The 2014 Hanover Stakes season kicked off on Saturday, June 7th at Balmoral Park as a pair of events for diagonally gaited sophomores shared top billing on the 13-race program.
A full field of 10 three-year-old trotting colts started the action in race four as they battled for a purse of $25,900. Fresh off back to back stakes scores over state-bred competition here at Balmoral, Mike Brink and Loren Tournear’s Tour Hall made it three in a row as he powered to a four-length victory in a career best of 1:56.0 for driver Dave Magee.
Pointed right for the front from post position four, the altered son of American Native—Broadway And Fifth grabbed command of the proceedings midway around the first turn leading the field through an opening quarter in 29.4.
Pressure came on the backside as Mac Kemp (Dean Magee) rolled up first over battling the pace-setter through middle splits of 59.3 & 1:28.2.
After putting away that bid the Mike Brink trainee kept the remainder of the field at bay with a sharp 27.3 final panel to notch his eighth lifetime victory. Another Illinois bred, Fox Valley Veto (John De Long) rallied from far back to get the runner-up check while Red Solo Cup (Robert Smolin) finished third.
With the win, Tour Hall who returned $8.40, $4.00 & $2.80, now boasts a record of eight wins, four seconds and one third in 18 career starts with earnings of $122,801.
Another full field was sent postward in race six as 10 fillies slugged it out for a purse of $24,400. This time it was an Indiana invader who toted home top honors as Dan & Jo Anne Shetler’s homebred Diamond Peak posted a 2 ¾ length victory in wire to wire fashion for her co-owner, trainer and driver Dan Shetler.
Working hard to get to the front in 28.3 from post position five, the daughter of Yankee Glide—Minibar was then able to catch a breather as Shetler guided her through leisurely middle splits of 58.2 & 1:27.3.
The lightly raced bay was never seriously threatened the rest of the way as she trotted home in 28.1 to secure her second win in just five lifetime starts. Pray With Me (Dale Hiteman) overcame a tough first over journey from post 10 to be the bridesmaid while Bailey’s Wish (Dave Magee) wound up third after a pocket sitting journey.
Despite the lack of experience Diamond Peak drew plenty of attention for the betting public returning just $4.00, $2.80 & $3.00 while upping her bankroll to $15,559.
Speaking of Hall of Famer Dave Magee, the 60-year-old reinsman joined some very elite company on Saturday night, eclipsing the $100,000,000 million mark in career earnings. The Big Rock, Illinois native who has more than 11,700 victories, achieved the milestone with a third place finish behind Real Or Magic in Saturday’s $15,000 Invitational-Handicap, making him only the 17th driver in the history of the sport to reach the $100,000,000 mark.