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PA champ Pedro Hanover kicks off 2018 campaign in Saturday's PASS opener at The Meadows
Friday, May 04, 2018 - by Evan Pattak, for The Meadows

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Washington, PA --- After Pedro Hanover won last year’s Pennsylvania Sires Stakes championship for freshman colt and gelding pacers in early September, he figured to be a major player in harness racing’s rich late-season stakes. The catch: he wasn’t eligible to any of them except the Metro, where he finished third in the final.

“He had zero problems, but he wasn’t staked to anything else,” says his trainer, Andrew Harris, “so I just had to shut him down. I brought him back a little earlier this year because he was turned out so early.”

 
Chris Gooden photo
Pedro Hanover banked $317,188 at 2 with five wins in eight starts.

More fully staked up this year, Pedro Hanover will kick off his sophomore campaign in the Bye Bye Byrd, Saturday’s $169,288 PASS opener at The Meadows. The Kentucky Derby Day card also features a $60,000 PA Stallion Series stake for sophomore colt and gelding pacers, a $15,000 total-pool guarantee for the Pick-4, a $5,000 total-pool guarantee for the Pick-5 and a variety of fan-centered events, including drink and beverage specials, live music and raffles. Special post time Saturday is 11:25 a.m.

Pedro Hanover, who banked $317,188 at 2, came back well from his extended off season but appeared sluggish in his first qualifier.

“He didn’t have the late kick he always has,” Harris says. “We examined him and found he was sick without showing any signs of it, so we treated him. I was super ecstatic with his second qualifier.”

This year, the son of Somebeachsomewhere-Paula’s Best, an $80,000 yearling acquisition who races for Brad Gray and Denise Guerriero, is eligible for the North America Cup, the Max Hempt and the Meadowlands Pace.

“There are still a few that we have to supplement into,” Harris says.

But he’s not eligible for the Little Brown Jug or the Delvin Miller Adios Pace for the Orchids.

Nevertheless, Saturday’s stakes could function as an Adios preview; of the 41 colts and geldings scheduled to race in the PASS events, 22 are Adios eligible.

Pedro Hanover will go from post seven in race nine for Dave Palone. Harris doesn’t consider the post position an issue.

“With the slanted starting gate, I don’t think that’s much of a problem,” he says. “It actually gives Dave some options on what he wants to do.”

Advance wagering for the Kentucky Derby -- and the entire Churchill Downs card -- begins Friday. Derby Day festivities include:

  • Day-long food and beverage specials on the apron beginning at 11 a.m. as well as a buffet at the Carvery Patio
  • The annual Kentucky Derby Hat Contest, at both the track and its Harmar facility, with cash prizes for winners. Registration begins at noon
  • Paddock tours and starting gate rides, courtesy the Meadows Standardbred Owners Association
  • A “losing ticket” raffle for restaurant and betting vouchers and the grand prize -- accommodations at the Cambria Hotel & Suites to enable the winner to enjoy The Meadows’ simulcast of the Belmont, the third jewel of the Thoroughbred Triple Crown
  • A free concert on the apron at the conclusion of the live card. Featured band is No Bad JuJu

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