The four-year-old Shadow Play-BJs Squall stallion Bulldog Hanover proved himself the top dog at the aged pacing ranks by doing most of the work on the front to clock a stakes-record and track- and world-record-equalling 1:46 mile in the $99,500 second of two divisions for the Roll With Joe on Saturday (July 2) at The Meadowlands.
Allywag Hanover hustled for the lead to a :26.2 first quarter while Bulldog Hanover, scratching into the pylon post, settled for the pocket. But driver Dexter Dunn had plenty of pull in his hands up the backside and soon circled Bulldog Hanover for the lead before a :53.4 half. From there, the field gave futile pursuit as he clicked three-quarters in 1:20.2 and cruised home to best Allywag Hanover by 1-3/4 lengths with the next-closest finisher, Abuckabett Hanover, well behind in third.
“[Dexter] was sort of speechless,” trainer Noel Daley said after the race. “Jack [Darling] said the same thing, that [Bulldog Hanover] was pretty special; it’s just so easy. [Dexter] said it took a half mile to pull him up tonight, too.”
Noel Daley oversees the Jack Darling-developed pupil, whom Darling co-owns through his Jack Darling Stables Ltd. with Brad Grant, during his residency in New Jersey. In taking his 19th win from 27 starts, not only did he elevate his account to $1,101,196, but he also became just the third horse in harness racing history to post a 1:46 mile. Always B Miki became the first at The Red Mile in 2016 and Lather Up the second at The Meadowlands in 2019.
“We take no credit – we got him 48 hours before his first start,” Daley said. “We’re just checking him over, that’s it; we’ve done nothing with him. He hardly trains, but they don’t need to when they go that quick.”
Bulldog Hanover, off at 1-5, returned $2.40 to win.
Fresh off a :24.4 final-quarter chase to Bulldog Hanover in the Graduate Series, Rockyroad Hanover procured a second-over tow behind Charlie May and ripped off cover to post a 1:46.2 victory in the $98,000 first division of two for the Roll With Joe.
“That’s a dream trip for him,” winning driver Todd McCarthy said, “and it’s a dream mile, too.”
Receiving late play down to 6-5 favouritism, Rockyroad Hanover floated off the wings to race fifth as Workin Ona Mystery motored for the lead to a :26 first quarter with Splash Brother sitting the pocket. Charlie May, the 7-5 second choice, sat patiently in fourth before committing to race first-over past a :53.3 half, giving Rockyroad Hanover a slipstream to follow.
Charlie May marched to match strides with Workin Ona Mystery by three-quarters in 1:20.4 and soon forged to the lead as Todd McCarthy edged Rockyroad Hanover toward open racetrack. In a matter of strides, the four-year-old stallion by Captaintreacherous-Romantic Moment accelerated clear to win going away by 2-3/4 lengths over Charlie May in the stakes-record mile, which bests the 1:47.2 mark set by State Treasurer in 2015. Workin Ona Mystery held third and Nicholas Beach took fourth.
“I felt like I had a lot of horse; I knew it was going to be a pretty big mile,” McCarthy said after the race. “[Charlie May]’s a very hard horse to get past, but my guy had a lot of sprint left in the stretch, so he finished really strong.”
Rockyroad Hanover notched his eighth victory from 31 starts and pushed his career bankroll $695,605. Tony Alagna conditions the stallion for owner M3 Racing Stable. He paid $4.60 to win.
KEEPING PACE: Meadowlands Pace eligible Frozen Hanover won the first race on the card – for non-winners of two – in 1:50 for trainer Luc Blais and is likely to be seen in the eliminations for the $700,000 (est.) three-year-old classic next week.
I Did It Myway is apparently ready for "The Pace" elims. The Tony Alagna trainee won a high-end conditioned event as the 9-5 favourite in a lifetime-best 1:48.1. His stablemate, Caviart Camden, is also expected to race in The Pace. He finished third after challenging the eventual winner before backing off and pacing well to the finish. The Pace eliminations will be drawn Tuesday (July 5).
BETTING TOPS $3 MILLION: All-source handle totalled $3,253,800 on the 13-race program, keyed by the first (total bet $376,308, $102,266 in the 20-cent Pick-5), sixth ($317,199, $100,887 in the Early 50-cent Pick-4), and 10th ($395,390, $107,936 in the Late 50-cent Pick-4) races. It marked the 14th time in 50 race cards in 2022 that wagering went past the magic $3-million mark.
SLIP ME FIVE: Dexter Dunn drove five winners on the card on what was yet another huge night for the three-time defending United States Harness Writers Association Driver of the Year.