Two of the richest and most prominent two-year-old Grand Circuit trotting events — the Peter Haughton Memorial for two-year-old trotting colts and geldings and the Jim Doherty Memorial for two-year-old trotting fillies — were contested at Harrah’s Hoosier Park Racing & Casino for the first time ever on Friday, Sept. 15. The legendary trotting affairs did not disappoint as they produced two standout performances.
Soiree Hanover soars in Jim Doherty Memorial at Harrah’s Hoosier Park
Trainer Lucas Wallin was not exceptionally pleased with his filly’s post position prior to the race. Post nine, however, proved to be no problem for Soiree Hanover in the $400,000 Jim Doherty Memorial for two-year-old filly trotters on Friday, Sept. 15 at Harrah's Hoosier Park.
This is the first time the Doherty and companion colt event, the $420,000 Peter Haughton Memorial, has been hosted by Hoosier Park.
“I was a little closer than I thought I would be since some of the horses I thought wouldn’t break did,” said winning driver Tim Tetrick, referring to Miss Dior and The Moment. “But it didn’t seem to be a problem for her, especially with the long stretch here.”
Ponda Title (Kyle Wilfong) went straight to the lead at the beginning of the mile, but Cheval Rapide (Yannick Gingras) had a mind of her own and led the field of 10 through a first quarter-mile in :26.4. Ponda Title stuck right with her rival as the two fillies separated themselves from their eight foes after a half-mile in :56.2 with Soiree Hanover forwardly positioned in third. Cheval Rapide established the third-quarter fraction of 1:25.1 but the rest of the field, including a stubborn Ponda Title, were right on her hooves.
Soiree Hanover trotted first-over and overtook Ponda Title by a head in mid-stretch as Cheval Rapide retreated. The filly came home strongly to sail by a game Ponda Title, who held second three-quarters of a length back, while Graceful Design (Andrew McCarthy) closed from fifth to finish third. The time of the mile was 1:54.2.
“The nine-hole is always a tough spot to start from,” said Wallin. “And I expected Timmy to be sitting in fifth or sixth with her early in the mile. It’s always tough for a two-year-old filly to come first-over, but she handled it very well. This is one of the times where it all worked out.”
A daughter of Walner-Spring Gala, Soiree Hanover improved her record to 6-4-0-2 and boosted her bankroll to $392,425.
The filly is the seventh and most prolific foal out of her dam, who is daughter of U.S. Hall of Fame broodmare Gala Dream. Gala Dream is also responsible for Dan Patch Award winners Pastor Stephen (sired by Cantab Hall, $1.05 million in career earnings) and Father Patrick (sired by Cantab Hall, $2.6 million in career earnings).
Bred by Hanover Shoe Farms, Soiree Hanover was purchased by Snogarps Gard Inc. for $110,000 at the 2022 Standardbred Horse Sale.
The filly paid $3.60 to win as the favourite and punched her ticket to this year’s Breeders Crown event for her age, gait and gender.
As was the case last year, the Doherty and Haughton will offer “Win and You’re In” status for the 2023 Breeders Crown. The official winner of each race, if Breeders Crown eligible as of June 1, will advance directly to their respective final, with no starting fee, and the opportunity to draw for post one through five.
T C I Cruises in Peter Haughton Memorial
Two races later in the Haughton, two-year-old trotting colt T C I extended his win streak to eight with a 1:54.2 triumph for driver David Miller and trainer Ron Burke.
Parked through the :27.2 opening quarter from post four, T C I caught cover in the first turn while Amazing Catch (Yannich Gingras) marched to the top. His lead was short-lived though with T C I hot on his heels.
Once in control, Miller rated middle splits of :57.1 and 1:27 behind the 1-2 favourite and the streaking colt kicked home in :27.2 to win by 1-1/2 lengths as Amazing Catch gave late chase from the pocket. Security Protected (Tim Tetrick) closed well from the backfield to show but posed no threat to the winner, who came within one-fifth of a second of his lifetime mark taken in the William Wellwood Memorial last month.
Bred by Concord Stud Farm, the Cantab Hall colt is out of Nicoles Promise, who has produced seven winners of more than $100,000. The $150,000 Harrisburg yearling purchase is the richest of those with $761,970 banked from nine career starts for owners Burke Racing Stable, Hatfield Stables, Knox Services Inc., and Weaver Bruscemi.
On Friday's undercard, the Dylan Davis-trained Why Not Now and driver LeWayne Miller denied the advance of favourite Coach Stefanos (Trace Tetrick) to capture the $80,000 Hoosier Cup for Indiana-sired sophomore male pacers in 1:50.1. J B Gram (Kyle Wilfong) completed a 2-3 finish for trainer Erv Miller. Davis co-owns the Always A Virgin-Star Of The Show colt with Howard Taylor and Jeffrey Billings.
Indiana Sires Stakes action filled the undercard with a half-dozen divisions.
Trainer Ron Burke and driver Ronnie Wrenn Jr. swept the two-year-old pacing colt divisions with Martz Telly, who earned his fifth win in a row in 1:51.4, and 1:52 winner Noblesville.
Two-year-old pacing filly Teelatini streaked to her sixth straight win for trainer Roger Welch, scoring in 1:52.4 with Peter Wrenn in the sulky.
Wrenn also drove Queens Reign to a 1:50.2 victory for Ernie Gaskin in one of the divisions for three-year-old pacing fillies while Trace Tetrick guided Rollin Rosie to her fourth consecutive victory in the other split in 1:50.4 for Tyler George.
Three-year-old trotting gelding Talent Scout took a new lifetime mark of 1:52 winning his division in rein to Dexter Dunn for conditioner Doug Rideout.
Dunn kept Pretender to task winning a $40,000 Invitational Trot in 1:51.4 for trainer Nancy Takter.
Trainer Jay Hochstetler's Dan Patch champion Ponda Warrior and Kyle Wilfong won a $35,000 Free-For-All for Indiana-sired pacers in 1:48.1.
(With files from Hoosier Park)