2016 Dan Patch and O'Brien Award winner Hannelore Hanover made her first on-track appearance of 2017 during a star-studded qualifying session Saturday morning at The Meadowlands.
In rein to regular pilot Yannick Gingras, Hannelore Hanover was content to sit the pocket behind another returning star, 2016 Kentucky Filly Futurity and Breeders Crown winner Broadway Donna. That four-year-old was on the lead through splits of :30.2, 1:00.1 and 1:29.2 before turning for home. Gingras pulled the pocket and allowed Hannelore Hanover to find another gear, and she did just that. A sizzling 26-second final quarter punctuated a 1:55.3 mile, up by four on Broadway Donna.
As a four-year-old in 2016, Hannelore Hanover won 17 of 20 races and earned $1.1 million in purses, leading all female trotters in earnings en route to divisional honours. Her victories included the Breeders Crown Mare Trot and the Hambletonian Maturity, where she defeated male rivals. She also beat the boys in the Centaur Trotting Classic in addition to winning the Armbro Flight Stakes, TVG Series championship for female trotters, Fresh Yankee, Muscle Hill, and Miami Valley Distaff. Her mile time of 1:51 in winning the Armbro Flight equaled the world record for a four-year-old trotting mare.
Hannelore Hanover (Swan For All - High Sobriety) is trained by Ron Burke, who co-owns with Weaver Bruscemi LLC, Frank Baldachino and J And T Silva Stables LLC.
Other notable qualifiers of the morning included:
Qualifier 4 - sophomore trotting filly Top Flight Angel, a gate-to-wire winner in 1:56.2 for Team Orange Crush -- trainer Julie and driver Andy Miller
Qualifier 5 - older trotter Crazy Wow cut all the fractions for a 1:53.1 score for trainer Burke and driver Gingras with stablemate Dayson (Joe Bongiorno) right behind in second
Qualifier 8 - familiar foes Darlinonthebeach (David Miller) and Call Me Queen Be (Scott Zeron) reacquainted themselves. Darlinonthebeach forged the fractions of :29.1, :58.1 and 1:26.2 with Call Me Queen Be in the pocket. Down the stretch, Darlinonthebeach started to drift and allowed room for Call Me Queen Be to fly up the rail and get a head in front at the wire in 1:53
Qualifier 9 - North America Cup-eligible Air Strike made every call a winning one for driver John Campbell and trainer Joe Holloway. After fractions of :28.2, :57.1 and 1:25.1, Air Strike held off a persistent Boogie Shuffle (Zeron) to trip the timer in 1:52.1
Qualifier 11 - four-year-old Check Six was an open length winner in the finale, with a powerful 1:52.2 score for Burke and Gingras
For full charts from Saturday's qualifiers, click the following link: Saturday Qualfiers - Meadowlands Racetrack.