1:46.4 — The Doctor Delivers

Dr J Hanover’s victory in his Graduate division Saturday at Mohawk is the fastest mile in Canadian history and a world record for a four-year-old gelding.

by Dave Briggs and Mark McKelvie / WEG

Dr J Hanover broke out of his 15-race losing streak in the biggest way possible — with a 1:46.4 all-age Canadian record mile Saturday (June 3) in his Graduate division at Mohawk Racetrack that erased the previous national record of 1:47.1 set in June of 2016 by Always B Miki. The mile, orchestrated by driver Doug McNair in the $67,230 Graduate for pacers, was also a world record for four-year-old geldings.

“He has had more than his fair share of bad luck starting back this year and I’m so happy for the partnership that owns him,” said Dr. J Hanover’s trainer, Tony Alagna, referring to owners Brad Grant of Milton, ON, Robert Leblanc of New York City, Steven Wienick of Delray Beach, FL and Irwin Samelman of Las Vegas NV, who topped the 2017 January Select Mixed Sale at the Meadowlands by purchasing Dr J Hanover for $280,000. “I told them to not lose faith in him and he showed up tonight. The world record is an amazing bonus and honored to be a part of Canadian racing history.”

Grant said the connections, “really believed (Dr J Hanover) was a lot better horse than he had showed but really didn’t see this type of mile coming tonight. The race set up well and with there being a lot of front-end speed Doug was able to get him in a great position coming for home and the Doctor delivered.”

McNair took full advantage of wild fractions of :26.2, :53 and 1:20 to come away with the record victory.

Dr J Hanover was fired to the front by McNair in a field of six and posted an opening quarter of :26.2. Boston Red Rocks and Brett Miller swept up to take the lead entering the backstretch, but they immediately had company in the form of Lyons Snyder and Yannick Gingras. The half flashed up in :53, as Lyons Snyder powered by Boston Red Rocks and continued to set a wild pace entering the far turn. Positions went unchanged in the third-quarter, as Dr J Hanover sat third and three-lengths back, while Lyons Snyder hit three-quarters in 1:20. In the stretch, Boston Red Rocks angled out and paced by Lyons Snyder, while Dr J Hanover followed the path and eventually tipped off his back to set up a two-horse battle. Boston Red Rocks tried his best to fight off the outside pressure, but Dr J Hanover was too much to handle and powered by to win by a length at odds of 15-1.

“That was a huge mile,” McNair said. “(Dr J Hanover) felt great once he got to the lead and even when they went :53 he was still on the bit. At the top of the stretch I asked him a little and he jumped forward. It was very surprising to see the time come up. It doesn’t happen very often and I’m glad I got to be the first driver to beat :47 on Canadian soil. It felt great.” It was the first time McNair had driven Dr J Hanover.

Dr J Hanover now has career numbers of nine wins and $387,961 earned. He paid $32.90 to win.

The world record by a four-year-old gelding shaved three-fifths-of-a-second off the previous record of 1:47.2 held by Bettor Sweet and Wiggle It Jiggleit. Dr J Hanover also equaled Warrawee Needy’s overall record for a four-year-old pacer.

The other $67,230 Graduate division didn’t feature any records, but did have a thrilling finish.

Dave Menary trainee Sintra battled back to edge out Western Fame in 1:49.3.

Driven by Jody Jamieson, Sintra made a second-quarter move to the lead from third to take command away from Western Fame. Jamieson’s charge posted middle-half fractions of :53.3 and 1:21.

In the stretch, Western Fame was angled to the outside and got by Sintra for a moment, but the Menary trainee wouldn’t quit and fought back to win by a nose. Easy Lover Hanover shot up the rail late to finish third.

“I knew he was going to have to dig deep,” said Menary about his feeling at the top of the lane. “I knew he really dug back in and was by the horse after the wire. He’s a good enough horse that he was passed and he dug. That’s the kind of a horse he is.”

A four-year-old gelded son of Mach Three—Dancing Barefoot, Sintra improved his 2017 record to four wins in five starts with his triumph Saturday. He is now a 12-time winner with career earnings exceeding $400,000 for owners Brad Gray, Michael Guerriero and Menary Racing Inc.
Sintra paid $3.90 to win.

Over on the trotting side, Ron Burke trainee Dayson prevailed in a photo finish over Trolley to win the $100,845 12-horse Graduate Series Trot.

Driven by Gingras, Dayson grabbed the lead in the second-quarter, but had to deal with pressure by first-over challenger Warrawee Roo throughout the middle-half. After trotting a third-quarter in :28 to reach that station in 1:24.1, Dayson put away Warrawee Roo, but immediately had to deal with Trolley, who had been sitting second-over with driver Marcus Miller.

Dayson and Trolley went toe-to-toe down to the wire, with the leader holding on to win by a nose in 1:52.3.

“I thought maybe he got me in the last step,” said Gingras post-race. “My horse had raced on the front a few weeks in a row… I really wanted tonight to race him from the back if it was a shorter field, but I was in a tough spot and if I took him back I would’ve got away about sixth or seventh, but my horse raced another big mile.”

Broadway Donna, who had captured the opening leg of the Graduate, didn’t have her usual punch in the lane and finished third.

A four-year-old gelded son of Conway Hall, Dayson was winless in three starts heading into Saturday’s outing. He now has 20 career wins and earnings of over $700,000 for owners Burke Racing Stable LLC, Our Horse Cents Stables, J And T Silva Stables LLC and Rossie Smith.

Dayson paid $4.40 to win.

Somebeachsomewhere divisions to Hurricane Beach, Macs Jackpot

Saturday’s card also featured a pair of 11-horse $70,000 Somebeachsomewhere Stakes divisions, as many Pepsi North America Cup eligible three-year-old pacers were putting in their final preparations ahead of next week’s eliminations.

Hurricane Beach and driver Louis Philippe Roy captured the first division in 1:50.3. The Luc Blais trainee went gate-to-wire to score his second win of the season.

A gelded son of Somebeachsomewhere—Blazing Yankee and North America Cup eligible, Hurricane Beach set fractions of :26.3, :55 and 1:22.1, before scooting home in :28.3 to capture a division of the race named for his sire.

Lawrencetown Beach finished four-lengths back in second, while Sports Column was third.

Roy’s victory with Hurricane Beach Saturday was the first Grand Circuit victory of his career. Following the race, he noted that some equipment adjustments made a big difference for his charge.

“We trained him with different equipment last week and he was too grabby,” said Roy. “So (Blais) put back the equipment he had before cause he couldn’t relax like he did tonight with the other equipment.”

Hurricane Beach, who was winless in three starts as a rookie, came into Saturday’s start with only $12,180 in earnings. His bankroll now sits at $47,180 for owner Determination.

A $2 win ticket on Hurricane Beach returned $14.40.

Another son of Somebeachsomewhere captured the second division to make it a perfect sweep for “The Beach” in his own race.

Despite never seeing the rail, Macs Jackpot and David Miller came from way back to score a 42-1 upset.

The Jim Campbell trainee sat eighth and on the outside throughout the majority of the mile, but was able to pick up the pieces when leader Richard Hill tired in the lane.

Richard Hill cleared to the lead just after the opening-quarter and posted fractions of :54.3 and 1:22.1. In the stretch, Richard Hill had to fight off Frontier Seelster, but that took its toll and the backfield came to life.

Macs Jackpot followed Stealth Bomber down the lane and was able to surge by all his rivals to win by a neck in 1:51.4. Stealth Bomber edged out Richard Hill for second.

Trained by Campbell for owner Jeff Snyder, Macs Jackpot overcame post-nine to score his second victory in six starts this season.

“We had planned on trying to get him into the race, but with a big field and all, a lot of guys were taking a shot,” said Miller following the race. “He ended up fourth-over and was out the whole way, but he was just kind of feeling pretty comfortable until the last turn and then he did get interested and finished it up good.”

Macs Jackpot is eligible to next week’s Pepsi North America Cup eliminations. He paid $86.30 to win.

The Pepsi North America Cup eliminations will take place next Saturday (June 10).