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Merga Hanover Impresses At Batavia

Published: August 14, 2019 9:11 pm ET

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Over $100,000 was up for grabs when the New York Sire Stakes (NYSS) two-year-old pacing fillies visited Batavia Downs on Wednesday afternoon (Aug. 14), and the winners of both divisions put in stellar performances.

The first $53,000 split was won by Merga Hanover (American Ideal-Magic Starlight), who took no prisoners in a gate-to-wire victory.

Merga Hanover was floated off the gate by driver Matt Kakaley for the first eighth of a mile while the rest of the field set up, and then he gunned her to the front and controlled the rest of the mile. After getting to the half in :57.2 with the trailing horses in single file, Cash Roll (Scott Zeron) pulled first-up, with The Fun Marshall (Billy Davis Jr.) right behind her trying to push the issue.

Merga Hanover continued to set the pace to the three-quarters, around the turn and into the stretch, with the competition unable to make up any ground. Kakaley gave his filly her head down the lane, and Merga Hanover paced away to a handy two-length win in 1:55.

“I eased her out of the gate because I never drove her before,” said Kakaley. “But I let her pace the last turn and she coasted home. It was all her.”

The win vaulted Merga Hanover into the NYSS points lead for her division, now with 175.

It was the fourth win in only five lifetime starts for Merga Hanover ($6.90), and it pushed her earnings to $86,866 for owners Thomas Dillon, Scott Dillon, Joe Sbrocco and William Donovan. Ron Burke trains the winner.

Merga Hanover was bred by Hanover Shoe Farms.

The second division went for $54,000 and provided a sizeable upset for the betting public when Movie Town (American Ideal-New Hollywood) came off the pace and lit up the board at 20-1.

Racine Bell (Jason Bartlett) left and took the lead before giving it up to Major Battle (Jim Morrill Jr.) past the quarter. The race proceeded to the half without any changes, when Turnthefrownaround (Matt Kakaley) and Movie Town (Tyler Buter) both rolled up in the outer flow to start chasing down the front runner.

Major Battle hit the three-quarters in 1:26.4 with positions remaining the same behind here; that was until the top of the last turn when Movie Town tipped three-deep and started to make her move. Buter fed Movie Town the lines and she was fully engaged, passing the inside horses easily and stretching out to a two-length win in 1:57.

Movie Town ($43.60) scored her second NYSS win of the year for owner Bay Pond Racing and trainer Jeff Stafford.

Winbak Farm bred Movie Town.

Live racing resumes at Batavia Downs on Friday (Aug. 16), which is the first Friday of racing this meet. Post time for the first race is 6 p.m.

(Batavia Downs)

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