by James Witherite
Following wins in the Hambletonian Maturity, Fresh Yankee, and a Miss Versatility preliminary event, Hannelore Hanover ($2.90) had no trouble maintaining her dominance in the distaff trotting ranks on Friday evening at Vernon Downs, posting a resounding 1:51.3 victory in the $170,000 Muscle Hill, the ninth event on a 12-race program.
|Hanover Hanover delivers another powerful performance in a track record 1:51.3 in the $170,000 Muscle Hill at Vernon Downs.|
Yannick Gingras had the 4-year-old Swan For All mare involved from the outset, working clear of 2015 Empire Breeders Classic winner Barn Doll (Jeff Gregory) just after a :27.1 first quarter mile. Upon taking charge, Hannelore Hanover faced no threats whatsoever, rating a soft :29.4 second sectional before accelerating clear of the competition off the far turn. She used a :54.3 final half to put 3-3/4 lengths on the first-over Shake It Cerry (David Miller), who rallied to take second from the fully extended Barn Doll.
Ron Burke trains Hannelore Hanover for the Burke Racing Stable, the Weaver Bruscemi partnership, and Frank Baldachino. Hannelore Hanover captured the Vernon track record for 4-year-old trotting mares with her 1:51.3 score, topping Maven’s performance in the 2014 Muscle Hill by two-fifths of a second.
Obrigado duels, defends his Crawford Farms title
In the $193,000 Crawford Farms for open trotters, carded as race 10, 2015 Crawford winner Obrigado ($14.80) proved successful in defending his crown, dueling with odds-on favorite Resolve (Åke Svanstedt) for nearly the final three-eighths of the mile en route to a 1:51.2 triumph in rein to Mark MacDonald.
|Obrigado captures his second consecutive Crawford Farms title over Elitlopp runner-up Resolve.|
The 6-year-old Boy Band gelding approached the first turn from second-over, drafting behind Resolve into a :26 first quarter before capturing the lead for himself in a backed-down :55.1 half mile. Just as Obrigado cleared, Resolve angled back off the pegs to re-engage, and the two dueled through the far turn.
Despite being headed just above head-stretch, Obrigado dug deep to prevail, reclaiming the lead in the final 100 yards to narrowly beat Resolve. Flanagan Memory (Brian Sears) closed from last to take third, making massive gains down the grandstand side.
Trainer Paul Kelley shares in ownership of Obrigado with the SRF Stable, Linwood Higgins, and Stable 45.
Major Moe, Funknwaffles take freshman Sire Stakes splits
A pair of New York Sire Stakes events for 2-year-old pacing colts and geldings served as supporting events on the undercard.
Major Moe ($5.40) worked to earn his 1:52.4 victory in the $54,500 seventh race, making steady first-over gains on the far turn to reel in pacesetter Andy’s Ideal before holding sway from Very Special Agent’s late charge by half a length. Scott Zeron drove the son of Art Majorand Maureen Rocks for trainer Chris Ryder.
Funknwaffles ($2.20) did not disappoint at odds-on in the $55,500 eighth event, keeping his undefeated record intact through six career races to date. The son of American Ideal and Hatsoff Hanover brushed to the fore before race’s midpoint, evading Serious Major by two lengths in 1:52.3. Jim Morrill, Jr. drove Funknwaffles for trainer John Butenschoen.