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Overt upsets in Hanover at Balmoral

July 15, 2009

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The 2009 Hanover Stakes season started with a bang on Tuesday night at Balmoral Park as Phillip Rietveld, Gordon and Claudia Wright, and Paul Gibson’s Overt lit up the board at 32-1 while knocking off nine rivals in the $36,900 Hanover Stake for 3-year-old filly trotters in a career best of 1:55.4.

After drawing post position eight in the field of 10 driver Josh Sutton was very pleased with the way the trip worked out for his filly despite coming away near the back of the pack as Tropical Caprice (Dave Magee) led the field through an opening quarter in :28.2.

“Even though we were near the back I knew I had Fox Valley Lover right in my sights and she was definitely the horse that I wanted to be following once the outer flow started moving,” explained Sutton.

That outer flow began to take shape on the backstretch as Miss Vickie (Robert Taylor) pulled from the pocket and grabbed command, leading the field past the half-mile mark in :58. Tropical Caprice was back to second at that point while Mystical Heiress (Brandon Simpson) began to march up on the outside of horses bringing up both Fox Valley Lover and Overt.

Heading around the final turn Miss Vickie and Mystical Heiress continued to race neck and neck for the lead with Fox Valley Lover right behind the embattled leaders in third. Tropical Caprice still loomed a danger in fourth while Overt was fit and fresh while a third-over fifth as the field reached the three-quarter mark in 1:27.1.

“When we turned for home I had a pretty good feeling that we were going to be right there,” said Sutton. “My filly was still well within herself and when I asked her to go it was like she just shifted into another gear.”

Tipping three wide off his cover, Sutton put Overt out in the center of the track and the daughter of Valley Victor-Writtenonthewind did the rest as she powered home in :28 to win by 1 1/4 lengths. Tropical Caprice came through the passing lane to be the bridesmaid while the heavily favored Fox Valley Lover was forced to settle for third.

Despite being overlooked by the betting public Sutton went into the race knowing that the Roger Welch trainee was going to have a shot at pulling off the upset.

“She was just alright in her last few starts but then Roger discovered she had been sick,” said the confident Sutton. “They treated her all week for the sickness and she definitely felt like a different horse out there tonight.”

The win was the third in 20 career starts for Overt who provided Welch’s hard working wife Amy with quite a birthday present. Returning a whopping $66.00, $18.80 and $6.40, Overt now boasts career earnings of $105,128.

Freshman trotting fillies were also in action on Tuesday night with a total of 11 state-breds squaring off in a pair of $5,000 Vaporize Stake splits which were carded as non-wagering events.

In the first division Bruce and Dean Alexander and Connie Hochstetler’s Claires Rose was much the best as she cruised to a 1 3/4-length, wire-to-wire victory in 1:59.3.

Fresh off a victory in her career debut the homebred daughter of American Native-La Rosita was sent right to the front by driver-trainer Homer Hochstetler. Under no pressure whatsoever from her four rivals Claires Rose proceeded to trot through splits of :30.3, 1:00 and 1:29.4 while remaining perfect in two lifetime starts. Fox Valley Brenna (Dale Hiteman) finished second while Powerful Jig (Brandon Simpson) was third.

The nightcap was a bit more eventful as the Herman Wheeler owned and trained Mybirthday Two took advantage of a miscue in the lane by the pacesetting Fox Valley Luxury to win by 4 1/4 lengths in 2:00.3.

Sitting third as Fox Valley Luxury (Magee) strolled through fractions of :31.2, 1:01.1 and 1:31.3, driver Jamaica Patton moved the daughter of Psychic Spirit-Lonehill Grace to the outside as the field neared the top of the stretch. That’s when disaster struck for Fox Valley Luxury who went offstride, allowing My Birthday Two an easy route to her second victory in four career starts.
Fox Valley Sienna (David Avenatti) finished second while KT Velvet (Homer Hochstetler) was moved up from fourth to third because of the disqualification of Fox Valley Luxury who was moved down to sixth because of an extended break. (Balmoral Park)

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