East Rutherford, NJ — For most of its initial stakes race, the $175,000 TVG Mare Trot final, the Fall Super Saturday Championship card at The Meadowlands didn’t look like it would get off to an unusual start, but that changed in the final sixteenth, as Emoticon Hanover ($16.40) unleashed a vicious sprint from the pocket to catch 1-9 favorite and pacesetter Atlanta, winning in 1:51.4 to both defend her title in this event and equal the 2016 stakes record of Hannelore Hanover.
Darling Mearas S made a break behind the gate; once the gate sprung, Atlanta from post one, Emoticon Hanover from post two, and Beautiful Sin from post three all left rapidly, but Atlanta asserted herself through track geometry heading into turn one, with the field lined up through post position order through a :27.3 quarter and a :56.3 half.
Late on the far turn, the sophomore Beautiful Sin came out of third to increase the tempo nearing the 1:25.2 third quarter, and Atlanta shifted into a very high gear. And so did Emoticon Hanover from the pocket, staying on the pacesetter’s back, then clearing to the outside for driver Dan Dube inside of the eighth pole.
Emoticon Hanover quickly shifted into overdrive, gaining about two lengths into a :26.2 last quarter (and probably a sub-:13 eighth) and had enough thrust to surprise the favorite by a head. Hannelore Hanover went inside in the stretch and finished third, beaten just a length.
“I figured that I would sit the trip behind Atlanta,” Dube noted after the race. “When the pace picked up on the far turn, I thought we might have a chance to catch her.”
Emoticon Hanover, a 6-year-old daughter of Kadabra, now has two TVG Final wins and 2018 and 2017 Breeders Crown championships among her 26 career wins, which has brought $1,765,283 for trainer Luc Blais and owner Determination.
The TVG Mares final was the last career race for Darling Mearas S, Meadowlands track record holder and winner of $845,283, and the 2017 Harness Horse of the Year Hannelore Hanover, she of the multiple triumphs in open company and $3,069,857. Hannelore Hanover will now be bred to Greesnhoe; her regular driver, Yannick Gingras, noted in retirement ceremonies that “I wouldn’t mind driving that one.”
Watch Race Replay here.