Lucas Wallin will hope it’s party time with Soiree Hanover, as well as several other horses from his stable, when the two-week New Jersey Classic Series (NJCS) begins on Friday night (Sept. 1) at The Meadowlands.
Soiree Hanover, whose family includes Dan Patch Award winners Father Patrick, Pastor Stephen and Chocolatier, has two wins and a third in three lifetime starts as she heads to the first of three $25,000 NJCS eliminations for two-year-old female trotters at the Big M. The top three finishers from each division plus a fourth-place finisher chosen by lot will advance to the final on Sept. 8.
On Friday, The Meadowlands will also host NJCS elims for two- and three-year-old male trotters, two-year-old male and female pacers, and three-year-old female trotters. Eliminations for three-year-old male and female pacers are Saturday. The NJCS, sponsored by The Meadowlands and Standardbred Breeders & Owners Association of New Jersey, is for New Jersey-sired horses and horses eligible to the New Jersey Standardbred Development Fund stakes.
Soiree Hanover is the 3-1 morning-line second choice in her elim, leaving from post two with Tim Tetrick driving for trainer Wallin. The daughter of Walner-Spring Gala won two preliminary rounds of the New Jersey Sire Stakes and was third from post eight in the final, when she made a three-wide move from sixth on the last turn to finish three-quarters of a length behind winner Buy A Round and a nose from second-place Sunkist Beauty.
Sunkist Beauty is the 2-1 favourite in the first NJCS elimination, starting from post seven with trainer/driver Ake Svanstedt.
“She’s been good,” Wallin said about Soiree Hanover, a $110,000 Standardbred Horse Sale purchase owned by Snogarps Gard Inc. “She didn’t do her best race in the final, but she wasn’t bad, either. Maybe our expectations were too high for that start. Right away, I was a little disappointed, but she raced well.
“We gave her an easy week after the final [which was Aug. 5] and then have been training her normally. She’s a big filly and I think she needed to recover from those three races. I expect her to race good right away here.”
Soiree Hanover is one of four Wallin Stable horses in the NJCS. The 2022 U.S. Rising Star Award winner will also send out Devilish Hill in the second of two eliminations for three-year-old male trotters, Mosquito in the second of two elims for two-year-old male trotters, and Southwind Desi in the single elim for three-year-old female trotters.
Devilish Hill will start his elim from post two with driver Andy McCarthy and is 8-1 on the morning line. The son of Muscle Hill-Devilish Delight has a win in a conditioned race and heads to the NJCS off a third-place finish in a consolation division of the Beal Memorial. The elim’s even-money favourite is Up Your Deo, who counts the Beal Memorial’s main event and MGM Yonkers Trot among his four wins this season.
“He’s had a solid year,” Wallin said about Devilish Hill, who has earned $76,343 this year for owners Wallin and Kjell Magne Andersen. “He’s not really racing with the best colts out there, but I don’t think he’s too far away. He drew well. Hopefully, he makes the final. Then, anything can happen.”
The top five finishers from each elim advance to the final. Grand Circuit winners Celebrity Bambino (7-5) and Oh Well (9-5) are the top morning-line choices in the first division for three-year-old male trotters.
Mosquito has raced only once so far, winning a conditioned event Aug. 14 at Mohegan Pennsylvania’s Pocono Downs. He qualified on Aug. 24 at The Meadowlands and was third, beaten by a head, behind Seven Reps and Sig Sauer.
The son of Muscle Hill-Amour Heiress was purchased for $250,000 at the Standardbred Horse Sale and his four siblings — Spy Booth, Periculum, King Alphonso and Crown — are all stakes winners with more than $298,000 in purses apiece. The family also includes Hambletonian champ Trixton and Dan Patch Award winners Andover Hall and Conway Hall.
Mosquito starts Friday from post two with driver Brian Sears and is 8-1.
“He was a late-bloomer and we took our time with him,” said Wallin, who trains Mosquito for owners Morrison Racing Stables and John Fielding. “This race might be a couple weeks too early for him. He won at Pocono in a very good way and we tried to get him in again, but he didn’t get in. We qualified him at The Meadowlands and he looked good over the track and Brian was happy.
“He’s a really nice colt and I think he’s going to have a good late summer and good fall. He has a great pedigree. I expect big things from him, especially next year; he’s been growing a lot. We decided to give him a chance here.”
Sig Sauer, the New Jersey Sire Stakes champion, is the 5-2 morning-line favourite in Mosquito’s elimination. New Jersey Sire Stakes runner-up My Way is the 3-1 pick in the other division.
In the elimination for three-year-old female trotters, the top nine finishers from the 10-horse field will join bye recipient Secret Volo in the final. Grand Circuit winner and 2022 New Jersey Classic champ Quick Stop is the 3-1 morning-line favourite in the elim. Wallin’s Southwind Desi, another starter from post two for the trainer, is 15-1 with Yannick Gingras.
“We’re going to see what she can do, but we have no expectations,” Wallin said about the Harbor Racing Stable-owned daughter of Muscle Hill-Drinking Class. “We’re going to make a couple changes with her. She didn’t race bad her last start [second in a conditioned trot at Harrah’s Philadelphia] but it’s a different race this time. We’ll give her a chance and see what happens.”
Racing begins at 6:20 p.m. (EDT) at The Meadowlands. For a free TrackMaster program for Friday's card at the Big M, click here.