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Hopes To Continue Family Tradition

Published: October 25, 2016 10:31 am ET

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Tori Hanover began her career with a bang, but not in the best sense of the phrase.

“In her first lifetime start she was as hot as a firecracker and halfway ran off with (driver) Brett Miller,” trainer Tony Alagna said. “She was one of our best fillies training in Florida, trained down good all winter with no problems, but she just kind of had a little trouble getting off on the right foot. It was just a matter of regrouping with her and getting her back to where we had her before.”

Since regrouping, Tori Hanover has posted three wins and two seconds in five races. Her most recent start came in last Saturday’s eliminations for the Breeders Crown for two-year-old filly pacers at the Meadowlands, where she won in 1:54.4 with Scott Zeron in the sulky. This Saturday, she will start the $600,000 final from post No. 1.

If she continues to find success in the Breeders Crown, it would be something of a family tradition. Her half-sister American Jewel and half-brother Luck Be Withyou are Breeders Crown champions -- Luck Be Withyou goes for a second trophy in Friday’s Open Pace -- and her family also includes Breeders Crown winner Life Sign.

In her Breeders Crown elimination, Tori Hanover rallied from seventh at the halfway point to defeat Someomensomewhere by a length.

“Tori was a pleasant surprise, but not a total shock,” Alagna said. “We took her to Canada (after her first start) and James MacDonald drove her up there and did a great job. He educated her, raced her off the back.

“When we took her to Lexington, the first week she was on the front end and she got beat. I told Scott, it’s not that she can’t be on the front, she’s just not as good on the front. The next week he tripped her out and she won easily in a late-closer, so we decided to take a shot (at the Breeders Crown). He tripped her out and she was very responsive.”

Tori Hanover is a daughter of 2008 Breeders Crown winner and Horse of the Year Somebeachsomewhere out of the mare Trim Hanover. Tori Hanover was purchased for $135,000 at last fall’s Standardbred Horse Sale. She is owned by Jeff Snyder and Brittany Farms.

Brittany Farms leads all owners in Breeders Crown trophies, with 16, while Snyder has won three.

Tori Hanover’s foes in her Breeders Crown final include the three richest two-year-old filly pacers this season: Idyllic Beach, Agent Q and Roaring To Go. Those three met in last week’s other elimination, with Roaring To Go picking up the victory. Roaring To Go will start from post five while Idyllic Beach leaves from nine and Agent Q from 10.

“The two pacing filly divisions were night and day as far as the way they drew out,” Alagna said. “She drew the rail (for the final) so hopefully she can get a good piece of it. I’m not saying she’s going to go out and beat the top-top fillies now, but she’s going to knock at the door here soon.”

Alagna also sends Blameitonthenight into the two-year-old filly pace final. She has won three of 11 races, including a division of the Champlain, for owners Alagna Racing, Crawford Farms Racing, and Donna Lee Ozment. She finished third in her Crown elimination.

Tori Hanover and Blameitonthenight are two of nine Breeders Crown finalists for Alagna, who won a trophy with Captaintreacherous in 2013. Alagna’s nine is third best among all trainers in the Breeders Crown, trailing only Ron Burke and Jimmy Takter, who both have 17 finalists.

Alagna’s stable will be represented in seven of the weekend’s Crown events.

Among his other horses is Racing Hill in the Breeders Crown for three-year-old male pacers. Racing Hill finished fourth in his elimination, his first off-the-board finish in 14 races this season. Check Six and Western Fame were elimination winners.

Racing Hill this year has won the Messenger, Hempt, Adios, and a division of the Tattersalls as well as finished second in the North America Cup, Meadowlands Pace and Battle of the Brandywine. Last year he won his Crown elimination and finished eighth in the final. He is owned by Tom Hill.

“He was dull the other night, he wasn’t himself,” Alagna said. “He didn’t ship well. When we got him to detention the night before he broke out in a sweat and I don’t know why because he’s been shipping good all year. I think he kind of halfway washed himself out. He was flat all night. Hopefully we can get that rectified for this week because he’s as good as anything in there. He’s shown that all along. But he’s got to be on his game.”

Joining him in the final is stablemate Dr J Hanover. He has won seven of 14 races this season for owners Brittany Farms, Marvin Katz, John Cancelliere, and Dr J Partners.

He finished one spot ahead of Racing Hill in their elimination.

Three-year-old filly trotter Caprice Hill finished second in her Breeders Crown elimination. Last year, she finished third in the Breeders Crown and was Canada’s O’Brien Award winner. This season she has won seven of 13 races and finished worse than second only once for owner Tom Hill.

All The Time, who won last year’s Breeders Crown, and 2015 Dan Patch Award-winner Broadway Donna were elimination winners.

“She raced good the other night,” Alagna said. “She scoped with some allergy mucous, we’ve been fighting allergies on her, and hopefully we can get her cleared up and she’ll be that much better for the final. She got beat by a good mare (All The Time), but she’s a good mare too and hopefully she can show it.”

Alagna sends out Odds On Delray in the race for two-year-old male pacers. He was fourth in his elimination. Huntsville and Downbytheseaside were elimination winners. Odds On Delray has won three of 11 races this year and earned $96,570 for owner Odds On Racing.

Odds On Delray is a son of Somebeachsomewhere out of the mare My Little Dragon, who was a three-time Breeders Crown champion, sharing the record for a female pacer with Eternal Camnation.

“I’ve been happy with him,” Alagna said. “He’s been getting better as the season’s gone on. I was disappointed the trip didn’t work out better the other night because I think he’s a better horse than that, but hopefully he’ll show it in the final.

“I always liked him, from the get-go. He’s strong, he’s got a great maternal pedigree out of a great mare and he’s always done everything right.”

The remaining finalists for Alagna are Winter Harbor in the three-year-old male trot, Bedroomconfessions in the Mare Pace and Im So Fancy in the Mare Trot.

Complete fields for the finals are available at this link.


This story courtesy of Harness Racing Communications, a division of the U.S. Trotting Association. For more information, visit www.ustrotting.com.


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