Allywag Hanover upended Bulldog Hanover's latest world record attempt as he shot past the sport's fastest Standardbred in the stretch to win the highly anticipated $153,000 Allerage Farms Open Pace during The Red Mile's Grand Circuit closing day card on Sunday, Oct. 9.
Pacing powerhouse Bulldog Hanover tried his hand at beating the 1:45.4 world record he set just a few months ago. Driver Dexter Dunn laid the foundation for Bulldog Hanover’s mark in history with a clip of :26.2, :52.2 and 1:19.1 while unopposed on the lead. Todd McCarthy, meanwhile, kept Allywag Hanover ready in second and launched his attack on the turn for home. Bulldog Hanover fought for life with an eighth to go as Allywag Hanover unrelentingly kept pushing forward to the finish.
“He felt good,” Todd McCarthy said after the race. “He swelled right up -- felt like he had a lot of go -- but I didn’t want to count my cards too early until I pulled. 'Bulldog' never wants to let anyone pass him.”
The pressure eventually mounted and world champ Bulldog Hanover conceded the fight to Allywag Hanover as the five-year-old Captaintreacherous gelding snagged the 1:46 victory to match Always B Miki’s all-age track record, set in this event in 2016, while also lowering the world record for aged pacing geldings set back in 2006 by Holborn Hanover at The Meadowlands.
“I feel like I’m Marylou Whitney after the ’04 Belmont and having to apologize to the crowd,” said Adam Bowden, co-owner of Allywag Hanover, after the race. “We were told he was coming in ready to do this and it was pretty exciting. It set up perfectly for him. Todd, a masterful drive; Brett [Pelling], a masterful training job.”
“He’s had two races – at Hoosier and Dayton – where [he was] locked in for his life and loaded,” said trainer Brett Pelling. “If ever a horse is sitting on one, it’s after those trips. We know he can follow any speed and he was just sensational today.”
Allywag Hanover collected his 23rd victory from 52 tries and pushed his earnings $1,636,622 for owner Allywag Stable. The David who slayed Goliath paid $23.82 to win for the 10-1 upset.
Workin Ona Mystery rounded out the top three finish order.
Jeff & Paula Gural sponsored the Allerage Farms Open Pace.
World champion trotting mare Atlanta graced The Red Mile winner’s circle for the last time in her career as she scored a 1:50.3 victory in the $57,000 Allerage Farms Fillies and Mares Trot, a race part of her send-off tour, on Sunday afternoon (Oct. 9).
Driver Yannick Gingras pushed for the pocket with Atlanta from the pylon post while a revved Next Level Stuff clocked a :27.2 first quarter and :54.2 half. As the backfield began angling outwards to three-quarters in 1:22.1, Gingras pulled off the pegs and slid to the lead off the corner. When Dovescry closed down the center and settled for second, beaten a length, with Sorella sweeping home for third and Next Level Stuff fading to fourth.
“It’s special,” Gingras said after the race on winning in one of Atlanta’s last starts. “All these wins [are] just one more trophy on her mantle. She’s a great mare; she’s one of the greatest in this industry and its been a pleasure to drive her.”
The win counts as No. 37 in the storied career of Atlanta, a seven-year-old mare by Chapter Seven. Competing for owners Crawford Farms Racing, Brad Grant and Howard Taylor, the daughter of Chapter Seven added to her account now worth $3,683,134 as she approaches the last few starts of her racing career. Ron Burke trains the mare, who paid $4.96 to win.
Test Of Faith flexed her class with a 1:50.1 stroll in the $73,000 Allerage Farms Fillies and Mares Pace.
No Win No Feed A circled to lead Gias Surreal after a :27.3 first quarter and coasted up the backside as driver David Miller motored Test Of Faith from fourth to the fore approaching a :55 half. She travelled around the far turn and into the stretch as she pleased, clicking three-quarters in 1:23.2 to then sprint home under wraps and cap the mile in 1:50.1. No Win No Feed A gave pursuit from the pocket in second, beaten 1-1/2 lengths, with Gias Surreal third and Watch Me Now N fourth.
“She loves this track,” said Ken Jackson, co-owner of Test Of Faith through Kentuckiana Racing, after the race. “She’s had some incredible performances here. Brett [Pelling] wanted to bring her here and as did we, being from here and having the crowds that we get for the Grand Circuit races. So it’s exciting; it’s an incredible ride.”
Reigning U.S. Horse of the Year Test Of Faith racked up her 32nd win from 41 tries and has now banked $2,341,931 for owners Melvin Segal, Kentuckiana Racing Stable and Eddie Gran. Brett Pelling trains the four-year-old Art Major mare. She paid $2.10 to win.
Last year’s Kentucky Futurity champ Jujubee also regained his mojo from a late start to his four-year-old campaign to post a 1:50.2 win in the $149,000 Allerage Open Trot.
Rattle My Cage carved out the early fractions of :27.2 and :55 but immediately folded to pressure from pocket-pulling Cuatro De Julio by three-quarters in 1:23.4. Driver Andrew McCarthy perched Jujubee on Cuatro De Julio’s heels and uncorked the Greg Wright Jr. trainee in the straightaway to grab the lead with an eighth remaining. Ambassador Hanover split horses and chased the leader home to settle for second, beaten a half-length, with Its Academic closing for third and Cuatro De Julio settling for fourth.
“It’s been a bit of a tough year for poor Jujubee, but the way he was today, he felt slick as a needle,” Andy McCarthy said after the race. “I’m very excited now. [The trip] was one of them deals where, if it looked like they were going to go enough, I definitely wanted to drive him off a helmet today on the big track. And it kind of worked out that way where we could sneak in and pick up cover in the last turn. That was the original plan.”
Jujubee recorded his first win of the year and his 17th from 27 starts to add to his millionaire status for owner/breeder Jon Erdner with $1,076,157 in the bank. The four-year-old stallion by Creatine paid $5.70 to win.
Wiesman Farms sponsored the Helpisontheway Allerage Farms Fillies and Mares Trot while Jules Siegel and Fashion Farms presented the Arlene Siegel Memorial Allerage Fillies and Mares Pace. The Tactical Landing Allerage Farms Open Trot was sponsored by the Tactical Landing Syndicate and Hickory Lane Farm.
(With files from The Red Mile)