in the race. The only challenge came from Hamdalla towards the far turn. Denver immediately quit into the stretch but held on for third. Rolls Blue Chip (H-Credit Winner) and BWT Taj (H-Broadway Hall), the latter our choice, never got into the mile but finished fourth and fifth respectively, qualifying for the final.
Gotta Secret was second over behind Hamdalla and ended up winning in a photo in 1:55. Gotta Secret returned $18.40 to win. The Muscle Mass colt is owned by Gestion Jean Yves Blais, trained by Richard Moreau and Sylvain Filion was in behind.
Rossini (H-Classic Photo) was admired by the public in the second elimination, going off at even-money. He sat third and was flushed first over at the half. Coming into the stretch, he faltered in between horses. Caveat Emptor (H-Deweycheatumnhowe), our choice, sat far off the pace and was picking off horses one by one but finished fourth behind Rossini. A pocket-ride for Toocool Forschool proved successful, as he brushed to the lead at the half and held command for the remainder of the mile.
The team of Roland Rocco and Benoit Gendron own the Kadabra colt. Toocool Forschool is trained by Glenn Lalonde and was driven by Mike Saftic. He returned $11.20 to win. The ElegantiImage also attracted 14 trotters and was split into two eliminations for the fillies.
The first elimination was taken by Bee A Magician (H-Kadabra), our choice and the public’s choice, when she brushed by fading tempo-setter To Dream On (H-Credit Winner) into the stretch to cruise home in a 1:53.3 mile. Princess Lilly sat a pocket trip and finished second. Mistery Woman (H-Donato Hanover) gave chase to Bee A Magician and finished fourth behind To Dream On.
Bee A Magician paid $2.60. She is owned by Melvin Hartman, Herb Liverman and David Mc Duffee, trained by Richard Norman and Rick Zeron was in the bike.
Angies Lucky Star was guided by Sylvain Filion to a 1:53.1 wire-to-wire victory. A trio of horses was eliminated from contention via breaks in stride, including Rockin With Dewey, Raring To Go S (H-From Above S) and Drink The Wine (H-Andover Hall). Post-time favorite Shared Past (H-Chocolatier), our choice, trotted a first-over mile, challenging Angies Lucky Star for a majority of the mile and finished second.
Handover Belle (H-Andover Hall) was second over to Shared Past and had enough to finish third. Angies Lucky Star was a $12 winner. She is owned by Trevor Henry Stables and the Estate of Daniel McCann and trained by Richard Moreau.
A trio of races was held for the Currier & Ives on Friday night at The Meadows. Bluto (H-Donato Hanover) won the first division with a brush to the lead at three-quarters from third. The pacesetter was Show Ticket (H-Broadway Hall), who faltered badly as he raced into the stretch. Vibe Blue Chip attempted to chase down Bluto but had to settle for second and Banco Solo (H-Master Glide), our choice, sat near the back and rallied for third.
Bluto was the public choice, paying $4.60. He is owned by Christina Takter, John and Jim Fielding and Louie Camara, trained by Jimmy Takter and was driven by Dave Palone to a 1:55.4 effort.
The odds-on favorite Punxsutawney (H-Glidemaster) blew the second division wide-open when he galloped at the start of the race. Major Athens (H-Andover Hall), our choice, led the field for most of the mile but broke in the stretch.
All horses near the front had near nothing remaining in the stretch, allowing the backfield to come flying. Dontyouforgetit (H-Cantab Hall) led the closers, with Dewycolorintheline (H-Deweycheatumnhowe) moving with him. Dewycolorintheline tried to take the lead from Dontyouforgetit but Dontyouforgetit won by a neck in 1:54.4. Maxamillus was third and Theatrical Session (H-Broadway Hall) was fourth.
Dontyouforgetit was an upset winner, paying $17.60 to win. He is owned by Solveig’s Racing Partners, trained by Jimmy Takter and was driven by Dave Palone.
The final division was won by our choice, Its Complicated, going gate-to-wire in 1:54.4. Tigress’s Legacy trotted a pocket trip and could not overtake the leader, settling for second, while the favorite High Bridge (H-Cantab Hall) broke into the stretch, holding on for third. Text Winner (H-Tom Ridge) was the fastest of the tired and got fourth. Bullish (H-Cantab Hall) was never involved.
Its Complicated upset his split, paying $22.00 to win. He is owned by Hatfield Stables, trained by Kris Hite and was steered by Eric Ledford.
Keep watching the Hambletonian Trail blog for updates and races involving eligibles through July and for live coverage from TwinSpires on Hambletonian day. Read race results at the special section archived at the Hambletonian Society web site.