Take that post 13! Gimpanzee wins Hambletonian Maturity
July 18, 2020
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Gimpanzee and Brian Sears overcame post 13 — as well a solid field — to capture the $464,900 Hambletonian Maturity in rather easy fashion Saturday night at the Meadowlands.
The 4-year-old son of Chapter Seven covered the 1 1/8-mile distance in 2:05.4 as the 3-5 betting choice.
There was much action in the early stages, as Marseille and driver Åke Svanstedt blasted out from post eight to loop many of the horses going into the first turn. Last year’s Hambletonian Oaks champion, When Dovescry, was away in good position as well for David Miller through the hot :26 opening quarter.
Southwind Avenger and Andy McCarthy were parked three-eighths of a mile before clearing to the front, and that was Dave Miller’s cue to send the lone mare in the field to the top. When Dovescry got to the half in :55.2 and was soon joined when Yannick Gingras and Kings County made a power move to try to gain control.
When Dovescry and Kings County were locked in battle through much of the final turn, Forbidden Trade attempted to keep with cover second-over and Sears sat third-over in the flow waiting to make his move.
When Dovescry shook off pressure and secured the lead in upper stretch, but after passing the mile marker in 1:52.2, the mare — making her first start this year — began to tire. Sears and Gimpanzee were in full flight and easily powered on in the stretch to win convincingly by 3 1/4 lengths. Forbidden Trade, last year's Hambletonian winner, was pushed hard by driver Scott Zeron and just held down the place spot, holding off a wicked rally by Soul Strong and driver Dexter Dunn.
When Dovescry settled for fourth, and Don’t Let’em finished fifth — but did so while on a break and thereby lost the position. The judges moved Kings County up to fifth and Reign Of Honor to sixth in the official order of finish.
Trained by Marcus Melander, two-time Breeders Crown champion Gimpanzee won for the 21st time in his career and is now unbeaten in four 2020 starts. Owned by Courant Inc. and S R F Stable, Gimpanzee returned $3.40.
“I thought Scott (Zeron aboard Forbidden Trade) would be a good one to follow,” said Sears. “I had to move him on the turn he such a class animal.”
The victory pushed Gimpanzee’s lifetime earnings over the $2 million mark.
Sears, looking ahead to racing Gimpanzee against older foes, spoke of the attributes required to compete:
“He’ll need a trip against those horses, but he’s so handy.” (Meadowlands)