It took Albergo Hanover 19 career starts to make it to his first stakes race, but he debuted with a splash, jogging in 1:49.4 in a Pennsylvania Sire Stakes. On Monday (Aug. 20), he’ll try to repeat and secure a spot in the PASS championship in the $162,012 Tarport Effrat, the final preliminary leg for three-year-old pacing colts and geldings, at The Meadows.
The son of Well Said and Allamerican Celeb leaves from post 5 in race eight with regular pilot Joe Bongiorno. First post is 1:05 p.m.
A modest $17,000 yearling acquisition, Albergo Hanover was racing in overnights in Canada when owner Gestion JY Blais Inc. sent him to trainer Jennifer Bongiorno.
“They wanted to see if he could get around Yonkers,” she says. “He’s a little guy, but he was perfect. I recommended to the owner that they take a shot at the Aug. 12 Sire Stakes leg. I had a feeling some of the better colts would be at the Carl Milstein that night. He was so, so good. The minute he reached the stretch, we knew he was a winner. He finished with his ear plugs in.”
Albergo Hanover boasts a three-race winning streak that easily could have been five but for a July 16 mishap at Yonkers, where a hopple broke and settled on a hind leg. Joe Bongiorno was able to keep the colt upright and avert disaster.
“Luck was definitely on our side that night,” Jennifer Bongiorno says. “Luck got him back safe.”
When he first arrived at Yonkers, Albergo Hanover was prone to stud-like behaviour that, Bongiorno says, he since has outgrown.
“When I was walking a mare past him in the paddock, he had a meltdown, jumping up and down like he was trying to escape,” she says. “We had to give him three baths that day. He’s perfect in the paddock now, but we still leave the track with him immediately. We don’t want to chance anything.
“He likes to let people know he’s there, so he’s a little bit vocal — especially around our other stallions. Evenin Of Pleasure will yell, Rubber Duck will yell, and Albergo will yell louder than all of them.”
Albergo Hanover currently is tied for seventh in PASS points; with eight qualifying for the $252,000 championship at Pocono on Sept. 2, he’ll need a strong performance to cement a berth. While lightly staked the rest of the season, he’s eligible for the Simcoe at Woodbine Mohawk Park and the Keystone Classic at The Meadows.
Monday’s card also features a $60,000 Pennsylvania Stallion Series stake for sophomore pacing colts and geldings.