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Valentino, All Speed Hanover Take NJ Classic Elims

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Published: June 5, 2010 10:44 pm ET

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The field for the $500,000 Anthony Abbatiello New Jersey Classic, the richest race for New Jersey-sired horses, was decided by a pair of elimination races held Saturday night at Meadowlands Racetrack.

Valentino burst through on the pylons to best Allthatgltrsisgold (Ron Pierce) by a nose in the first of the $25,000 splits for three-year-old colt pacers. It was a length behind to Shoobees Place (Dave Miller), who finished third after racing on the front most of the mile. Classic Rock Nroll (John Campbell) and BJs Bequia (Daniel Dube) also advanced to the New Jersey Classic final to be raced on Saturday, June 12.

Driven by George Brennan and trained by Lou Pena, Valentino paced the mile in 1:50.3 and paid $8.40. The son of Rocknroll Hanover-Schoolofcardknocks was an $80,000 yearling purchase at the Standardbred Horse Sale in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. Valentino improved his record to three wins in 12 starts for Glenn Berger's Lightning Stable of Roosevelt, New Jersey.

"I left out of there pretty strong," Brennan said. "I didn't really want to get him down to a half in :54 like I did last week, so I kind of jammed on the breaks a little bit. David Miller [and Shoobees Place] came and I was very happy to see the two-hole. He felt really good and when the inside opened up down the lane, he paced right through there."

North America Cup and Meadowlands Pace eligible All Speed Hanover nipped the pacesetter BJs Folly (David Miller) at the wire to win the second elimination in 1:50.4. Piece Of The Rock (John Campbell), World Of Rocknroll (Tim Tetrick) and Foreign Officer (Yannick Gingras) completed the list of colts advancing to the New Jersey Classic Final. Driven by Ron Pierce, All Speed Hanover charged home in a final :26.2 quarter to post his first win in two starts this season. Coupled in the wagering with the fourth and fifth-place finishers, he paid $2.20.

The son of Cams Card Shark-Allamerican Cool vaulted past $500,000 in earnings with the victory. A $60,000 yearling purchase at Harrisburg, the colt won five of seven starts at two, including the $700,000 Breeders Crown Championship. Noel Daley trains All Speed Hanover for Adam Victor & Son Stable of New York, New York and John Fielding of Toronto, ON.

"This is a good group of horses and I feel like our horse is still a couple of races away from being in tip-top shape," said Adam Victor Jr. "We have our eye on the prize for next week, but the Pace [$1 million Meadowlands Pace on July 17] is still on the horizon. I was in the paddock earlier tonight and it is unbelievable how good [the horse] looks. He's put on weight."

The $500,000 Anthony Abbatiello New Jersey Classic and $175,000 Thomas D'Altrui Miss New Jersey for fillies are sponsored by the Standardbred Breeders and Owners Association of New Jersey and named for two of its founding members. The events will share the spotlight with a pair of $200,000 New Jersey Sire Stakes Championships for three-year-old trotters on the sport's richest night for state-bred racehorses at the Meadowlands.

Also featured on the card was a $32,000 Invitational Pace won by Real Joke in 1:47.3. For a full recap of the race, click here.

To view Saturday's results, click here.

(With files from Meadowlands Racetrack)


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