Heaven Hanover rallies to 28-1 Hambletonian Oaks upset

Saturday, August 5, 2023

For the second year in a row, post 10 posed no problem for Tim Tetrick in the Hambletonian Oaks.

Tetrick guided Heaven Hanover to victory in Saturday’s (Aug. 5) $500,000 race for 3-year-old female trotters at the Meadowlands, rallying from the back of the pack to defeat Bond by a neck in 1:50.3 at odds of 28-1. Righteous Resolve finished third as five horses were separated by 1-1/4 lengths at the finish.

Last year, Tetrick won the Oaks from post 10 with Fashion Schooner. Saturday’s triumph was Tetrick’s fourth in the Oaks, tying him with Berndt Lindstedt for second most in the race’s history. Yannick Gingras holds the record, with six.

It was the first Oaks victory for trainer Marcus Melander, who previously finished second twice, with Hypnotic AM in 2020 and Iteration in 2021.

Heaven Hanover got away last in the 10-horse field and was more than 14 lengths behind when leader Railee Something got to the first quarter in :26. Railee Something remained in front to the half in :53.2 and three-quarters in 1:21.3, at which point Heaven Hanover was a three-wide ninth, still more than seven lengths behind.

From there, Heaven Hanover began her charge. She trotted her last quarter in :27.3 — the fastest in the field — and passed four horses down the stretch to get the victory.

“I needed exactly what happened to happen,” Tetrick said. “If there was no speed up front, we were too far back. But those fillies got tired, we had fresh legs, and we got it done. She had to earn it. She got the money and it’s great.”

The win was Heaven Hanover’s third in eight starts this season. She was third in her Hambletonian Oaks elimination last week, two weeks after winning a division of the Delvin Miller Memorial, also at the Meadowlands.

“She’s been racing good all year, to be honest,” Melander said. “We took her shoes off for the Delvin Miller, and she really stepped up. We’ve been racing her barefoot ever since. (The Oaks) was such an open race, and if by going barefoot we can get out five percent more, that could be enough to win the race. That’s why we do it.”

Heaven Hanover is a daughter of Father Patrick-Hillarmbo owned by S R F Stable, Rick Wahlstedt, Heights Stable and AMG Stable. She was bred by Hanover Shoe Farms. For her career, she has won five of 14 races and earned $429,731.

Melander’s Secret Volo, who started from post nine, finished fourth, beaten by only a length.

Heaven Hanover paid $59.40 to win.