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Papi Rob Hanover Returns

Published: June 3, 2020 8:29 pm ET

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Magical Acres in New Jersey hosted a 13-race qualifying session on Wednesday, June 3. The great Shartin N was busy sharpening up during the morning races, but stealing a bit of that thunder were a pair of pacing colts from the stable of Brett Pelling.

The third race of the morning saw Papi Rob Hanover record the first charted line of his three-year-old campaign. The Somebeachsomewhere colt has been assessed as the 5-2 favourite in Trot Magazine's 2020 Pepsi North America Cup Spring Book. To view the spring book odds, click here.

David Miller was in the bike behind Papi Rob Hanover, and the duo lined up in the outside Post 4 for trainer Brett Pelling. Once the starting gate sped away, Papi Rob Hanover made quick work of his foes. He went on to record a wire-to-wire win in 1:53.2. He cut the fractions in :28.1, :58.3 and 1:26.3 before gearing up for the wire. Papi Rob Hanover finished his mile off with a :26.4 final quarter before posting a two and a quarter-length victory. Papi Rob Hanover is owned by David McDuffee of Delray Beach, Florida.

"He was very much in hand," Pelling told Trot Insider on Wednesday afternoon. "Dave said he never let him pace at any time. He asked him a little bit halfway in the turn and he took off and shut him down. And his exact words coming back were 'wow, I could have went in :50 with this horse, he's so powerful.'"

The session got underway with a win from another North America Cup eligible colt, as the David Miller-driven and Brett Pelling-trained Allywag Hanover (50-1 in Spring Book) fired from second over and posted a one and a half-length win in 1:53.2. Allywag Hanover is owned by the Allywag Stable of Wellsville, PA.

"They were very good. Allywag I wasn't sure about; he's a different kind of horse and likes to do things his way. Three months ago I said I'm not going to force this horse to do anything, I'm just going to leave him to his own free will. And when I take him to the qualifiers, I'm going to rig him up then. So today we basically took him to the qualifiers with zero rigging, and he was pretty near perfect. When the speed's on, he knows how to go forward."

For those looking to assess the speed of these miles versus other tracks, Pelling offered his take on qualifying at Magical Acres for the first time.

"It's a very circular five-eighths. In fact, the starting point and finish are almost opposite each other...I couldn't really get my head around that," said Pelling with a chuckle. "Imagine a regular five-eighths, then expand the turns and shorten the straightaways. But it was nice and in really good condition."

Pelling also compared the qualifiers at Magical Acres to the session at The Meadowlands and was pleased with his decision to enter where he did.

"I had told [Dave] a couple of days before what I was going to do, and the reason I did it [at Magical Acres]...I went to The Meadowlands on Saturday and qualified six there and, to me, that's not how you qualify horses. Going to the first quarter in :28.3 and going a mile in 1:50 or :51, wherever you end up is where you line up.

"And I think not having 10-horse fields in the qualifier helps too so that anyone who wants to go forward gets an opportunity and not spread out like Brown's cows."

The veteran trainer has a very meticulous approach and Magical Acres made more sense to him for these horses at this point.

"One thing about good horses: right from the get-go, you need a certain amount of recognition and respect and yet I don't want to be leaving the gate with them. Even Papi there, Papi cut it and everything but he fell out of the gate...there was nothing in there that wanted the front. He still went to the half in :58 and a piece, and at The Meadowlands he couldn't have done that."

Given Wednesday's efforts, Pelling confirmed that Papi Rob Hanover would qualify again but wasn't sure what the next step was for Allywag Hanover. That uncertainty can be excused given the uncertainty that many U.S. trainers face with the lack of clarity regarding Pennsylvania's harness racing season.

"They're pretty fit, they were ready a month ago. I'm definitely coming back with Papi again...but there's so many unknowns. I'm of the attitude that It's an unusual circumstance we're all in and really just letting things fall into place. Get through this first weekend at The Meadowlands here and see how it all goes and play it by ear a bit.

"I'm not opposed to actually racing [Allywag] but Papi will definitely qualify, and he'll qualify at The Meadowlands next week."

Pelling anticipates that the first major stakes event for Papi Rob Hanover will be The Meadowlands Pace.

Later on the card, 2019 U.S. Horse of the Year Shartin N took to the track for Race 10 and lined up in the outside Post 5 for driver Tim Tetrick. The duo surveyed the scene early and opted for the back of the pack through the :28.4 opening quarter and :59.2 half. Tetrick asked for some 'go' in the third panel, and the seven-year-old daughter of Tintin In America was more than willing to oblige. Shartin N was first up alongside the leader at the 1:27.1 three-quarters pole and had wrestled the lead away by the time she hit the head of the stretch. The Jim King Jr. trainee kicked home with a :26.2 final panel and was clear by two lengths at the wire. Shartin N stopped the clock in 1:53.3 for her connections, Richard Poillucci, Joann Looney King, and Tim Tetrick LLC.

Canada's two-year-old filly trotter of the year Dip Me Hanover was the star of Race 2 for driver David Miller and trainer Linda Toscano. The winner of the 2019 Peaceful Way Stakes was making her three-year-old charted debut and lined up in Post 2. Miller and the miss sat fourth through the :28.3 opening quarter and :59.3 half before firsting first over. The duo was overland and more than two lengths off the lead at the 1:29.2 three-quarters pole, but were ready for a fight in the lane. When all was said and done, Dip Me Hanover came home with a 28-second final quarter and grinded to a neck win in 1:57.4. Dip Me Hanover is owned by Camelot Stable Inc., Dreamville Stable, and R And I Farms LLC.

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