Crete, IL --- The 2014 Hanover Stakes season kicked off on Saturday (June 7) at Balmoral Park as a pair of events for diagonally gaited sophomores shared top billing on the 13-race program.
A full field of 10 3-year-old trotting colts started the action in race four as they battled for a purse of $25,900. Fresh off back-to-back stakes scores over state-bred competition here at Balmoral, Mike Brink and Loren Tournear’s Tour Hall made it three in a row as he powered to a four length victory in a career best of 1:56 for driver Dave Magee.
|Tour Hall and driver Dave Magee teamed up to capture the $25,900 Hanover Stake for 3-year-old trotting colts.|
Pointed right for the front from post position four, the altered son of American Native-Broadway And Fifth grabbed command of the proceedings midway around the first turn, leading the field through an opening quarter in :29.4. Pressure came on the backside as Mac Kemp (Dean Magee) rolled up first over, battling the pacesetter through middle splits of :59.3 and 1:28.2.
After putting away that bid the Mike Brink trainee kept the remainder of the field at bay with a sharp :27.3 final panel to notch his eighth lifetime victory. Another Illinois bred, Fox Valley Veto (John De Long) rallied from far back to get the runner-up check while Red Solo Cup (Robert Smolin) finished third.
With the win, Tour Hall, who returned $8.40, $4.00 and $2.80, now boasts a record of eight wins, four seconds and one third in 18 career starts with earnings of $122,801.
Another full field was sent postward in race six as 10 fillies slugged it out for a purse of $24,400. This time it was an Indiana invader who toted home top honors as Dan and Jo Anne Shetler’s homebred Diamond Peak posted a 2-3/4 length victory in wire- to-wire fashion for her co-owner, trainer and driver, Dan Shetler. The time of the mile was 1:55.4.
|David Baum photos|
|Dan Shetler guided Diamond Peak to a wire-to-wire victory in the $24,400 Hanover for 3-year-old trotting fillies in a snappy 1:55.4.|
Working hard to get to the front in :28.3 from post position five, the daughter of Yankee Glide-Minibar was then able to catch a breather as Shetler guided her through leisurely middle splits of :58.2 and 1:27.3.
The lightly raced bay was never seriously threatened the rest of the way as she trotted home in :28.1 to secure her second win in just five lifetime starts. Pray With Me (Dale Hiteman) overcame a tough first over journey from post 10 to be the bridesmaid while Bailey’s Wish (Dave Magee) wound up third after a pocket sitting journey.
Despite the lack of experience, Diamond Peak drew plenty of attention for the betting public, returning just $4.00, $2.80 and $3.00 while upping her bankroll to $15,559.