Soiree Hanover (Walner) parlayed last week’s New Jersey Classic Final win into an even bigger harness racing victory, taking the $400,000 Jim Doherty Memorial for two-year-old trotting fillies in Grand Circuit action at Harrah’s Hoosier Park on Friday night (Sept. 15th).
In rein to Tim Tetrick, Soiree Hanover survived a brief scare entering the opening turn after dropping in fourth and having rival The Moment (Brian Sears) break stride in front of her. That cost her a few lengths as she had to wait for the breaker to move to the outside.
The winning driver said he knew he had to use his filly a bit at the start this time, being camped in the widest post, which contrasted her deep closing style deployed in the New Jersey Classic win. “Today I knew I had to leave a little bit,” Tetrick explained. “She handled that just fine. I was actually too close. A couple made breaks that I didn’t think would, then she had to do a lot of work. It’s a really long stretch here, and you know, she earned that win.”
Meanwhile, Cheval Rapide (Yannick Gingras) , who added Lasix for this race, was cutting an opening quarter in 26.4 and a half in 56.4 with Ponda Title (Kyle Wilfong) riding the pocket in front of Soiree Hanover. Once they passed the half, Tetrick gave his filly the cue and she moved first up.
As the leaders reached the three-quarters in 1:25.1, Soiree Hanover and Cheval Rapide matched strides and there was nothing between them at that stage. Passing the eighth pole, however, Soiree Hanover forged to the front then held off a late challenge from Ponda Title, who produced a late bid down the centre of the track.
Soiree Hanover hit the wire a length to the good in 1:54.2 with Ponda Title a clear second. It was two lengths back to Graceful Design (Andy McCarthy), who shaded Slip Sliding Away (Dexter Dunn) for third.
SOIREE HANOVER REPLAY
Winning trainer Lucas Wallin sung Soiree Hanover’s praises in the winner’s circle. “She’s very very nice, and Timmy has given her a lot of nice races from the beginning,” he beamed. “She loves to have a target and she is just a very, very nice filly.”
The Doherty had a Breeders Crown “Win and You’re In” bonus which means that Soiree Hanover qualifies to go straight into the final with no starting fee as a result of this victory. “We can take it a little easy having already made the final,” Wallin said. “She will ship home tomorrow then it’s full focus for the final.”
Soiree Hanover, winning for the fourth time in six starts, boosted her earnings to more than $390,000 for owner Snogarps Guard Inc. of Florida. She paid $3.60 to win as the favorite.
For complete race results, click here: US Trotting results.
by Garnet Barnsdale, for Harnesslink