Hamburg, NY — “I got a great trip,” said winning driver Shawn McDonough after guiding Labatt Hanover ($12.40) to a head victory over Barn Winner in the $10,000 Class A-B Handicap Trot on Friday night (May 17).
Drafting behind Barn Winner (Ray Fisher Jr.) until the top of the stretch, Labatt Hanover was sent into the passing lane, where he chugged along until finally inching by in the shadow of the wire to collect the win. Empire Earl N (Drew Monti) was third.
While Labatt Hanover was first to cross the finish line, there were still some anxious moments for McDonough as he had to wait out an inquiry for a possible pylon violation.
“It had me a little worried,” McDonough said of the inquiry. “I was close to clipping it, but it worked out.”
Labatt Hanover, giving Barn Winner a slight tussle for early command, dropped into second and enjoyed the pocket trip through splits of :28.4, :58 and 1:28.3. It was a ploy that worked out well, as Labatt Hanover went a seasonal-best 1:58.3 over a fast track.
“I was happy sitting second,” McDonough said in relinquishing the lead. “We were following a good horse in Barn Winner so I knew we’d get a good trip.”
Owned by Cynthia and Gary Saj and trained by McDonough, Labatt Hanover (Muscle Hill-La Boheme) is a 6-year-old gelding that has now produced $20,190 in earnings this season and $114,708 lifetime.
David McNeight III and Monti finished the evening with driving doubles.
Racing will continue on Saturday evening (May 18) with a 10-race card. There is a special 7:15 p.m. post time in order to accommodate the running of the Preakness Stakes. Also, there is a $2,096 carryover in the Pick-5 that begins in the second race.
For more information, including the latest news, race replays, results, entries, upcoming promotions and simulcast schedule, go to www.buffaloraceway.com.