Sunday, July 30, 2023

It appeared all hope was lost, but once again, the great Sylvia Hanover overcame adversity to win a 12th straight start Saturday night, scoring in one of two divisions of the Tompkins-Geers for 3-year-old pacing fillies at The Meadowlands. Purses in excess of $30,000 were offered on the four T-G events on the card.

It shouldn’t have come as a big surprise that the daughter of Always B Miki-Shyaway came through. After all, she went a nightmare trip in The Big M’s Mistletoe Shalee two weeks ago and prevailed in 1:48.4.

This time around, driver Brian Sears had eventual second-place finisher Zanatta on a speed mission, as after being permitted to cut out a leisurely opening half of :56.3, she sprinted clear of the field by 4½ lengths after a :26.2 explosion had her at three-quarters in 1:23.

Despite the sizable disadvantage, Sylvia Hanover would not be denied, chipping away at the leader’s edge through the stretch before finally prevailing by a length in 1:50 as the 1-20 favorite, paying $2.10 to win.

“I was OK coming first up,” said winning driver Bob McClure of the Mark Steacy trainee. “I didn’t like the fractions Brian was getting. I think (my horse) came back-to-back :26 quarters. She has her way and it seems to be working.”

Charleston (Downbytheseaside-Western Montana) took the other T-G division for females in 1:51 for Tim Tetrick and Brett Pelling as the 2-5 favorite.

The two Tompkins-Geers splits for 3-year-old colt and gelding pacers went to even-money second choice Hungry Angel Boy (Stay Hungry-Angel Scent), who bested Voukefalas by a half-length in a lifetime-best 1:48.2 for Todd McCarthy and Tony Alagna, and All Class (Heston Blue Chip-Winners Over) for Andy McCarthy and Per Engblom in a lifetime-best 1:49.2 as the 17-1 fifth choice.

Fashion Schooner (Walner-Broadway Schooner), the 2022 Hambletonian Oaks champion, went wire-to-wire in the $40,000 Miss Versatility for open mares on the trot. The 7-2 second choice won by a nose in 1:50, holding off the fast-closing duo of Warrawee Xenia and 1-5 public choice M-M’s Dream, who finished second and third, respectively.

MONSTER CARRYOVER: For a second straight night, there were no winning tickets sold on the 20-cent Pick-6, creating a double carryover of $47,167. A decision will be made early in the week as to whether the bet will be offered on Friday night or Hambletonian Day Saturday.

A LITTLE MORE: Betting was big on the 14-race card as $3,650,449 was pushed through the windows, the 47th time from 61 programs this year that wagering exceeded the magic $3-million mark. … The Early 50-cent Pick-4, a sequence comprised of the Hambletonian and Hambletonian Oaks eliminations, saw no winning favorites, and resulted in a handsome payoff of $15,479.15. … Racing resumes Friday at 6:20 p.m. That will mark the next-to-last program of the Championship Meet. Closing Day is Hambletonian Day, Saturday, Aug. 5, with a special early post time of noon.

PHOTO: Sylvia Hanover and driver Bob McClure take a division of the Tompkins-Geers for 3-year-old fillies on the pace at The Meadowlands Saturday night. (Credit: Lisa Photo)