Kadabra mare Emoticon Hanover ($3.40) turned in a sparkling mile for driver Dan Dube and trainer Luc Blais in the $120,500 final of the Ms. Versatility series (Race 5), as the four-year-old bay trotted to an ultra-sharp 1:52 win for the Determination Stable of Montreal, Quebec.
Dube had his sights on the lead right from the word ‘go.’ He fired Emoticon Hanover off the wings from Post 5 and charged out for the point. Yannick Gingras and his Post 1 starter, Caprice Hill, made Emoticon Hanover pay for the lead, as the latter finally crossed over just before the opening quarter, which flashed up in :26.4.
Dube and Emoticon Hanover wouldn’t give up the lead from there, as the duo clicked off the opening half in :55.1 and scooted down to the three-quarters pole in 1:23.2.
Dube kicked out Emoticon Hanover earplugs just before the lane, and the classy mare responded by digging back in and trotting home with a :28.2 final quarter.
Caprice Hill wound up finishing second and Barn Girl (Aaron Merriman) finished third.
The win time of 1:52 was just one fifth of a second off Maven’s 1:51.4 world record, which was recorded in a prior rendition of the Ms. Versatility at the Delaware County fair.
Emoticon Hanover is trained by Canada’s Luc Blais.
“Right now she’s in really good shape; she’s strong and it’s nice to drive her,” Dube said after the mile.
Dube stated that he had no concerns that Emoticon Hanover would be ready for this race after the three-week layoff.
“Luc trained her pretty good [coming in]; she just wants to keep her [fresh] for the big races. I knew she was fit enough to do it.”