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Hanover Stakes Continue At Balmoral

Published: July 12, 2015 2:58 pm ET

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The 2015 Hanover Stakes continued on Saturday, July 11, with a total of 15 sophomore pacing colts squaring off in a pair of $21,775 divisions as the Grand Circuit action returned to the Crete oval. Pacing fillies were also in action with a field of eight slugging it out for a purse of $26,000 in another Hanover tussle.

In the filly event, Kristopher Heim, Connie Hochstetler and James Michels' Southern Girl overcame a tough first over journey as she rallied in the closing yards to post a half-length victory in a career-best of 1:52.4 for Casey Leonard.

Positioned in mid-pack as Ashok Ace (Mike Oosting) and then Lex (Kyle Wilfong) led the field through splits of :27.4, :56.1 and 1:24.3, Leonard pulled first over from fourth as the field moved around the far turn.

Grinding her way to the lead, the Homer Hochstetler-trained daughter of Sportsmaster-Biloxi finally overtook a game Lex, who had been battling Ashok Ace tooth and nail, drawing clear in the final strides to notch her fifth win in 14 career starts in this her first season of racing. Ashok Ace was hard fought second while Sportsmuffler (Todd Warren) rallied to be third.

The third choice in the wagering managed to return a healthy $23.80, $6.20 and $7.00 while upping her career earnings to $32,517.

After yet another thunderstorm soaked the racing surface, the first division for the pacing colts was contested. The wet surface did not seem to bother Strollin Stable, King McNamara, William Robinson and Country Club Acres' Rise Up Now as the star of the Pennsylvania Sire Stake circuit splashed to a one-length victory in 1:54.1 for driver Don Harmon.

Leaving alertly from post seven, Harmon landed in the four-hole as Frosty Dune (Kyle Wilfong) and Major Ed (Todd Warren) battled through opening splits of :28.3 and :57.1.

Powering up first over on the far turn, the altered son of Somebeachsomewhere—Northwestern managed to poke a head in front of Major Ed as the pacers moved by the three-quarter-mile mark in 1:26.

Through the stretch, the Brian Brown trainee began to put daylight between himself and his rivals eventually reporting home with his seventh win in nine starts this year. Longshot Utah Beach (Ryan Anderson) turned in a nice late rally to get the place cheque while Lucpark (Mike Oosting) was a solid third after missing three weeks.

The co-favourite in the wagering, Rise Up Now returned $4.00, $2.80 and $2.10 while upping his bankroll to $124,812 with his huge sophomore campaign.

In the nightcap, Harmon struck again this time guiding Gary Clark’s Skim The Top to a thrilling nose decision in 1:53 over the sloppy track.

Grinding it out in the middle of the pack while Feelnlikearockstar (Mike Oosting) put up fractions of :28.4, :57.4 and 1:25.1, Harmon finally tipped the homebred son of Geartogear—Schmoley off cover with an eighth of a mile to go. Gradually cutting into the two-length advantage of Feelnlikearockstar, the Krista Harmon-trained colt managed to edge his nose in front in the last stride to nip the pacesetter in a very tight photo. Feelnlikearockstar was forced to settle for the tough luck second-place finish while Earndawg (Todd Warren) wound up with the show dough.

Dispatched at odds of 9-2, Skim The Top returned $10.60, $5.20 and $3.60 while moving his career numbers to 3-4-2 in 17 starts with earnings of $63,914.

State-bred’s are back in action on Sunday, July 12 with a field of six eight three-year-old trotting colts batting in the $8,000 Brandenburg Stake, which goes as race four on the 10-race program. Their female counterparts will also take to the track in race six as a field of eight will renew acquaintances in the $8,000 Fox Valley Diva Stake. Once again, the wagering action gets underway at 7:10 p.m. on Sunday night and as always the $1 Pick 4 (races seven through 10) features a $25,000 guaranteed pool. The 10-cent Hi Five also features a guaranteed pool now with a $15,000 guarantee on the line in the “ultimate get out bet” (race 10).

(Balmoral Park)

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