Hanlon holds off Charters to win Battle of the Braintrusts
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Monticello Raceway publicity director John Manzi probably summed it up best when he exclaimed, “Our jobs are safe!” in the winner’s circle following the victory by Dave Hanlon, president and CEO of Empire Resorts, parent company of the track, in the Battle of the Braintrusts Wednesday afternoon. Hanlon, behind the 9–year-old pacer M I Nasty, held off the late-rallying Crackin Good, driven by Hambletonian Society president and CEO Tom Charters, by three-quarters of a length in 2:07.1 in the non-wagering affair held following the afternoon card\'s third race.
Racing one mile in jog carts, four high-ranking racing officials participated in the contest; joining Hanlon and Charters was John Hensley, vice president of racing at Dover Downs, and Jason Settlemoir, vice president of racing and simulcasting for Tioga Downs and Vernon Downs.
Leaving from post one, Hanlon got away first from the gate with M I Nasty, with Charters keeping close tabs in second. The opening quarter was reached in :32.2, which then led to a half of just 1:06. Settlemoir pulled his charge, Passion For Life, first-over to mount a challenge, and after only being able to come up alongside the Charters-driven Crackin Good, began to fade as the third quarter was rattled off in :30 flat by the leading Hanlon and M I Nasty.
Around the final turn Charters tipped his charge to the outside but he ran out of real estate down the stretch and just fell short of catching Hanlon, whose horse paced a final quarter of :31.1 to seal the deal with a back half of 1:01.1.
“I would have passed him if I could,” said an obviously disappointed Charters in the winner’s circle. “But I knew where I wanted to be…”
As for making his futile first-over bid, Settlemoir remarked, “I had to speed things up a bit.”