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Strand Hanover Hitting His Stride

Published: March 29, 2012 11:19 am ET

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Strand Hanover enters Saturday’s second round of the George Morton Levy Pacing Series at Yonkers Raceway with a three-race win streak, including a 1:52.4 score in last week’s opener.

A six-year-old horse, Strand Hanover has won three of eight starts and $57,405 this year for trainer Tony Alagna and owners Uncirculated Stable and Brenda Selwyn Waxman. Lifetime, Strand Hanover has won 16 of 74 races and earned $336,349, with his biggest victories coming in last year’s Ontario Masters Series final at Georgian Downs and the Four Leaf Clover at the Meadowlands.

Strand Hanover, trained last year by Rene Allard, joined the Alagna stable in September and made his debut for the barn in mid-January.

“He’s been very sharp in his last few starts,” Alagna said. “It took him a little while to come around. When he first came in, you’d have to go on his back class than what he showed you in the barn. He needed a break and it just took him a little while to get back in the groove again.”

Strand Hanover finished off the board his first two starts this year, but started to find his groove when he finished second by a length to Code Word and missed by a nose against Tuneariffic in a pair of overnights at the Meadowlands in late January and early February, respectively. After a third, he won with an outside trip from Post 9 at the Meadowlands.

Two weeks later, he won at Harrah’s Chester before picking up his triumph in the Levy, rallying from sixth place with driver Brian Sears to beat Macraider N by one length.

“I was very happy with his performance,” Alagna said. “He showed us at Chester that he was going to be good on a smaller track. The way he accelerated through the last turn at Chester, we were pretty happy and confident he’d get around Yonkers in good shape.

“It was a big effort (in the Levy). He came three wide early and was three wide for a long ways to get up for the win. Brian said he was very comfortable.”

Strand Hanover will start from Post 6 in his second-round division of the Levy, which also includes Foiled Again, who was second to defending Levy champion Real Nice in his opening-round test.

Other first-round winners were Reibercrombie, Clear Vision, Art Z, and Atochia. Real Nice’s 1:51.1 triumph was the fastest of the six divisions. Real Nice and Reibercrombie meet in one of Saturday’s six divisions while Art Z and Atochia face off in another.

Strand Hanover, a son of Modern Art--Suntan Cathy, comes from a family of money-makers. All six of his siblings have earned cash, as well as 18 of his mother’s siblings and 15 of his grandmother’s brothers and sisters.

“I liked his versatility,” Alagna said. “He showed he could be good on the big track and he showed good on the small track. He won the Four Leaf Clover last year, so he showed he was a horse that could step up. He just looked like a horse that gave us a lot of options as far as racing him.”

Strand Hanover is not Alagna’s only horse in the Levy series. Foreign Officer, who has won two of 10 races this season and earned $51,950, was fourth in his opening-round division last week. Foreign Officer won three divisions in last year’s Levy and was sixth in the final.

Foreign Officer will start from Post 6 in his second-round division of the Levy. His split includes first-round winner Clear Vision.

“He ended up going up the inside the other day,” Alagna said. “It was a very good effort for him. It was sneaky good on paper. He hit the right division again this week. If he races well, he can be a factor.”

The Levy, as well as the companion Blue Chip Matchmaker Series for pacing mares, concludes April 28


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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