Saturday, May 18, 2024

Benjamin Hanover used an ideal pocket trip and a perfect steer from Hall of Fame driver Dave Miller to take down 1-2 favorite Lexus Kody Friday night at The Meadowlands in the $27,500 featured winners-over trot.

Looking for a fourth straight win, Lexus Kody was predictably away quickly from post seven in the seven-horse field and settled on the front out of the first turn. Miller had Benjamin Hanover on the go, and settled into the two-hole as Lexus Kody hit the quarter in :26.4, which may have been the difference in the outcome, since his fastest opening panel during his three-race win streak was :27.2.

There were no issues down the backside, as Lexus Kody trotted the half in :55.1 and three-quarters in 1:23.1, with all appearing well for the chalk players.

But just after straightening away with three-sixteenths-of-a-mile to go, Miller eased Benjamin Hanover off the rail, and inched away at the leader’s edge through the entirety of the stretch drive before hitting the wire a head in front of Lexus Kody in a lifetime-best 1:50.3, four-fifths-of-a-second faster than his previous mark. Stabile Genius was third.

“He’s a little bit of a nervous horse, a little antsy,” said Miller. “So, I gave him a score to calm him down. After that, he felt like himself. [In his last start, when he broke at the start but eventually finished second] he was way too hot and got crammed at the gate. Tonight, my plan was to sit the pocket and he got his nose up. He went a couple of real good races at [Harrah’s Philadelphia] and we couldn’t be happier with him.”

Trained by Joe Holloway, Benjamin Hanover is putting together a superb season. He’s won half of his eight starts and hit the board on seven occasions. The 4-year-old gelded son of Sebastian K S-By A Nack Hanover now has 11 victories from just 18 lifetime attempts, good for earnings of $85,730 for owners Sarah J Andrews, Angela Cornell and Jarod M Miller.

As the 4-1 second choice, Benjamin Hanover paid $10.80 to win.

A LITTLE MORE: There were no winning favorites during the Early 20-cent Pick-5 sequence, but none of the winners went off at odds greater than 6-1. Those with winning tickets were rewarded with a payoff of $1,051.78. … All-source betting on the 14-race card totaled $3,102,763, the 32nd time from 38 race cards this year when wagering went past the $3-million mark. … Racing resumes Saturday at 6:20 p.m. with the featured event the $145,150 Arthur J. Cutler Memorial for open trotters. The Cutler – and 3-year-old trotting sensation Karl – can be seen live on a two-hour live broadcast on Fox Sports 2 (FS2) that kicks off at 9 p.m.

PHOTO: Benjamin Hanover and driver Dave Miller are up in time in the Friday night feature at The Meadowlands. (Credit: Lisa Photo)