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Norman fillies sweep exacta in Crown elimination

Saturday, October 23, 2021

Trainer Richard "Nifty" Norman’s dynamic sophomore fillies Grace Hill and Fire Start Hanover put on a thrilling stretch duel, finishing one-two in Saturday’s (Oct. 23) $25,000 single elimination for the Breeders Crown 3-year-old filly pace at The Meadowlands. Todd McCarthy guided Grace Hill to a 1:50.3 score, gamely holding off her stablemate to prevail by a head.

Grace Hill left sharply for the front at the start, but yielded to Notorious Pink before making a regaining move for McCarthy past the :27.4 opening quarter. Fire Start Hanover overcame post 10 to settle in a spot on the first turn, and she was flushed without cover near the :56 opening half. Grace Hill and McCarthy hit the accelerator on the far turn, pacing a solid :27 third quarter while Fire Start Hanover made up ground and towed Blue Diamond Eyes behind her in second-over position.

Grace Hill tried to break away from her rivals, but the tenacious Fire Start Hanover, last year’s Breeders Crown juvenile champion, kept plodding away with driver Dexter Dunn’s encouragement and continued to close in on her stablemate. At the finish line, Grace Hill survived a three-filly photo with Fire Start Hanover to her outside and Blue Diamond Eyes a lane farther out but lapped on the top pair in third.

Grace Hill, a daughter of Always B Miki and Western Silk, won for the seventh time this season for owner Tom Hill and returned $4.00 as the public’s choice.

The single elimination put eight fillies into the final, with Notorious Pink, Think Of Galaxies, Mackie Hanover, Marsala Hanover and Shezafreaklikeme joining the top three finishers in advancing. Division leader Test Of Faith and Jugette champion Scarlett Hanover accepted byes and will join the finalists.

Grace Hill took a misstep in early stretch, but recovered quickly for McCarthy.
 

  

“She showed her guts to come back,” said McCarthy of the gritty sophomore filly.

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