by Frank Carulli
October 31, 2017
Yannick Gingras was in the wrong place at the right time in the $526,250 Breeders Crown Open Trot last Saturday at Hoosier Park.
Gingras planned to control the pace with 1-to-2 favorite Hannelore Hanover, only to settle for a pocket trip when unexpected company arrived on the front end. But Gingras had the necessary horsepower in his hands to make adjustments in the one-mile race after Marion Marauder, last year's Trotting Triple Crown winner, altered his normal running style and made an early backstretch brush to the lead.
Marion Marauder (Scott Zeron) led through the 3/4-mile mark in 1:25 and into the stretch before Hannelore Hanover made her move. She was eased off the rail in early stretch and proved best in the drive to become the first female in 19 years to win the Open Trot. She won in 1:52.1 and finished 1-1/4 lengths in front of stablemate Crazy Wow (David Miller), who followed the favorite most of the way and got past Marion Marauder on the inside to finish second.
Hannelore Hanover improved to 35-57 with $2.37 million in earnings for owners Burke Racing Stable, Mark Weaver, Mike Bruscemi, Frank Baldachino and J&T Silva Stables. She joins Moni Maker (1998) and C R Kay Suzie (1996) as female Open Trot champions.
"I honestly didn't see that one coming," said Gingras about Marion Marauder's early move. "I didn't really want to be in a two hole. I know he is a nice horse, but I didn't want to be behind him. It's just the way it goes and it worked out."
Gingras and Burke pushed several of the right buttons all weekend. Gingras won four Breeders Crown races to push his career total to 20, and Burke won three, giving him 12 championship trophies. Here's a recap of Saturday's races:
$421,000 OPEN PACE: Split The House (Brett Miller, $18.40) made a second move off dueling leaders to take the lead in the stretch, then held off a late charge by favored McWicked to win by a length in 1:48.1. The 5-year-old gelding won his first stakes race of the year for trainer Chris Oakes and owner Crawford Farms Racing.
$527,000 3YO PACE: Beckhams Z Tam ($11.20) became the third Indiana-bred winner of the night when he followed live cover into the stretch, tipped 3-wide and surged past odds-on favorite Downbytheseaside for a 1/4-length victory in 1:51.1. Ricky Macomber Jr. drove the winner for his wife, trainer Jamie Macomber, and Bill Matz's Z Tam Stable, setting the stage for an emotional winner's circle celebration. "I never dreamed anything like this," said Jamie Macomber. "This is his home track. Turning for home, I knew he was the winner. I don’t know what to say. My husband did it. It’s amazing."
$527,500 3YO TROT: What The Hill (David Miller, $4.80), a wire-to-wire elimination winner, parlayed a pocket trip into an easy 2-length victory in the finals in 1:52.3. What The Hill overpowered pace-setter Lindy The Great (Tim Tetrick) in mid-stretch to become the sport's newest millionaire. Lindy The Great held off a late 6-wide rush by co-favored International Moni (Scott Zeron) for second. Burke trains What The Hill for co-owners Our Horse Cents Stables and J & T Silva Stables.
$600,000 2YO PACE: Stay Hungry ($11) rallied 3-wide to the lead on the final turn, then held off Shnitzledosomethin by a neck to win in 1:50.4, giving driver Doug McNair his first Breeders Crown victory. "I moved him pretty early down the backstretch ... and he knew what to do and he raced awesome," said McNair. Trained by Tony Alagna, Stay Hungry has won six of eight races and earned $437,964 for owners Brad Grant and Irwin Samelman.
$600,000 2YO TROT: Locally-based Fiftydallarbill (Trace Tetrick, $17.40) sustained a third-over rally to win going away by 1-1/4 lengths in 1:55. Met's Hall (Andy Miller), Samo Different Day (Jimmy Takter) and Skyway Torpedo (Peter Wrenn) completed a $12,963 superfecta payout. William Crone trains the winner for owner-breeder John Barnard.