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Andover The Top Shatters Meadows Record

Published: August 28, 2010 9:54 pm ET

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Plagued by breaks in her early efforts, Andover The Top was flat and fast Saturday at The Meadows, blazing to a track record 1:55.3 in a $281,730 Pennsylvania Sires Stake for freshman filly trotters.

The event, known as the Delmonica Hanover, was conducted over five divisions, with Caitrin Hall, Dont Blink, Norma Jean Hall and Beatgoeson Hanover taking the other splits. Dave Palone fashioned a stake driving triple with Andover The Top, Dont Blink and Beatgoeson Hanover.

Andover The Top experienced gaiting problems as trainer Monte Gelrod tried to get her to the races, and she broke again in her pari-mutuel debut in a Pennsylvania Sires Stake at Harrah’s Chester. When Palone sent her to the front Saturday, she was a tiger, registering three-quarters in 1:26.4 with plenty in the tank for a :28.4 closing panel. Sister Kate was 7-1/4 lengths back in second, with Finaltab Hanover third.

“She’s the most impressive two-year-old I’ve sat behind in some time,” Palone said. “She has a ton of ability and a lot of pedigree. I know the connections have been high on her and that she went through some sickness. I kept her calm in the score-down. In the race, I floated her out of there, and she showed what she had.”

Her time broke the track and stake records of 1:56 set last year by Fashion Feline and Action Broadway and was only two ticks off Honorable Daughters World Record for freshman trotting fillies on a five-eighths-mile track. Barbara Bongiorno of Colts Neck, New Jersey, R. Peter Heffering of Port Perry, ON and Arne Weiner of Boca Raton, Florida own Andover The Top.

Caitrin Hall moved effortlessly first over for Eric Ledford for her second consecutive sires stake victory, scoring in a career-best 1:58, a nose better than Lyrical Lady. Early leader Tango Dancer finished third.

“I was at the Harrisburg sale when my friend Curt Grummell called and told me the owner would give up to $30,000 for a trotting filly who would be a broodmare prospect,” said Tony Alagna, who trains Caitrin Hall for Patrick Graham. “I looked over the Walnut Hall consignment, and this horse was a knockout, absolutely gorgeous. Wouldn’t you know it? I was able to get her for exactly $30,000.

“She loves tracking down horses. She’s all business in the race.”

A daughter of Tom Ridge-CR Oh Suzanna, Caitrin Hall will compete in next Sunday’s PASS championship at Harrah’s Chester.

Dont Blink’s early speed got her to the pocket, where she launched her winning Lightning Lane drive to prevail in 1:58.2. After Dark, who led for most of the mile after a quarter-pole move, was beaten 2-1/4 lengths, with Quantum Glidingby third.

“She’s a solid filly, never makes a mistake,” Palone said. “She might not be the fastest filly, but she does nothing wrong.”

Kris Rickert trains Dont Blink, a daughter of Broadway Hall-SB Ina, who won for the fourth time in eight starts, for Dale Wareham.

Palone drove five winners on the 15-race card while Ray Paver enjoyed a driving triple.

(The Meadows)

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