Western Alumni, I Do Hanover NY winners
July 12, 2014
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Western Alumni had a pair of second place finishes the past two weeks in the $10,500 Open Pace at Buffalo Raceway but Saturday night (July 12) he got a chance to pose in the winner's circle once again after holding off Rock N Roll Legend by a half length in 1:55.1 over the fast track.
Driver Jim McNeight and Western Alumni played give-and-go with Big Unit to the opening quarter marker and managed to set the pace with times of 28.3, 58.0 and 1:26.4. Big Ears made a bobble around the clubhouse turn the final time and scattered the field somewhat, leaving the front-running Western Alumni to battle Big Unit (Drew Monti) and Rock N Roll Legend (Kevin Cummings) to duke it out the last quarter mile.
Through the stretch, a determined Western Alumni managed to hold the off the pair thanks to the urging of McNeight. Rock N Roll Legend finished in second with Big Unit taking the show spot.
Western Alumni (Western Hanover-Countryview Miss) is owned by North Creek Racing LLC and is trained by Jerry Nugent Jr. It was his fifth win in 20 starts in 2014 and upped the 6-year-old gelding's earnings to $43,260 and $185,379 lifetime.
I Do Hanover (Shark Gesture-I'm Married) withstood a stout challenge from favored Tell Us More to win the $8,000 featured Open II pace at Vernon Downs on Saturday night. Firethorn (John MacDonald) was the one who set a strong pace of :26.4 for the quarter, :57.4 for the half, and 1:24.3 for three-quarters. However, those fast fractions ended up costing the pacesetter in the stretch, as he faded out to finish last.
I Do Hanover was moved aggressively first-over by driver Truman Gale past the half-mile marker and ended up drawing on even terms with Firethorn as the field entered the stretch. Tell Us More (Roman Lopez) followed the solid cover from I Do Hanover and rolled into contention as the field moved through the stretch. I Do Hanover held on to first position all the way to the wire to win in 1:52.2, scoring a minor upset at 6-1 over the favorite, who had to settle for second. Moonlight Ransom (Jimmy Whittemore) had been third in the early stages and ended up getting shuffled back to fifth with all the action in the outer flow on the far turn. Moonlight Ransom was able to re-rally in the stretch and get up for third.
I Do Hanover is owned by Philip Hale and David Dewhurst of New York, with Dewhurst doubling as the trainer.
The win in the feature event made it a natural hat trick of wins for driver Truman Gale during the Saturday program. Gale won the fifth race with 8-1 shot, American Bull, in a time of 1:53.1, and followed with a score in the sixth driving Where U At to another upset win at 7-1. Gale also serves as the trainer of first two winners in the sequence of three.
((By Brian J.Mazurek, for Buffalo Raceway/Michael Chamberlain for Vernon)