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'Hannelore' Captures Centaur; Always B Miki Strong In Derby

Published: September 24, 2016 11:43 pm ET

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Hannelore Hanover, with driver Yannick Gingras in the bike, returned to her home state of Indiana to turn in a dominant performance in the featured event of the evening, the $220,000 Centaur Trotting Classic, at Hoosier Park Racing & Casino on Saturday, September 24.

The Centaur Trotting Classic serves as Hoosier Park’s richest trotting race and for the second consecutive year, the race was won by a mare.

Just as Bee A Magician did the previous year, Hannelore Hanover easily handled a field of nine male counterparts to add another stakes victory to her resume. With a final time of 1:52.4, the world champion mare made her game winning move down the backside and coasted on to the wire to finish two lengths in front of the competition.

Leaving from post six in the talented field of 10, Hannelore Hanover was eased off the gate to settle in fourth while Homicide Hunter and David Miller got the first call through the opening panel in :26.4. Muscle Up The Goal and Aaron Merriman benefitted from a pocket trip while Crazy Wow and John DeLong were next in line third. Gingras gave Hannelore Hanover the green light just past the half in :55 and she ranged up to reach the leader’s wheel to grab command just before the three-quarter clocking in 1:24.3.

As the field turned for home, Hannelore Hanover began to put her talent on display as she found another gear and started to trot away from the field. Wind Of The North and Corey Callahan rallied gamely in the stretch, but had to settle for second-place honours while Crazy Wow and John DeLong rounded out the trifecta. As the 1-5 favourite, Hannelore Hanover returned $2.60 at the betting windows.

“She’s just a great, great mare,” Gingras noted in the winner’s circle. “I wanted to race her off the pace, but that was a nice horse on the front and I had to move when I did so he didn’t get away from us. She was strong turning for home and just coasted to the wire. She was unbelievably good again tonight.”

Trained by Hoosier Park’s leading trainer, Ron Burke, the four-year-old daughter of Swan For All-High Sobriety notched her 15th win from 17 seasonal outings. Hannelore Hanover has now amassed over $1.2 million for her connections of Burke Racing Stable, Weaver Bruscemi, Frank Baldachino, and J&T Silva Stables.

“I always knew she was a nice mare,” Burke noted before the race. “I told Yannick [Gingras] last year that she was third best trotting filly in the country and she’s proving it now.”

“I am very fond of Mission Brief, but Hannelore Hanover is right up there with her,” he continued. “Hopefully, Mission Brief can come back and we can see these two racing together. They are definitely the nicest trotting mares I’ve ever had and that’s saying a lot because I also trained Buck I St Pat. It’s been a lot of fun with Hannelore Hanover this season.”

The victory with Hannelore Hanover was one of four winners on the evening’s 14-race card for both Ron Burke and Yannick Gingras. Burke currently leads all trainers at Hoosier Park for the 2016 live harness racing season with 64 wins on the season through 125 days of racing.

Always B Miki Strides Home Strongly In Pacing Derby

The majority of the members of the Hoosier Park audience were in attendance to witness a show of superb speed and unrivalled power. They certainly received what they travelled to the Anderson oval to witness, as Always B Miki paced yet another tour-de-force in a facile triumph in the $170,000 Hoosier Park Pacing Derby.

“I think he and Wiggle It Jiggleit are horses before their time,” said David Miller, who steered the five-year-old stallion through his mile. “They are just not like any other horses we have seen before. We will see other horses that come along like them as time goes on with their speed and how far they can carry it, but right now they stand alone.”

The overwhelming public selection at 1-9, Always B Miki and Miller left from the rail and went straight to the front. Freaky Feet Pete and Trace Tetrick were right on their heels from post position three as those two horses clicked off a first-quarter mile of :26.2. Miller and Always B Miki pulled comfortably away from Freaky Feet Pete to lead by a length at the half-mile pole in :55.

At that juncture, Dealt A Winner with Aaron Merriman at the controls and Always At My Place in rein to Ricky Macomber Jr., made their bids for the front, with Dealt A Winner passing Freaky Feet Pete to take second and locking the four-year-old stallion in the pocket.

After three-quarters in 1:22.3, the six-horse field entered in the stretch with Always B Miki and Miller still reigning supreme. As they were set down for the final push to the wire, Freaky Feet Pete’s only option for victory was the passing lane, while it appeared Dealt A Winner and Always At My Place had far too much real estate to cover to even draw even with the leader.

Tetrick and Freaky Pete punched through the inside to give chase and despite a :25.4 final quarter panel on their part, it was simply not enough to relegate Always B Miki to their rearview mirror prior to the finish line.

Miller and Always B Miki crossed the finish line in 1:48.2. Like Freaky Feet Pete, Always B Miki came home in :25.4, yet it appeared the stallion could have went much more swiftly if Miller had truly asked for what remained in reserve.

After a valiant effort, Freaky Feet Pete was second with Always Bets Off rushing from sixth to claim the show position over the fading Dealt A Winner.

Owned by Bluewood Stable, Roll The Dice Stable and Christina Takter, world and Indiana champion Always B Miki, is conditioned by Christina’s husband Jimmy. The son of Always A Virgin-Artstopper, paid a paltry $2.10 for a trip around the Anderson oval that truly demonstrated his hooves step in rarefied air, with the exacta paying $4.20 and the trifecta $18.00.

After the winner’s circle festivities were complete, Miller solemnly stated what over recent months is beginning to become very obvious.

“I have driven a lot of very good horses over the years,” he said. “I’ve been doing this for a long time, but this horse has to rank up there with the best of them and he may be the best.”

Favourites Prevail In Grand Circuit Stakes

On an absolutely perfect evening in Anderson, Indiana, the teaming crowd packing the apron was anxiously awaiting the return of their beloved equine superstars in the co-featured $170,000 Hoosier Park Pacing Derby and the $220,000 Centaur Trot, but they received not merely one, but three powerful performances in the $246,000 Kentucky Stallion Management Stake, the $140,000 Elevation Stake and the $100,000 Jenna’s Beach Boy from Idyllic Beach, Fear The Dragon and JK Will Power.

Idyllic Beach commenced the action in the eighth race, the Kentuckiana Stallion Management Stake. The two-year-old daughter of Somebeachsomewhere-Idyllic, was hustled out to the lead by pilot Yannick Gingras immediately after leaving the gate ahead of Always Giggling and established an initial first quarter-mile split of :27.2.

The filly, who is conditioned by Jimmy Takter and possessed by his wife Christina, John Fielding and Brixton Medical Inc. and Marvin Katz, effortlessly glided around the Hoosier Park oval in quarter-mile times of :56.4, 1:25.2 and stopped the clocked in 1:52.2.

While her rivals attempted to collar her, their efforts were in vain and Glassine Hanover, despite a valiant pursuit, had to settle for second, with Awash, who also made a strong move in the stretch, in third.

“She does everything you want her to do,” said Gingras, who scored four wins on the evening.

With her latest victory, Idyllic Beach’s record improves to 8-6-2-0 and her bank account increased to $492,262. The filly, the overwhelming public select at post time, paid $2.50 to her supporters, while the exacta was $4.20 and the trifecta $10.20.

Fear The Dragon certainly served notice he is colt that bears some serious watching, as the two-year-old son of Dragon Again-Armbro Cinnamon collected his sixth career triumph in the $140,000 Elevation Stake, which was the ninth race on the card.

With David Miller in the bike, the Brian Brown pupil and even-money favourite was placed on the lead in the beginning of the contest from post six, but was passed after the first quarter-mile, which went in a stiff a :25.2, by Every Way Out and Corey Callahan. Miller and Fear The Dragon were content to sit in the pocket seat, as Every Way Out set fractions of :55.1 and 1:23.4 before he was overhauled by Rock N Tony and Trace Tetrick heading into the stretch.

That is when Miller took action and pulled Fear The Dragon to pace for home. Although Ocean Colony and Yannick Gingras made a strong move of their own from third, the duo simply did not have enough punch to overtake the Bruce Trogdon-owned colt, who hit the wire in 1:50.4. John De Long and Odds On Delray also closed strongly through the lane, but came home third.

“I usually sell my colts,” Trogdon said. “But I loved this colt right from the time he was a baby. His dam foaled Cinnamony ($501,394) who is an Art Official, and she has a yearling by McArdle, but she is back in foal to Dragon Again, because of this colt. We love this cross with Dragon Again and this colt has just been perfect all along. We also had high hopes for him and we are hoping we will back in the winner’s circle here at Hoosier Park again with him.”

Fear The Dragon’s resume now stands at 9-5-2-2 and he has amassed $212,016 in purse money. The colt offered $4.20 to win, with the exacta providing $15.20 for those with the correct wager and the trifecta paid $132.60.

Not to be outdone by the youngsters’ wins prior to his stakes engagement, JK Will Power made a statement of his own in the $100,000 Jenna’s Beach Boy Pace. With David Miller holding the lines, the son of Somebeachsomewhere-Whats New Pussycat, trained by Ron Burke, was in fifth-place in the first quarter-mile behind leader Dontcallmefrancis, who set the opening fraction of :26.2. Dontcallmefrancis led the field through the half-mile in :55.1 until he was overtaken by JK Will Power shortly before the three-quarter pole with the tote board flashing a time of 1:24.

From there, it was all JK Will Power, who hit the wire in 1:51.2. Granite made a bid from last to finish second, with Mystical Rock pacing from second to last to be third.

Owned by 3 Brothers Stables, the three-year-old colt paid $5.20 to win as the even-money favourite. He collected his sixth lifetime victory from 26 trips to the post.

“He has not won a lot of races and usually finishes second or third,” said Miller, who captured three races in his trip to Anderson. “But at the top of the stretch, I knew I had plenty of horse and he would come home a winner tonight.”

The exacta paid $134.60 and the trifecta $3,710.40 to their respective supporters.

(With files from Hoosier Park)

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