While Emoticon Hanover faced four fierce foes in the 2018 TVG Open Mares Trot last month, that number would have been five had The Meadowlands not refused the entry of Caprice Hill.
Trot Insider has confirmed that Caprice Hill was in fact denied entry to the TVG by The Meadowlands. Caprice Hill finished third in the 2018 Breeders Crown for trainer Chris Oakes, who had only trained the mare for her three October starts -- one at The Red Mile and two at Mohegan Sun Pocono. Owner Tom Hill told Trot Insider that the mare was in the care of trainer Marcus Melander at the time of entry to the TVG and Melander confirmed that information.
"I picked her up the day after the Breeders Crown, so I had her almost a month," said Melander. "It was too bad they didn't let her race; she felt really great and I was excited to race her. But rules are rules and we had to accept that.
"It felt like we found some problem with her that definitely could have helped her," Melander continued. "I had a really good feeling, same feeling I had with Crazy Wow when we were bringing him up to the Maple Leaf Trot...so it's too bad she couldn't be in the race."
When asked why the entry was denied, Jeff Gural, the Chairman of New Meadowlands Racetrack LLC, told Trot Insider that "the horse did not meet the trainer eligibility requirements." No further comment was made.
Hill has since made the decision to retire and breed Caprice Hill, noting that she was a sound racehorse at the time of his decision.
"She's been very good to us, and we've just decided that the time was right to move her along to the next phase of her career."