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Passmaster Hanover could continue trend for Burgess
Wednesday, June 10, 2009 - from the Meadowlands Publicity Department

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East Rutherford, NJ --- Passmaster Hanover may have his trainer puzzled, but one thing is certain: when big money is on the line, Blair Burgess is sure to he heard from.

Burgess, the leader in earnings per stakes starter in Meadowlands history, will send out his first finalist in the $500,000 SBOA/Anthony Abbatiello New Jersey Classic for 3-year-old colt pacers on Saturday night (June 13). Passmaster Hanover was made the 5-1 second choice on the morning line after winning his New Jersey Classic elimination on June 6. The colt, who is owned by Brittany Farms and Jeffrey Snyder, will start from post three with Tim Tetrick at the lines.

Burgess has an unmatched record in the Meadowlands' premier events for 3-year-olds. He is two-for-two in the Hambletonian, winning with Amigo Hall (2003) and Glidemaster (2006), and has hit the board in six of seven appearances in the Meadowlands Pace, winning twice with Frugal Gourmet (1987) and Real Desire (2001). After the New Jersey Classic, Burgess aims to make Passmaster Hanover his eighth starter in the $1 million Meadowlands Pace on July 18.

"This horse is a puzzle," Burgess acknowledged. "He's an open book. I don't think Timmy (Tetrick) knows yet (what to expect from him), and I don't think I know. I don't know where he fits yet. I don't know if he'll be able to battle with the top horses all summer or not, but he's off on the right step."

Passmaster Hanover has the fewest career starts in the New Jersey Classic field. A $250,000 yearling purchase, the son of Cam's Card Shark did not make his pari-mutuel debut until December of his 2-year-old season. After winning his first two starts, Burgess turned him out for the winter.

"He trained down like a good colt, but he got into trouble baby racing (in the summer)," Burgess said. "He started making breaks and we didn't really know why. We chalked it up to (lack of) maturity and that he just wasn't that sure of himself, so we waited until the fall to see if he would come around on his own. Then we went to race him in the winter and he got a little sore in the feet. That's when we decided not to race him on the hard tracks and bring him back now."

Passmaster Hanover returned to the racetrack in May and has since won four of six starts, including his New Jersey Classic elimination. He seized command at the half and drew off to a three length tally over Vintage Master in a career best 1:50.3. After the race, Burgess indicated he might tinker with the colt's equipment before the final.

"He can't be that grabby when he races in a field of 10," he said. "With a short field, he could get away with it (in the elim) but if you get caught in a hole, Timmy is worried about getting in trouble and him making a break or getting choked. He's got to learn to settle."

The New Jersey Classic headlines a card featuring $1.1 million in stakes for NJ-sired horses and shares the spotlight with the $175,000 SBOA/Thomas D'Altrui Miss New Jersey for fillies and a pair of $200,000 New Jersey Sire Stakes Championships for 3-year-old trotters. The New Jersey Classic is carded as race seven with an estimated post time of 9:11 p.m. on Saturday night.

The draw for the New Jersey Classic (prior to driver changes):

PP, Horse, Driver, Trainer, Odds
1, Dial Or Nodial, Brian Sears, Jim Campbell, 6-5
2, Vintage Master, Daniel Dube, Jimmy Takter, 10-1
3, Passmaster Hanover, Tim Tetrick, Blair Burgess, 5-1
4, Redneck Riviera, Andy Miller, Erv Miller, 10-1
5, Vertical Horizon, TBA, Bernie Noren, 15-1
6, Amazon Art, George Brennan, Ken Rucker, 15-1
7, Riding The Rapids, Jim Morrill, Jr., Ross Croghan, 12-1
8, Sombrero Blue Chip, George Brennan, Bruce Saunders, 6-1
9, Estero Bay, George Brennan, Erv Miller, 10-1
10, Poker Shark, Andrew McCarthy, Joe Holloway, 15-1

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