Sires Stakes standouts clash in Meadows qualifier
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In a match-up of Sires Stakes pacing titans, Kentucky champ Catch The Fire defeated Ohio champ Elver Hanover in a qualifier Thursday at The Meadows. The pair were both coming off qualifying wins at Scioto Downs last month in their 3-year-old debuts.
In the non-betting contest, Catch The Fire led at every call (:29, :57, 1:24.4) for driver Mike Wilder, crossing the wire in 1:52.1 and finishing 2 ¼ lengths ahead of the Chris Page-driven Elver Hanover. For Elver Hanover, it was the first time he had not finished first in 12 starts, dating back to when he was third in his career debut in a baby race June 13, 2019, at The Meadows.
As for Catch The Fire, the son of Captaintreacherous won four of 12 starts last year, including a career-best 1:49.4 effort in the $250,000 Kentucky Sires Stakes final at The Red Mile. Trained by John Ackley and owned by Charles Taylor’s CT Stables, Catch The Fire brings career earnings of $258,547 into his sophomore campaign.
In addition to capturing the $300,000 Ohio Sires Stakes championship last September at Northfield Park, Elver Hanover’s perfect nine-for-nine slate included a 1:48.3 win in a Bluegrass division at The Red Mile, the fastest mile ever by a 2-year-old male pacer. The mile equaled the 2-year-old filly pacer Warrawee Ubeaut’s world record, also set at The Red Mile.
Trained by Ron Burke and owned by Burke Racing Stable, Dr. Bridgette Jablonsky, Jason Melillo and J & T Silva-Purnel & Libby, Elver Hanover’s lifetime earnings stand at $363,450.