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Fields Set For Armbro Flight, Goodtimes

Published: June 8, 2018 8:11 pm ET

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Two-time defending Armbro Flight champion Hannelore Hanover kicked off Friday night's stakes eliminations at Woodbine Mohawk Park.

Driven by Yannick Gingras for trainer Ron Burke, the reigning Horse of the Year was an easy winner in the first of two $35,000 Armbro Flight eliminations for older trotting mares.

Sent off as the overwhelming 1-9 favourite from post six, Hannelore Hanover cleared to command after a :27 opening quarter and cruised unchallenged through middle splits of :56.1 and 1:24.2 en route to victory. She drew away with ease down the stretch to score by five and a half lengths in 1:52 flat.

"It's probably the easiest race I'll win all year," stated Gingras after the race. "She was wrapped up and did it very easy. She's so solid right now there's no worries, knock on wood. She's something else."

Southwind Tesla (Phil Hudon) won the race for place with Caprice Hill (Doug McNair), Dream Together (Bob McClure) and Checkmate Time (Donald Dupont) completing the top five finish order. Those five mares will advance to next Saturday's final featured on the Pepsi North America Cup undercard.

Hannelore Hanover is now perfect in three starts this year and will head into the Armbro Flight final riding a six-race win streak stretching back to October. The six-year-old Swan For All-High Sobriety mare, who has won 39 races lifetime and more than $2.7 million, is owned by Burke Racing Stable, Weaver Bruscemi, Frank Baldachino and J And T Silva Stables.

The second Armbro Flight elimination was won by Emoticon Hanover, who scooted away from her rivals in the third quarter in rein to Bob McClure for trainer Luc Blais and owner Determination.

Emoticon Hanover got the first call firing out from post six to lead the way through fractions of :27.1, :55.4 and sprinted away by three lengths on the way to three-quarters in 1:24.1. Meanwhile, 1-2 favourite Celebrity Ruth (David Miller) tipped out from the three-hole behind the parked and pressing P L Jill (Louis-Philippe Roy). With a jump start on her rivals, no one could catch Emotion Hanover, who extended her lead to five lengths down the stretch and hit the wire in 1:52.4.

Celebrity Ruth came on for second ahead of Ice Attraction (Jody Jamieson) and pocket-sitter Majestic Presence (Chris Christoforou), with Barn Bella (Jeff Gregory) earning the final spot in the Armbro Flight.

"I wanted to get away from Dave's mare there," said McClure of his winning third-quarter move. "I saw she was second-over and Louis' horse was stalling and I figured if I could get the jump on her I should."

"'Hannelore' is going to be tonnes the best in [the final], but my mare did beat her last year so it is a horse race."

Emoticon Hanover, who was a winner in her May 21 season's debut in the Miss Versatility, was the 5-2 second choice in the field scratched down to seven. The five-year-old Kadabra-Emmylou Who mare surpassed $1.3 million in career earnings with her 18th lifetime win.

Wolfgang was impressive in his three-year-old season's debut, winning the first of two $30,000 eliminations for the Goodtimes Trot and carrying Gingras back to the winner's circle.

Leaving from post five, Gingras sent 2-1 second choice Wolfgang to the lead into the turn over longshot Lawmaker (Anthony MacDonald). After opening panels of :27.2 and :56.1, even-money favourite favourite Hat Trick Habit (David Miller) tipped out from third with Run Director (Sylvain Filion) picking up the cover. However, Wolfgang remained clear on top through three-quarters in 1:25 and won by two and three-quarter lengths in a career-best time of 1:52.2.

"He's a nice horse," said Gingras of the Jimmy Takter trainee. "Jimmy told me he trained really good at the farm. I know he didn't show a [1]:52 mile, but the day he qualified at The Meadowlands, it was a real good mile. I liked the colt. I've raced him in a few last fall and I thought he was a tough horse and he showed it tonight."

Lawmaker held on for second over the late-closing Run Director with Hat Trick Habit settling for fourth and Stormont Ventnor (Phil Hudon) finishing fifth to move on to the final.

Takter trains Wolfgang, whose three wins last year included the Matron Stakes. The My MVP-Summer Savory colt is owned by Brixton Medical Inc., Goran Falk, Hatfield Stables and Fair Island Farm Inc.

O'Brien Award winner Alarm Detector opened his sophomore season with a front-striding victory in the second Goodtimes elimination with Trevor Henry aboard for trainer Ben Baillargeon.

Hill Street (Yannick Gingras) sprinted to lead first from post nine before 3-5 favourite Alarm Detector took over command past the :28 first quarter mark and then posted middle splits of :57.2 and 1:25.2 en route to the 1:53.1 victory. Last year's Breeders Crown champion Fiftydallarbill (Trace Tetrick), racing outside the state of Indiana for the first time, was flushed first-up from fourth nearing the half-mile mark and chased the favourite home, closing within three-quarters of a length late in the mile.

Cruising In Style (Anthony MacDonald) finished third over Hill Street with Missle Hill (Doug McNair) rounding out the top five Goodtimes qualifiers.

"I was okay with it -- a mile in [1]:53," said Baillargeon, assessing his trainee's first start of the year. "It's getting a little cooler right now at this time [of night]. You can train them as much as you want, but it's not like racing. But he was ready and he was up to the task."

Alarm Detector, a son of Chapter Seven out of Final Countdown, picked up where he left off in his six-for-seven freshman campaign for owners Thomas Rankin, Elizabeth Rankin, Claude Hamel and Santo Vena.

Post positions were drawn for the Armbro Flight and Goodtimes finals and the fields will line up as follows:

$250,000 Armbro Flight
1. Caprice Hill
2. Celebrity Ruth
3. Dream Together
4. Emoticon Hanover*
5. Hannelore Hanover*
6. Checkmate Time
7. Southwind Tesla
8. Majestic Presence
9. Ice Attraction
10. Barn Bella
AE1. P L Jill

$266,000 Goodtimes Trot
1. Stormont Ventnor
2. Hill Street
3. Alarm Detector*
4. Wolfgang*
5. Lawmaker
6. Hat Trick Habit
7. Fiftydallarbill
8. Run Director
9. Missle Hill
10. Cruising In Style
AE1. Jula Downtown

*Elimination winners selected their posts.

To view Friday's harness racing results, click on the following link: Friday Results - Woodbine Mohawk Park.

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