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Hanovers continue at Balmoral Park

July 12, 2015

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The 2015 Hanover Stakes continued on Saturday with a total of 15 sophomore pacing colts squaring off in a pair of $21,775 divisions as the Grand Circuit action returned to the Crete oval.  Pacing fillies were also in action with a field of eight slugging it out for a purse of $26,000 in another Hanover tussle.
In the filly event Kristopher Heim, Connie Hochstetler and James Michels Southern Girl overcame a tough first over journey as she rallied in the closing yards to post a half-length victory in a career best of 1:52.4 for Casey Leonard.
Positioned in mid-pack as Ashok Ace (Mike Oosting) and then Lex (Kyle Wilfong) led the field through splits of :27.4, :56.1 and 1:24.3 Leonard pulled first-over from fourth as the field moved around the far turn. Grinding her way to the lead, the Homer Hochstetler trained daughter of Sportsmaster-Biloxi finally overtook a game Lex who had been battling Ashok Ace tooth and nail, drawing clear in the final strides to notch her fifth win in 14 career starts in this her first season of racing. Ashok Ace was hard fought second while Sportsmuffler (Todd Warren) rallied to be third. The third choice in the wagering managed to return a healthy $23.80 while upping her career earnings to $32,517.
After yet another thunderstorm soaked the racing surface the first division for the pacing colts was contested. The wet surface did not seem to bother Strollin Stable, King McNamara, William Robinson and Country Club Acres' Rise Up Now as the star of the Pennsylvania Sire Stake circuit splashed to a one-length victory in 1:54.1 for driver Don Harmon.
Leaving alertly from post seven, Harmon landed in the four-hole as Frosty Dune (Kyle Wilfong) and Major Ed (Todd Warren) battled through opening splits of :28.3 and :57.1. Powering up first over on the far turn, the altered son of Somebeachsomewhere-Northwestern managed to poke a head in front of Major Ed as the pacers moved by the three-quarter-mile mark in 1:26.
Through the stretch, Rise On Up began to put daylight between himself and his rivals eventually reporting home with his seventh win in nine starts this year. Longshot Utah Beach (Ryan Anderson) turned in a nice late rally to get the place check while Lucpark (Mike Oosting) was a solid third after missing three weeks.
The co-favorite in the wagering, Rise Up Now returned $4 while upping his bankroll to $124,812 with his huge sophomore campaign.
In the nightcap Harmon struck again this time guiding Gary Clark’s Skim The Top to a thrilling nose decision in 1:53 over the sloppy track.
Grinding it out in the middle of the pack while Feelnlikearockstar (Mike Oosting) put up fractions of :28.4, :57.4 and 1:25.1 Harmon finally tipped the homebred son of Geartogear-Schmoley off cover with an eighth of a mile to go. Gradually cutting into the two-length advantage of Feelnlikearockstar, the Krista Harmon trained colt managed to edge his nose in front in the last stride to nip the pace setter in a very tight photo. Feelnlikearockstar was forced to settle for the tough luck second place finish while Earndawg (Todd Warren) wound up with the show dough.
Dispatched at odds of 9-2 Skim The Top returned $10.60 while  moving his career numbers to 3-4-2 in 17 starts with earnings of $63,914. (Balmoral)
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