The return of the defending Horse of the Year and the season’s fastest trotting and pacing miles highlighted the Friday night (June 29) action at The Meadowlands. Hannelore Hanover, the 2017 Horse of the Year, came back to her favorite track and was an easy 2-3/4 length winner of the feature, the $20,000 Preferred Handicap for trotters.
The 6-year-old daughter of Swan For All used a quick burst of speed to clear the top before the half and had little trouble from there, stopping the clock in 1:50.3, which equaled the fastest trotting mile of the year. Pinkman was second with Celebrity Ruth third.
Hannelore Hanover, who returned $2.40 as the 1-5 public choice, was driven by Yannick Gingras and is trained by Ron Burke. She now has 41 wins from 63 lifetime starts and earnings just shy of $2.7 million.
Less than an hour later, Muscle Diamond, driven by Andy McCarthy and trained by Brett Bittle, established a new season’s best on the trot of 1:50.1 while winning a conditioned event.
The 6-year-old son of Muscle Hill ($4.80 to win as the 7-5 favorite) was on the point at the half, shrugged off bitter pressure from longshot Celebrity Express heading to three-quarters, and hit the wire 1-1/4 lengths clear of You Know You Do. He now has 13 wins in 44 career starts and earnings of just under $700,000.
The fireworks show was still going strong in the 12th race finale, as the Tony Alagna-trained American History prepped for next week’s Crawford Farms Meadowlands Pace eliminations with a season's-fastest 1:47 win in a conditioned pace. The victory was Gingras’ fifth of the night.
The 3-year-old son of American Ideal sat off torrid early fractions of :26.3 and :53, which were set by All It Takes. After Hayden Hanover popped the pocket at three-quarters (1:20.1) and came after the leader, right behind him was American History, who got up in deep stretch to record a neck victory, and in the process, lowered his previous lifetime best by 2-1/5 seconds. As the 4-5 favorite, he returned $3.60 to win in taking his fifth lifetime victory in 10 starts.
A Little More: The program also featured first leg New Jersey Sire Stakes action for 2-year-olds, and one performance stood out from the rest. Greenshoe ($2.80 as the 2-5 public choice) broke at the start, got back on gait, made an explosive move heading to three-quarters and won a division of the colt and gelding trot in 1:56.2. The son of Father Patrick was driven by Brian Sears.
The Late 20-cent Jackpot Super High-Five failed to result in a single-ticket winner, upping the carryover to $268,210.
All-source wagering on the card totaled $1,893,698.
Racing resumes at the Big M Saturday at 7:15 p.m. (Meadowlands)