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Miss Versatility Series Continues

Published: July 1, 2016 11:47 pm ET

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Hannelore Hanover and Elegant Serenity headlined the second leg of the Miss Versatility Series for Grand Circuit trotting mares during an action-packed Canada Day (Friday, July 1) card of harness racing at Mohawk Racetrack.

After setting a 1:51 Canadian record in the Armbro Flight Stakes two weeks ago, Hannelore Hanover ($2.10) returned to Mohawk and was a dominant winner as the overwhelming 1-9 favourite in the evening's $30,000 first division of the Miss Versatility.

With Sylvain Filion picking up the catch-drive, the popular Ron Burke trainee took control of the field from post five and carved out fractions of :28, :56.3 and 1:26 en route to a five and three-quarter length victory in 1:53.4. Charmed Life followed in second and Rules Of The Road came on for third.

"She's an awesome, awesome mare. I had nothing to do with this. I just sat there and relaxed and she took me home," said Filion on driving the four-year-old Swan For All-High Sobriety mare for the first time.

"That's a good mile tonight and she did it on cruise control," he added.

An Indiana Sires Stakes champion last year, Hannelore Hanover now boasts eight wins in nine seasonal starts with her annual earnings climbing to $261,000 for Pennsylvania owners Burke Racing Stable LLC and Weaver Bruscemi LLC, and New Jersey's Frank Baldachino.

Elegant Serenity ($8.80) earned the first victory of her aged campaign in the second division as she wore down 1-2 favourite Jewels In Hock in the stretch for trainer/driver Roger Mayotte.

Jewels In Hock worked past early leaver White Becomes Her through the :28.1 first quarter and proceeded to the half in :57.2 and three-quarters in 1:25.3. Meanwhile, Mayotte sent 3-1 second choice Elegant Serenity first over from fourth past the midway mark and engaged the leader in a head-to-head battle turning for home. Elegant Serenity gained the slight advantage halfway down the lane and held on to win by a neck in 1:54.4. White Becomes Her finished third.

"She had to do it the hard way, and going against the 1-2 favourite, that was a tough chore," said Mayotte, noting a significant cross-wind in the stretch and the evening's cooler temperatures.

The Kadabra-Elegantimage mare, who earned $425,652 in her sophomore campaign, has hit the board in three of her four stakes starts this year for owner/breeder Doug Millard of Woodstock, Ont.

"She's grown up a little more, and she's a little stronger, but she's a fighter," said Mayotte.

The Miss Versatility will continue at The Meadowlands on Saturday, July 16, followed by legs at Tioga Downs on Sunday, August 14 and back at the Big M on Friday, September 9. The final will be contested on Thursday, September 22 at Delaware County Fair.

In other series action, Lay Lady Lay ($3.20) won her Town Pro debut in a career-best time of 1:52.4 as she wore down Square Dancer in rein to Doug McNair.

After competing in the Fan Hanover two weeks ago, the Chris Matthews trainee was sent postward as the 3-5 favourite in the $18,000 second leg of the series for three-year-old pacing fillies that are non-winners of $30,000 lifetime as of March 31, 2016.

Lay Lady Lay watched as the first three fillies took turns on the lead through a :27.3 opening quarter before launching her attack from fourth. McNair sent Lay Lady Lay up to confront the leading Square Dancer at the :56.2 half-mile mark. She then challenged outside of Square Dancer past three-quarters in 1:24.3 and maintained the upper hand down the stretch to prevail by three-quarters of a length. Southwind Tango came for third.

"She's been in against some tough company and racing good with them," said McNair of the Up The Credit-Lady D M filly owned by 1posse2steves3brothersstb of Guelph, Ont. "She was second in the one [Ontario Sires Stakes] Gold and she won the Princess [Series Final] so she looked pretty good in that field. She did it all on her own. I got her in first over position and she took it from there."

McNair and Solar Sister later struck the front in deep stretch in this week's $30,000 Fillies & Mares Preferred Pace after tracking pacesetter Witch Dali (:26.1, :55.2, 1:24.3) throughout, but were edged out at the wire by the Roses Are Red champion Lady Shadow ($3.90), who went from last to first in rein to James MacDonald.

The five-year-old Shadow Play-Lady Camella mare trailed the seven-horse field through the first half and closed from third over in a :26.2 final quarter to prevail by half a length ahead of Solar Sister in 1:51.4. Our Hot Majorette finished third.

Ron Adams trains the million-dollar earner for David Kryway of Amherstburg, Ont., Carl Atley of Ohio and Pennsylvania's Edwin Gold and BFJ Stable.

Ontario’s talented three-year-old pacing colts and geldings returned to Mohawk Racetrack on Friday evening for their second Grassroots start and Continual Hanover jumped out to an early lead in the division point race with his second straight victory.

Starting from post one in the fourth Grassroots split, the Bettors Delight son and driver Jody Jamieson cruised through fractions of :26.4, :54.4 and 1:23.4 on their way to a 1:52 victory, a new personal best for Continual Hanover. Derecho finished one length back in second and Levy Taylore was two more lengths to the rear in third.

“He’s a top Grassroots horse,” said Jamieson. “He just does whatever I ask, so far, and only what I ask.”

Cambridge, Ont. resident Jack Darling owns and trains Continual Hanover, who is two-for-two in 2016. The colt was also a two-time Grassroots winner at two and captured a Gold Series division at the end of his freshman season. Friday’s victory pushed the colt’s lifetime earnings to $126,400, completing repayment of his $120,000 purchase price from the 2014 Harrisburg Yearling Sale.

Fan favourite Inspiration View kicked off the Grassroots action in race four, holding off a charging Wichita Lineman by three-quarters of a length in 1:52.2. Vegas Dream rounded out the top three.

Trevor Henry guided Inspiration View to the win, the Shadow Play colt’s second of the season, for trainer Murray Brethour and owners Rick Phillips of Tappan, New York, Peter Venturini of Rockaway, New Jersey, and Mark Harder of Freehold, New Jersey. The winner of $89,729 was also a Grassroots winner at Mohawk as a two-year-old.

In the second $18,000 Grassroots division, Flaherty overcame a break behind the gate — which triggered a recall — to score his first Ontario Sires Stakes victory. The Up The Credit son and driver Phil Hudon led the field through fractions of :27.1, :56.4 and 1:25.2 and then waged a fierce battle through the stretch against fan favourites Arsenic and McNair. The duelling colts hit the wire separated by a neck in 1:52.4 with Blaise Mm Hanover two lengths back in third.

“He’s a nice colt; he had good fractions and paced home really well. I thought he was beat coming out of the turn, then he fought Doug’s horse off and won,” said Hudon. “He’s a handy horse and a big strong colt.”

Bill Budd of Waterdown, Ont. conditions Flaherty for his partners Mack Stable and Joe Carnovale of Stoney Creek, Ont. The gelding now boasts a record of six wins, three seconds and two thirds in 16 sophomore starts, for earnings of $79,620.

It was Steven Hudon’s turn to hoist a Grassroots trophy in the third division as the Erin, Ont. resident piloted Red Dog Saloon to a come-from-behind victory. The duo roared up the outside to catch Chalk Player and Brookdale Sonny in a personal-best 1:52.1.

Hudon also owns and trains Mister Big son Red Dog Saloon, who boosted his sophomore record to five wins, one second and one third in 13 starts for earnings of $29,183.

The final Grassroots trophy of the evening was awarded to Perseverant, who spoiled Jamieson’s hopes of a Grassroots driving double by reeling in fan favourite St Lads Moonwalk in the stretch. Perseverant hit the wire a neck in front of St Lads Moonwalk and one-half length ahead of A Bettors Risk in a personal-best 1:52.

Filion piloted Perseverant to his second straight win for trainer Luc Blais and Determination of Montreal, Que.

The three-year-old pacing colts and geldings will make their third Grassroots start at Hanover Raceway on July 30. Ontario Sires Stakes action returns to Mohawk on Saturday evening, with the Gold Series three-year-old pacing colts and geldings squaring off in two $105,000 divisions. The second division features both North America Cup champion Betting Line and the OSS “Be A Winner” contest, which will see one lucky fan join in the winner’s circle celebrations. The first race goes postward at 7:30 p.m. and the sophomore pacing colts and geldings will be featured in races six and eight.

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

(With files from OSS)

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