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Stars Shine In Saturday Qualifiers

Published: April 28, 2018 12:33 pm ET

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The Saturday, April 28 qualifying races at The Meadowlands got underway at 10 a.m. under overcast skies to begin with the sun threatening to peek through, temperature in the low 60s and no wind of consequence.

Being the top dog at anything has its privileges, as driver Yannick Gingras can attest. His talents have enabled him to be first call for two of the very best trainers in the game -- Ron Burke and Jimmy Takter -- resulting in him being the driver of many top stakes performers. Those include trotting mares Hannelore Hanover and Ariana G who were, respectively, the top two vote getters in the 2017 Horse of the Year balloting both in Canada and the U.S.

There is, however, a downside to that lofty perch and that occurs when those types are from the same division and must face each other. They both raced in qualifiers this morning, though not against one and other. At some point, Yannick will have to make a difficult choice.

Ariana G was up first in race six and making her first appearance of the new season and she looked fantastic. Yannick put her on the lead and she strolled along comfortable right through the end of the 1:53.3 mile five in front with an effortless :27.1 final quarter. Celebrity Ruth (Trond Smedshammer), certainly no slouch on her own, was a willing second. Jimmy Takter trains Ariana G for Marvin Katz and Al Libfeld.

Hannelore Hanover came up next in her second go of the season and she made a very strong case to keep her driver. Yannick moved the champion mare to the front after Yes Mickey (Svanstedt) took the field by the quarter in :28.1, cut comfortable middle fractions then let her trot home in :27.1 ending the mile in 1:52.2 on her own, looking fabulous. Broadway Donna (Dave Miller) actually closed ground into that fast final stanza to get up for second, though no threat to the winner. Lagerfeld (Jim Marohn, Jr.) rallied for third while Yes Mickey gave way to fourth.

The day began with Ken Jacobs’ talented sophomore Chapter Seven filly Seven Karats (Scott Zeron) winning again, this time leading all the way through even fractions for the 1:54.3 win off by a few on her own. Linda Toscano is the trainer. Imwhygodmadegirls (Yannick Gingras) was a solid second.

Zeron employed similar tactics in race 2 with another good Chapter Seven filly, his dad Rick’s Atlanta. Scott got them in line behind him through even numbers then drew off through a :27.1 end to the 1:54 mile in verrrrrrry impressive fashion. Rick Zeron trains for his own interest along with partners Holland Racing, Howard Taylor and Brad Grant. Vivacious Allie (Ake Svanstedt) and Sevenbuyeleven (Tim Tetrick) held their respective spots in second and third in a race where there was no passing.

Six Pack took a measured 1:54 win, closing out with a :26 and change final quarter for Svanstedt. He tracked Seven Iron (Tetrick) all the way then forged by with something in reserve. Seven Iron held grudgingly and Fashionwoodchopper (Dave Miller) flew home into the fast last quarter with no urging and no trotting hopples. Svanstedt trains and owns the winner, a son of Muscle Mass, with Little E LLC, Stall Kalmar and Lars Berg.

Top WEG driver Doug McNair was in to drive the morning and he nudged Missile Hill past Brothers In Arms (Jimmy Takter) right on the wire to get a 1:54.3 win. Dawson Springs was an even third in his first go of the year for Dave Miller and Sonofamillionaire (Svandstedt) finished fourth after cutting the mile. Brad Grant owns and Tony Alagna trains the winner.

Race 5 winner Helpisontheway (Tetrick) was originally programmed as #1 in race 4 but moved and left from post 9 in the next race. He landed in third as Godspell Hall (Gingras) led through unhurried fractions then was moving and drew clear when that rival went off stride at the 3/4 pole. Helpisontheway was well in hand to Tetrick through a :27 flat end to a 1:54.2 mile. Zephyr Kronos, the enigmatic son of European star Ready Cash looked comfortable and closed considerable ground into the fast last quarter to get up for second for trainer-driver Takter. Linda Toscano trains the winner, another by her Horse of the Year sire Chapter Seven and owns the colt as Camelot Stable in partnership with The Bays Stable.

Race 8 saw the start of the pacing races and O’Brien Award-winning freshman of last season Stay Hungry made his 2018 debut from the rail with Doug McNair driving for Tony Alagna. McNair sat a pocket as Pedro Hanover (D. Miller) set an honest pace, emerged as they turned into the stretch and rolled right by the leader to win in 1:50.4 under no urging. Babes Dig Me (Brett Miller) rallied well late with Pedro Hanover not far off the leader.

Brad Grant and Irwin Samelman own the winner, a son of Somebeachsomewhere.

There were a bunch of top sophomores in the ninth and Hayden Hanover (Andy Miller) came away the winner in 1:52.2. Andy put the Somebeachsomewhere colt on the lead early with a :29 opener and a :58 half. American History (Gingras) came calling, not content with those dawdling numbers. That one led into the stretch and gave way grudgingly as Hayden rallied by. Sporting Chance (McNair) was a solid third while the Dan Patch Award-winning top freshman pacer of 2017, Lost In Time (Zeron), was fourth after a conservative trip. Julie Miller trains the winner for Pinske Stables and Jim Simpson.

Another of trainer Tony Alagna’s seemingly endless group of sophomore pacing colts, Captain Deo, is emerging as a top talent. He won back this morning in 1:51.2 closing into a :26.2 final quarter for Brett Miller, fighting past a stubborn No Easy Day (Gingras) and Twin B Tuffenuff for the score. He’s a Somebeachsomewhere from the great race mare Worldly Beauty, racing for Alagna Racing, Joe Sbrocco, In The Gym Partners and Captain Deo Partners.

Python Blue Chip (Gingras) was a winner in the 11th, converting a perfect trip into a 1:53.3 score. Hurrikane Shorty (Jim Marohn, Jr.) cut the mile and held second over closers inside and out. Ron Burke trains the winner, the owners listed are Ake Svanstedt, Blue Chip Bloodstock and Stable 45.

Kissin In The Sand took the exciting 12th race, sitting a pocket to Rainbow Room (D. Miller) then finding a seam up the inside to edge by the leader and hold off the closing Youaremycandygirl (Gingras) in a 26.3 end to the 1:52.1 mile. This match-up of the three top freshman pacing fillies of last season resulted in them finishing right across the track.

Filibuster Hanover was absolutely vicious in the last, following stablemate Rock N Tony through swift fractions then ripping from the pocket and driving off into the sunset with a 25.3 end to a 1:49.3 mile. It was his second go of the season and looks like trouble for potential foes in next week’s Graduate Series opener. Rock N Tony held up for second while the great mare Pure Country (Mark MacDonald) was a solid third in her seasonal debut.

To view the charts or replays from Saturday's qualifiers, click one of the following links:

Saturday Qualifiers - Meadowlands Racetrack
Replays - Meadowlands Qualifiers

(with files from The Meadowlands)

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