NYSS Sophomore Trotters Thrive At Tioga

Sadie Hanover winning at Tioga Downs
Published: June 10, 2023 12:13 am EDT

Tioga Downs hosted two divisions of the New York Sire Stakes (NYSS) for three-year-old trotting colts and geldings as well as a pair of divisions for three-year-old trotting fillies on Friday, June 9. 

Cecil Hanover and trainer/driver Ake Svanstedt were gate-to-wire winners in the $57,000 first non-betting division for colts and geldings.  

Cecil Hanover went straight to the front and led to the first quarter in :27.1. He slowed things down with a :30.1 second quarter to be first to the half in :57.2. Kilmister (Brian Sears) was first to make a move down the backstretch as Cecil Hanover breezed to three-quarters in 1:25.2. As they reached the stretch, Cecil Hanover made it a race for place getting the win in 1:52.4 by 2-1/2 lengths. Sevecheetah (Joe Bongiorno) was second best from the pocket while Kilmister had to settle for third. 

Cecil Hanover is a three-year-old gelding by Chapter Seven. Owned by trainer Svanstedt with SRF Stable, Midnight Sun Partners Inc. and Jorgen Sparredal Inc., he is now two-for-two this season and that was career win number three -- all of which have come in NYSS action.

Crown and driver Brian Sears were awarded the victory in the $57,000 second division for colts and geldings.

Chapercraz (Joe Bongiorno) set fractions of :27.3, :56.1 and 1:24.2 with pocket-pursuer Crown coming up to challenge as they went around the final turn. Chapercraz and Crown battled shoulder to shoulder all the way down the stretch with the former getting his nose to the wire first, but a pylon infraction cost him the win as he was disqualified and placed second. Crown inherited the victory, with a career-best 1:52.4 mile. You Got It (Tyler Buter) finished third. 

Another son of Chapter Seven, Crown gave owner SRF Stable a sweep of the colt divisions. The Marcus Melander trainee earned his first win of the campaign after a third-place finish in the first Sire Stakes leg and he now has five career victories. Crown paid $7.10 to win as the 5-2 second choice to The Gruffalo, the defending NYSS champion who broke stride near the half.

Instagram Model and driver Scott Zeron breezed to an impressive win in the $59,200 first division for the filles. 

Instagram Model dominated her competition, leading through fractions of :28.2, :57.2 and 1:26 en route to victory lane. As they reached the stretch, second-place finisher Usosweet Blue Chip (Marcus Miller) went all out, but Instagram Model was too strong and won by 2-1/4 lengths in 1:54.1. On The House (Ake Svanstedt) finished third.   

Instagram Model is a filly by Chapter Seven owned by R L Curry and trained by Annie Stoebe. The win was her first this season after a runner-up finish in her sophomore debut competing in the opening round of NYSS. She is now six-for-10 lifetime. Instagram Model returned $2.20 to win as the overwhelming favourite.

Sadie Hanover (pictured above) charged late to capture the $60,300 second division for fillies and landed Zeron back in the winner's circle. 

Kayleigh S (Brian Sears) got the first call but Royal Filly (Tyler Buter) got by and led to the quarter in :27.2.  After a :56 half, Gigi Hanover (Ake Svanstedt) went first-up to challenge and took a short lead to three-quarters in 1:24.1. As they made the turn for home, Sadie Hanover went flying like she was shot out of a cannon and blew right on by to win by a length in a lifetime-best 1:52.4. Gigi Hanover had to settle for second and Kayleigh S was third. 

Sadie Hanover completed a sweep of the NYSS leg for sire Chapter Seven. She is trained by Linda Toscano for owners The Bay’s Stable, Blue Ridge Stable, Carmen Iannacone and Gary Coco.  Now four-for-four to start her sophomore season, she improved her career record to 4-0-4 from nine starts. Sadie Hanover paid $2.80 as the popular pick.

During Friday's card, the Southern Tier Harness Horseman's Association (STHHA) and Tioga Downs recognized the members of the Nichols Volunteer Fire Department for a night at the races.

The fourth race was named for the department and several members of the Volunteer Fire Department were invited into the winner's circle after the race where they were presented with a $500 donation cheque from the STHHA and Tioga Downs. The attendees were provided with free programs, food and beverages.

Randy Taft, Aaron Byron, Mike Sinclair and Mike Deters, along with several other trainers and drivers, visited the fire station to meet the volunteers and talk with them about harness racing.

"Tioga Downs and the horseman's association did a great job with the event," said Fire Chief Ray Thetga Jr. "The members of the department really enjoyed their night. As a department that gives to our community, to be recognized like that, [we are] truly grateful. 

"Some of the members said it was their first time watching the racing as we are usually on the outside helping out with events, so to be able to sit back and relax and enjoy a night was wonderful. We would like to thank Tioga Downs and the horseman's association for the event. Thank you very much." 

STHHA members Dale Gilmour and Mike Sinclair with Chief Ray Thetga Jr.

STHHA members Dale Gilmour and Mike Sinclair with Chief Ray Thetga Jr.

Live harness racing returns at Tioga Downs on Saturday with a 13-race card starting at 6:15 p.m.

(With files from Tioga Downs)