Ambassador Hanover and Really Fast won their respective $48,250 divisions of the Arthur Tompkins Memorial for three-year-old colts and geldings on the trot Saturday night (July 24) at The Meadowlands, setting them up well for next week’s Hambletonian Eliminations.
Ambassador Hanover, off a dominant victory in New York Sire Stakes action at Yonkers on July 13, left hard from post 6 in his split and was on the point at the quarter in a quick :26.4 as 3-5 public choice – and winterbook Hambletonian favourite – Venerate, who broke in two of his last three starts, was handled with caution by driver Andy Miller and sat in the three-hole behind the pocket-sitting On A Streak.
A slow second fraction of :29.4 left plenty in the tank for the Ambassador Hanover, who had no problem shrugging off a challenge from Venerate on the far turn before going on to a safe half-length score in a lifetime-best 1:52.3 to lift his lifetime record to seven wins from 13 starts. On A Streak was second with Venerate third.
A son of Chapter Seven-Angel Eyes Hanover, Ambassador Hanover, who is trained and driven by Ake Svanstedt, returned $7.40 as the second choice in the betting.
Really Fast came through for the chalk players, scoring in the second Tompkins division for males as the 1-2 public choice in a lifetime-best-equaling 1:51.2, a mark he set in a qualifier seven days ago.
Calle Palema left quickly from post 1 and stretched out Really Fast as that one did not clear the lead until just after the half in :55.3. From there, the son of Muscle Hill-Stubborn Belle had no trouble, hitting the wire 5-1/4 lengths in front of a fast-closing Spy Booth to complete a one-two finish for the Nancy Takter barn. Calle Palema held third.
Unraced at two, Really Fast, who was driven by Dexter Dunn, has now won four of seven outings. He returned $3.00 to win.
The 31-year-old Dunn, fresh off a Friday night that saw him guide seven to victory lane, also piloted the winners of both $46,450 Tompkins-Geers divisions for sophomore trotting fillies.
Adirondack (Father Patrick-Mission Brief) vacated the three-hole just past the half before grinding away at leader Hot As Hill on the way to a determined half-length score in 1:52.2 after poking her head in front with an eighth of a mile to go. Miss Vet Hanover and Awesome Trix were second and third, respectively.
“She’s really developing into a nice racehorse,” said winning trainer Takter. “She was very wound up as a two-year-old. I think she’s going to have a really nice fall.”
As the 8-5 favourite, Adirondack returned $5.40 after winning for the third time from 10 starts.
Eazy Pass (Muscle Hill-Livininthefastlane) pulled off a big upset at 18-1 in the second division for trainer "Nifty" Norman, returning $38.40 to win after scoring in a lifetime-best 1:53.3.
All eyes were on 2-5 public choice Piper Hanover, who was seeking her fifth win in a row, but she faltered after cutting out rated fractions of :28.1, :57.3 and 1:26.1 on the front.
When Piper Hanover weakened in mid-stretch, the pocket-sitting Dutiful – who was 49-1 – appeared to be going to victory, but Eazy Pass, who sat a three-hole trip, caught that one nearing the line to win by a half-length. Piper Hanover finished third.
A LITTLE MORE: Dunn led the driver colony with three winners on the card, giving him 10 for the weekend. The Big M’s leading driver now has 116 victories on the year.
There were no winning tickets sold in the 20-cent Pick-6, creating a carryover of $10,855.23 for the next race card. Those with five correct collected $248.50.
All-source handle totaled $2,617,831.
Racing resumes Friday (July 30) at 6:20 p.m. (EDT).