SBOA Stakes champion Good Will Hanover returned to winning form for trainer Dr. Ian Moore as she collared 2-5 favourite Pure Country in 1:50.2 in the first of two $35,000 Fan Hanover eliminations.
After making a break at the start of last week’s Ontario Sires Stakes Gold event, 3-1 second choice Good Will Hanover minded her manners in her Fan Hanover elimination as she left for the lead from post five.
“She was getting a little too aggressive behind the gate [last week] and she can be very difficult at times,” noted driver Chris Christoforou. “It’s a hard job with her, but Doc Moore’s got her where we can race her properly, hopefully from now on and we’ll keep going.”
After a :27.2 opening panel, Pure Country (Brett Miller) accelerated from an early four-hole and took over command at the :54.4 half-mile mark. She then turned back first over challenger Mayhem Seelster (Jack Moiseyev) after a third quarter duel to the 1:23 mark, but Christoforou pulled Good Will Hanover from the pocket down the stretch and the Big Jim-Go For Best filly prevailed by a neck over Pure Country in 1:50.2. Mayhem Seelster held for third over Bad As Leader (Trevor Henry) while Lay Lady Lay (Doug McNair) finished fifth.
“[Pure Country is] going to take you right to the wire so I had no problem letting him [Brett Miller] go and sitting behind that mare,” said Christoforou. “She’s a real good mare. So she carried me where I wanted to go and I was fortunate enough to have enough horse left to get there.”
Assessing his chances in the final, Christoforou said, “It’s a horse race, that’s for sure, but I wouldn’t want to be driving any other one.”
Good Will Hanover has now won seven of her 12 career starts and over $280,000 in purses for owner Glb Stable of Lakeview, N.S.
Darlinonthebeach continued her winning streak in the second elimination with her first victory on Canadian soil for trainer Nancy Johansson.
After a :26.3 contested opening quarter, driver David Miller sent 3-5 favourite Darlinonthebeach from fourth to first and reached the half in :54. The Somebeachsomewhere-Darlins Delight filly, who was a runner-up in the Shes A Great Lady last year at Mohawk, began to open up three lengths on top en route to the third quarter mark in 1:21.3 and cruised home to score the one-length triumph in 1:50.2 with 7-2 second choice L A Delight (Randy Waples) chasing her home in second from first over. Newborn Sassy (Tim Tetrick) and Lindwood Beachgirl (James Macdonald) closed outside off cover to finish third and fourth, respectively, while Penpal (Pat Lachance) rallied from the back of the pack to earn the last spot in the final.
“My planning going into the race was just let everybody settle and move her back,” said Miller after the race. “I had to go a little hard to get to the lead, but the third quarter really surprised me. I thought I was backing her down, I didn’t expect to be going that much, but she held strong.”
White Birch Farm’s homebred filly has now won three races in a row, including a pair of Pennsylvania stakes events — her most recent in a big 1:49.4 mile over The Meadows. Lifetime, she has seven wins from 16 career starts and boasts a bankroll of nearly $340,000.
“I’ve got a lot of confidence in her,” said Miller. “She’s a good, solid horse. She’s pretty manageable and usually gives a good effort.”
The field for the $438,000 Fan Hanover Stakes is listed below in post position order.
1. Lindwood Beachgirl
3. Good Will Hanover(Ontario-Sired)
4. Newborn Sassy
6. L A Delight(Ontario-Bred+Ontario-Sired)
7. Pure Country
8. Lay Lady Lay(Ontario-Bred+Ontario-Sired)
9. Mayhem Seelster(Ontario-Bred+Ontario-Sired)
10. Bad As Leader(Ontario-Bred+Ontario-Sired)
AE: Party In Rome(Ontario-Bred+Ontario-Sired)