The Allerage pace victory tied the track record and set a new world mark for older pacing geldings.
extra quotes by James Platz / story by Ray Cotolo for Red Mile
Pacing powerhouse Bulldog Hanover tried his hand at beating the world record he set just a few months ago, but had glory pried from his hands when Allywag Hanover lunged to the lead and stopped the clock in 1:46 to win the $153,000 Allerage Farms open pace on Sunday (Oct. 9) at The Red Mile.
“It was awesome,” winning driver Todd McCarthy told HRU’s James Platz. “And to do it with Allywag, who is a horse that I’ve had a relationship with for a while now. He’s just such a fun horse to drive and to be a part of, so that was a big thrill today.”
Driver Dexter Dunn laid the foundation for Bulldog Hanover’s mark in history with a clip of :26.2, :52.2 and 1:19.1 while unopposed on the lead. McCarthy meanwhile kept Allywag Hanover ready in second and launched his attack on the turn for home. Bulldog Hanover fought for life with an eighth to go as Allywag Hanover unrelentingly kept pushing forward in the climb to the finish.
The pressure eventually mounted, and world champ Bulldog Hanover conceded the fight to Allywag Hanover as the 5-year-old Captaintreacherous gelding snagged the 1:46 mark to match Always B Miki’s track record, set in 2016, while also lowering the world record for older pacing geldings set back in 2006 by Holborn Hanover.
“I thought that we’d probably roll on a little bit today,” McCarthy said. “The question was if I was going to have enough pace to get by him Bulldog at the end. He’s such a brave horse and he’s obviously proven that he’s no easy horse to get by, or even get near, sometimes. Today, I thought we had the right horse for it. When Allywag is at his best, he can go with anyone and he showed that today.
“The fractions were really good, you know. I was pretty excited when we got down to the half like we did. I was just hoping that if I could get Bulldog going a little bit early that he’d carry that momentum forward and we’d be down to the half in good time and we could go from there. Everything just fell into place perfectly for us.
“Full credit to [trainer] Brett [Pelling]. He’s got that horse spot on and he’s just such a fun horse to drive.”
Dunn said Bulldog Hanover, “raced great. It was a tough mile and he put up the fractions. He maybe wasn’t quite as sharp. I was coming into the last turn and I thought I might have been in a little trouble with him, but he still raced awesome.
“He’s a really good horse, Allywag, so you expect that.”
“I feel like I’m Marylou Whitney after the ’04 Belmont and having to apologize to the crowd,” said Adam Bowden, co-owner of Allywag Hanover, after the race. “We were told he was coming in ready to do this and it was pretty exciting. It set up perfectly for him. Todd, a masterful drive; Brett, a masterful training job.”
“He’s had two races – at Hoosier and Dayton – where [he was] locked in for his life and loaded,” trainer Pelling said. “If ever a horse is sitting on one, it’s after those trips. We know he can follow any speed and he was just sensational today.”
Allywag Hanover collected his 23rd victory from 52 tries and pushed his earnings $1,545,280 for owner Allywag Stable. The David who slayed Goliath paid $23.82 to win.
Jeff and Paula Gural sponsored the Allerage Farms open pace.