Lexington, KY — Speed came to shine on the closing card of the Grand Circuit meet at The Red Mile Sunday (Oct. 10), with the “fast” track producing world records from Atlanta and Allywag Hanover in the Allerage events.
Driver Yannick Gingras poised champion mare Atlanta to attack her competition off the final turn, and the 6-year-old Chapter Seven mare responded with a fierce stretch kick to a world-record 1:49 mile in the $81,000 What The Hill Allerage Farms Mare Trot, sponsored by the What The Hill Syndicate and Hickory Lane Farm.
Atlanta landed in fourth to a :27.3 first quarter set by Felicityshagwell S, who maintained her speed to the half in :54.3 as the lone 3-year-old Altar lost stride from the pocket. When Dovescry mounted a first-over bid to the final turn, carrying Atlanta on her back, and ranged to take a narrow lead to three-quarters in 1:22.1. Atlanta then capitalized off the covered trip into the straightaway, coasting under slight high lines but all under wraps to hit the line 3-3/4 lengths better than When Dovescry. Hypnotic AM closed for third and Felicityshagwell S held fourth.
The 1:49 mile beats the world record for older trotting mares of 1:49.2 set by Atlanta’s stablemate, Hannelore Hanover, in 2017. It also matches the all-age world record for mares set in 2019 by 4-year-old Manchego, who recently retired from a career worth over $3 million.
“I’m just glad I was able to see it here today,” said Michelle Crawford, who co-owns Atlanta through Crawford Farms Racing with Brad Grant and Howard Taylor (both of whom were not in attendance). “We’re very happy with how she’s been managed — we’ve laid off a little bit when she’s been under the weather (or) she hasn’t raced up to par for her. The ride over the years has just been amazing. She couldn’t give us anymore.”
From 60 starts, Atlanta has scored 30 wins and nears the $3-million plateau in earnings. Ron Burke trains the mare who paid $4.40 to win and has a growing list of engagements still to come in her career, including another potential spar against male competition in the Breeders Crown Open Trot on Oct. 30 at The Meadowlands.
“Yannick just asked if we were going to Sweden, so I said ‘Hey, I’m in,’” Crawford also said after the race, referring to a potential start for Atlanta in the 2022 Elitlopp. “He’s booking his ticket, so I guess it’s something that we’ll talk about with the partners and see how they feel about it. And obviously Ronnie (Burke) too, he’s the main decision maker.”
The all-age world record for pacing geldings received a new name for the placard with a 1:46.4 mile put in by 4-year-old Allywag Hanover to take the $158,000 Allerage Farms Open Pace, sponsored by Jeff and Paula Gural. The mile equaled Holborn Hanover and Dr J Hanover’s mark.
Driver Todd McCarthy had the Brett Pelling trainee on the motor out of post nine, grabbing command to a :25.4 first quarter but soon getting shuffled in a contested half of :51.3. Ocean Rock swept to lead the field to the final turn over Nicholas Beach while Ruthless Hanover marched uncovered with This Is The Plan on his back, locking Allywag Hanover to the pylons to three-quarters in 1:19.1. However, room opened at the inside for the Captaintreacherous gelding, and Allywag Hanover accelerated through the gap and extended to the finish a 2-1/2 length winner over This Is The Plan. Catch The Fire finished third and Ruthless Hanover held fourth.
“He’s been a wonderful horse for us,” said Adam Bowden, head of Diamond Creek Farms and co-owner of Allywag Hanover through the Allywag Stable. “Brett’s done a masterful job. I couldn’t be more thankful. Todd was brilliant leaving hard, got to the lead and got to follow the good ones. The rest of this year and all of next year and into the future…this is going to be fun for us.”
The victory pushes Allywag Hanover closer to millionaire status with $939,938 banked from 38 starts, 17 of which he won. He paid $5.60 to win.
While the Atlanta team ruminates a try with their mare overseas, a star from overseas in Ecurie D DK debuted a powerful winner in taking the $136,000 E L Titan Allerage Farms Open Trot, sponsored by Blue Chip Farms LLC and Emp Invest Oy, in 1:50.4.
The 5-year-old Infinitif stallion stormed to the top in his North American foray to post a :28.1 first quarter and a :56 half as his stablemate Back Of The Neck, parked from the start, progressed to press for the lead around the final turn. Ecurie D DK held control to three-quarters in 1:23.4 as Back Of The Neck faltered off the turn, leaving Ecurie D DK to his own in the sprint to the finish. He strode the line 2-1/4 lengths clear of Forbidden Trade rallying from the back to take second, with It’s Academic finishing third and Beads shooting through a seam at the inside for fourth.
“He has been racing very good in Sweden and all of Europe since he was 3, and the owner wanted to try something new,” said Sarah Svanstedt, wife of and an assistant trainer with Ake Svanstedt, after the race. “They know he’s good on big mile tracks like this, so that was the main goal, to put him here. And now we see what the next mission for him will be.”
Ake Svanstedt sat in the sulky behind Ecurie D DK, who he co-owns with Marko Kreivi Stables and Suleyman Yuksel Stables. With the win, Ecurie D DK has won 16 from 22 starts and earned $458,368. He returned a mutuel of $3.40.
Rocknificent recorded a track-record victory in the $73,500 Woodbine At Mohawk Park Allerage Farms Mare Pace when stopping the clock in 1:48.
JK First Lady lunged for the lead from the outermost post in the sextet as Rocknificent pushed from the pylon post to sit second, but promptly vacated the pegs heading to a :27.4 first quarter with Peaky Sneaky following suit. Rocknificent landed a pocket trip to the backstretch with Peaky Sneaky sweeping to the lead and keeping the pace quick to a :53.1 half. Driver Scott Zeron steadily tipped the 4-year-old Captaintreacherous mare out of second moving to three-quarters in 1:20.1 and put away her competition with ease through the stretch. She finished 3-1/4 lengths better than Gia’s Surreal in second, with Peaky Sneaky holding third and Drama Act rallying for fourth.
Owned by Enviro Stables Ltd., South Mountain Stables and Little E LLC, Rocknificent won her third race from 16 starts this season and her 13th from 44 overall, earning $956,162. Linda Toscano trains the $2.60 winner.