Ruthless Hanover Matches Track Record In Dave Brower Memorial

Published: July 1, 2023 11:43 pm EDT

Free For All competitors flooded The Meadowlands on Saturday night (July 1) for four stakes events: The $112,500 Six Pack Mare Trot, $142,260 Perfect Sting Mare Pace, $155,140 Crawford Farms Open Trot and the $158,140 Dave Brower Memorial Open Pace.

Driver Tim Tetrick clung to relentless speed from Ruthless Hanover and clocked a track-record-equalling mile for aged pacing geldings in the $158,140 Dave Brower Memorial Pace.

Ruthless Hanover reached for the lead and stretched hard-leaving Tattoo Artist through a :25.2 first quarter to sit briefly in the pocket into the backstretch. Once Tattoo Artist crossed over, Tetrick circled Ruthless Hanover back to the lead and kept the Tom Cancelliere trainee firmly on the bit while uncorking explosive middle fractions of :52.4 and 1:19.4. Ruthless Hanover managed to open a sizable lead spinning for home – one too wide for 3-5 favourite Abuckabett Hanover to overcome – and stayed strong to finish 2-1/2 lengths to the good. Abuckabett Hanover settled for second with a gap back to Red Right Hand in third and Lochinvar Art A in fourth.

A six-year-old gelding by Somebeachsomewhere, Ruthless Hanover clocked a 1:46.4 mile to win, matching the long-standing track record for an aged pacing gelding set by Holborn Hanover back in 2006. The time is also a fifth of a second off Ruthless Hanover’s lifetime best he set on May 28 this year – a 1:46.3 mile, which set a world record for aged pacing geldings on a five-eighths track – as well as four-fifths of a second off the stakes record set by Bulldog Hanover before he became the fastest horse in harness racing history last year.

“He’s tough, he’s rugged and he likes to go fast. All of those feel really good in my book,” Tetrick said after the race. “I wanted to try and get everybody tired. Hopefully I could get somebody that was first up to clog Andrew McCarthy’s horse [Abuckabett Hanover] and it worked out for me. My horse raced great.”

John Cancelliere owns Ruthless Hanover, a 21-time winner from 48 starts and an earner of $509,625. He paid $8.40 to win.

The Dave Brower Memorial renamed a stakes race previously run as the “Roll With Joe.” Friends, family and colleagues of Dave Brower joined in the winner’s circle presentation to honour the longtime Meadowlands commentator who passed away suddenly last October at the age of 53.

Laura Brower, sister of Dave Brower, said, “I still get messages into my inbox on Facebook saying how much they miss him, that [harness racing] will never be the same. It’s just constant waterworks hearing the stories about him. And everybody loved him – and he loved everyone, too. This was his thing.”

After Dave Brower’s passing, The Meadowlands hosted a memorial ceremony prior to the night of Kindergarten Stakes finals on Nov. 12. Brower’s ashes were spread on the track.

Silver Label and driver Scott Zeron navigated through a sea of mares to take a first-over voyage to pay dirt in the $142,260 Perfect Sting Stakes for open pacing mares.

Treacherous Dragon landed on the point past a :26.1 first quarter to pocket Kobes Gigi before yielding command to 2-5 favourite Grace Hill, who then slowed the tempo towards a :54.3 half. As the speed settled, Silver Label made an uncovered blitz along the rim and drew to near-equal terms with Grace Hill, the reigning Breeders Crown champion, to three-quarters in 1:23.2.

“I’m a realist – second place [to Grace Hill] would’ve been awesome," said Zeron. "But middle of the last turn, Doug [McNair] was getting a little loose [in the] line and mine was only getting more on the bit.”

Silver Label kept chugging to the outside and slid clear of Grace Hill through the lane to win going away by 3-3/4 lengths in 1:49. Grace Hill held second from Test Of Faith in third, Racine Bell in fourth and Boudoir Hanover completed the Hi-5.

“Immediately going into the first turn, I knew Dougie [McNair with Grace Hill]’s only choice was to go to the front, and I wasn’t going to follow him to do that. We were able to get in for a few breaths and then [moved] right back out into the wind. It was a soft middle portion of the race that I was coming first up into, but she was still amazing.”

A four-year-old mare by Bettors Delight, Silver Label has now bagged $1,074,753 from 31 starts with 17 of those races victories. Nick Gallucci conditions the Millar Farms homebred who, after a coming-out in the Ontario Sires Stakes Super Final last season, is aimed at more Grand Circuit contests down the road.

“We’ve staked her to pretty much every aged stakes that there was for the mare," said Gallucci. "If she’s in good form, we’re going to try to make every one of them.”

Off at 14-1, Silver Label paid $31 to win.

Its Academic charged in the final quarter with Dave Miller in the bike to record a stakes-record mile of 1:50.2 in the $155,140 Crawford Farms Open Trot.

Balenciaga and Ahundreddollarbill left the gate quickly while Ambassador Hanover and Its Academic took a good spot among them as the field straightened. Then, Brian Sears took 8-5 favourite Venerate to the top while passing the :27 first quarter.

Its Academic, the public’s third choice, was sitting fourth as Venerate stepped quickly to take the field to a :55.1 half. Dave Miller tipped Its Academic out to campaign for the lead, driving towards Venerate as that one cut three-quarters in 1:23.4. The pair duelled briefly down the stretch until Its Academic left Venerate 2-1/4 lengths behind to eclipse the stakes record of 1:50.4 set last year by Alrajah One IT.

"He's really easy to get along with,” said Miller. “He's been a handy horse, easy, and he waits on me to ask him to go. I decided to take a tuck and I was just getting ready to make that move when Brian had Venerate did beat me to it.”

Miller said It’s Academic is real sharp right now.

“At the head of the lane,” he said, “I felt confident—and I hadn't popped the plugs yet.”

Ron Burke trains Its Academic, a six-year-old Uncle Peter horse, for owner Brad Grant. He has now earned $1,558,744 and paid $8.40 to win.

In the $112,500 Six Pack Mares Open Trot, five mares worked hard trying to keep up with Jiggy Jog S but could not catch her as she crossed the wire to win by three-quarters of a length in 1:51.

Trainer-driver Ake Svanstedt was determined to command the mile, but allowed 25-1 Fashion Schooner to get the early lead briefly before sweeping from the second spot to take over after a :28.1 first quarter. Bella Bellini, the public’s second choice at 7-2, followed in third. Warrawee Xenia broke around the first turn and was eliminated.

Jiggy Jog S strengthened her stride with Fashion Schooner in the catbird seat trotting the half in :56.4. Bella Bellini took the overland route going into the second turn to challenge Jiggy Jog S, still chasing at three-quarters in 1:25. Svanstedt held the reins tightly with little concern as the four-year-old Walner mare measured the finish line to hold Bella Bellini off easily. Fashion Schooner was third and Raised By Lindy was fourth.

Svanstedt said, "I didn't need to ask her. She did it by herself. She has taken one more step [forward] this year from last year. She's a very good horse."

Owner Jorgen Sparredal was nearly speechless about his mare’s performance.

"She was fantastic again,” he said. “I don't know what to say anymore."

Jiggy Jog S scored her eighth win in a row and her third this season, raising her lifetime earnings to $1,393,355 for owner Jorgen Sparredal Inc. She paid $2.40 to win.

The W.N. Reynolds Memorial for three-year-old trotters was on the Saturday undercard with four divisions for Hambletonian and Hambletonian Oaks hopefuls.

Winners Bet (Walner-Side Bet Hanover) recorded a 4-1 upset in the first of two splits for colts and geldings. The Domenico Cecere trainee was driven by Dexter Dunn to a 1:52.2 lifetime-best win in his first start of the season. Air Power, the 3-5 favourite, was taken back to last early before displaying explosive late trot for second.

Celebrity Bambino (Muscle Hill-Celebrity Ruth) clicked for Ron Burke and Yannick Gingras in the second male dash, recording his first win of the season in a lifetime-best 1:51.3 at odds of 8-1, as he gunned down Oh Well, the Mohawk Million winner from a year ago, as they hit the wire.

In the first of two divisions for fillies, the Anette Lorentzon-trained Quick Stop came from off the pace to score as the 6-5 favourite. The daughter of Tactical Landing-Falls For You stopped the clock in a lifetime-best 1:52.4 with Tim Tetrick holding the lines.

Super filly Bond won the other split for females for trainer-driver Ake Svanstedt. The daughter of Southwind Frank-Boccone Dolce sprinted to the top and led at every call on the way to an easy win as the 1-20 favourite. She’s now three-for-three in 2023 after completing the mile in 1:53.1, and, in the process, upped her winning streak to nine.

Meadowlands Pace hopeful Christchurch, off a sixth-place finish in the North America Cup, got back into the win column for trainer Nancy Takter with a 1:48.2 lifetime-best win in a $30,000 Open for three-year-olds. The son of Always B Miki-Darlinonthebeach was driven by Dunn and paid $3.20 as the 3-5 favourite.

All-source betting topped $3 million for the 41st time from 53 programs this year as $3,806,648 was pushed through the windows on the 14-race card.

Track announcer Ken Warkentin, who is being inducted into the Communicators Hall of Fame in Goshen, New York on Sunday night, was the winner on Night 10 of the track’s “Battle of The Meadowlands” handicapping contest after hitting a $200 exacta that paid $6.20, good for a score of $620.

Racing resumes Friday, July 7 at 6:20 p.m. (EDT).

(with files from The Meadowlands)

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