Used multiple times during the mile, Ewald Hanover responded like a polished veteran, roaring through the stretch to capture the fastest division of Monday's $121,400 Keystone Classic at The Meadows. The event for 2-year-old cold and gelding pacers was contested over three divisions, with Kingofthejungle and Seventh Secret taking the other splits.
Dave Palone's four wins on the 15-race card gave him 15,999 in his quest to become the first North American driver with 16,000 victories. Only Germany's Heinz Wewering, who is still active with 16,689 wins (as of Sept. 20), has more. Palone has 14 scheduled assignments on Tuesday's program.
David Miller pushed Ewald Hanover from post 7 for an early seat fourth, then moved him second over. But when his cover faltered, the The Panderosa-Endela Hanover gelding went back to the pylons, squeezed between horses around the final turn and triumphed in 1:52.2, a tick off the stake mark. McWicked was second, 3 1/4 lengths back, with Workandplayhard third.
"But for one clunker, he's raced well every start,” Miller said. "He'll be a nice 3 year old, I think. They're turning him out now, and I think he'll be a nice horse next year.”
Casie Coleman trains Ewald Hanover for West Wins Stable and Adriano Sorella.
Kingofthejungle provided the Keystone Classic shocker when, at 25-1, he overpowered 1-9 favorite Allstar Partner with a first-over move for Brett Miller and scored in a career-best 1:53. Here Comes William was two lengths back in second while Allstar Partner saved show.
"We were going kind of slow, and my horse was getting a little rammy,” Brett Miller said. "So I thought I would pull and sit out there and hopefully finish second or third. My intentions weren't to go by like that. But when I got to (Allstar Partner's) wheel, this colt felt so good that I just popped the earplugs, and he was gone.”
Brandon Simpson conditions the Well Said-Allamerican Calico gelding for DeSyllas Racing, William Beck and Carol Rieken.
Mike Wilder didn't necessarily want Seventh Secret on the early lead, but once the son of Allamerican Native-Secret Song got there by looping the field, he made the most of it. He downed Good Citations by a neck in 1:54.4, with Caviart Luca completing the ticket.
"I was taking him back, and they weren't going any,” Wilder said. "”We were crawling, and I'm getting away sixth was how it looked. So I just hit the gas. He's never been on the front, and I didn't know how that would work out. For a colt with a little bit of a stale date, he met the challenge.”
Dan Altmeyer trains Seventh Secret for owner/breeder Ruth Altmeyer. (The Meadows)