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Gingras Sweeps Freehold Stakes

Published: May 4, 2019 5:39 pm ET

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Osterc and driver Yannick Gingras made a three-wide move on the backstretch and overtook leader Cavill Hanover on the final turn on their way to victory in Saturday’s $118,950 Dexter Cup for three-year-old trotters at Freehold Raceway.

Osterc, the 3-5 favourite, won by 1-1/4 lengths over HL Revadon in 1:57. Skyway Kon Man finished third and Cavill Hanover was fourth.

The Dexter Cup is the first stakes race on the road to August’s $1 million Hambletonian Stakes, the sport’s premier event for three-year-old trotters. Osterc is eligible to the Hambletonian, as are HL Revadon and Cavill Hanover.

“He had plenty of go,” Gingras said about Osterc, a 2018 Pennsylvania Sire Stakes champion who was making his seasonal debut. “He got a little bit bumpy going around the last turn, but other than that he was perfect. He had a lot of trot and he got the job done. As far as trot-wise, there were no worries anywhere.”

Osterc, who started from post six in a field reduced to seven horse by the scratch of Big Money Honey, got away in sixth place as HL Revadon went to the early lead. HL Revadon yielded the top spot to Cavill Hanover as the leaders reached the quarter-mile point in :28.2.

Cavill Hanover continued to lead through a half in :57.4 and three-quarters in 1:27.3. Osterc, who began his move to the front just prior to the midway point and flushed the cover of Dexter Cup elimination winner Whirl Winds K, trotted the final quarter-mile in :29.1 to win for the sixth time in eight career starts.

Osterc is trained by Per Engblom, who is in his first year with his own stable after spending the past six years as Jimmy Takter’s top assistant. The Dexter Cup was Engblom’s first stakes victory. He trains the colt, a son of Cantab Hall out of Oh Oh Hereshecomes who has earned $285,876 lifetime, for breeder-owners Christina Takter and Goran Falk.

“That was nice, very nice,” Engblom said. “Coming off the last turn Yannick said he hit the wheel and was close to making a break, but he had plenty of trot, so that was a good feeling. I was sure he had enough power it was just a question of keeping him flat.”

Osterc paid $3.40, $2.60 and $2.40.

One race prior to the Dexter, Gingras captured the $66,000 Lady Suffolk for three-year-old female trotters with 6-5 favourite Magical Beliefs. The filly, trained by Linda Toscano, won by a half-length over Cardinale in 1:57.4 with Golden Tricks finishing third.

Magical Beliefs, a daughter of Cantab Hall out of Frisky Magic who was making her seasonal debut, is owned by Highland Green Farms, South Mountain Stables, and R-And-I Farms. She has won five of 11 career races and earned $201,989.

Magical Beliefs, who is not eligible to the Hambletonian Oaks, paid $4.40, $3.20 and $2.40.

TONY “THE CAPO” VERRUSO WINS FREEHOLD BILLINGS IN A SHOCKER

Tony “the Capo” Verruso waited patiently fifth position in the early going then when he approached the three-quarters he rallied longshot PL Layla to the lead and coasted home an easy 2:01 winner in the Billings Trot at Freehold Raceway on Saturday (May 4) and rewarded his faithful with a $62.80 win mutuel.

Uriel (with driver Annie “Get Your Gun” Stoebe) cut the early fractions but yielded to Boss Du Fosse (“Smokin' Joe” Faraldo )as the field approached the third stanza. However, Faraldo's charge tired in the lane and finished out of the money.

Meanwhile, PL Layla and Verruso, third at the three quarters, took command as the field rounded the final turn and then held off hard-charging Landonfitz (Dave “the Rave” Offenberg) to score the daughter of Glidemaster's second seasonal triumph. Third place went to Cheeky Little Minx (“Joltin' Joe” Pennacchio).

After five starts on bigger racetracks with limited success perhaps the return to the half-mile oval was to PL Layla's liking for in early March she was victorious at Freehold in 1:59.4. Trained by Danielle Dailey, PL Layla is owned by Joe Scanio and Bart Fooden.

The race marked the return of two-time Amateur Driver of the Year, “Hurricane Hannah” Miller, but her Jacks To Open started from post seven, had major road trouble, and finally finished fifth.

The Billings Series returns to Freehold Raceway on May 11.

(USTA; Billings)


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