East Rutherford, NJ — Papi Rob Hanover dominated the freshman male pacing field to win the Governor’s Cup and JK First Lady won the Three Diamonds freshman filly pace at The Meadowlands on Saturday (Nov. 23).
Papi Rob Hanover, the 1-9 favorite, was never challenged in winning the $401,850 Governor’s Cup for 2-year-old pacing colts in a 1:51.1 mile.
Driver David Miller was in no hurry to get to the lead with Papi Rob Hanover. Miller sat on his charge fourth behind the fast-leaving Captain Groovy, who quickly surrendered the lead to Cattlewash moving to a :27.3 first quarter. Lake Charles followed in third.
Papi Rob Hanover then made a flashy brush, passing his three foes and easily clearing them for the lead to record a half of :56.4. Papi Rob Hanover dictated the second half. He kept the lead strongly, clocking three-quarters in 1:25 and drawing away to win by 2-3/4 lengths in 1:51.1. Father Nuno closed from far back to take second by a nose over Cattlewash.
Trainer Brett Pelling said his winning colt “has done absolutely everything; two track records, a sire stakes champion and now the Governor’s Cup winner. He’s just a fabulous animal. He wins and he dominates.”
Papi Rob Hanover’s owner, David McDuffee, said, “Brett told me early last winter ‘you got a really special one here I’m gonna tell ya.’”
Papi Rob Hanover, by Somebeachsomewhere out of Panera Hanover, won his sixth race of the season. His earnings increased to $756,783. He paid $2.20 to win.
Jules Siegel sponsored the Governor’s Cup.
Watch Race Replay here.
Storming up the middle of the stretch, JK First Lady won the $411,000 Three Diamonds for 2-year-old pacing fillies by a neck in a career-best 1:49.2.
Starting from the far outside 10 post, Rocknificent launched to the top off the gate for a good spot early as favorite Lyons Sentinel took the lead past a :26.4 first quarter. Hen Party followed Rocknifcent as the trio raced to the half. JK First Lady and driver Yannick Gingras sat saving ground in fifth.
Marloe Hanover went first over to challenge Lyons Sentinel, giving live cover to JK First Lady as the half went in :55.3.
Lyons Sentinel paced in control of the field to a 1:23 three-quarters while Marloe Hanover forced a duel turning into the stretch. On the inside, Rocknificent was full of pace, closing up the rail quickly to pass the dueling duo.
Brushing late and passing fillies handily, JK First Lady paced a winning path down the middle of the track as 23-1 Rocknificent paced with power on the rail to finish second. Lyons Sentinel had enough left to hold on for third.
Gingras said, “I really liked my spot in the first turn. I figured if Marloe Hanover moves to the front first, I get to follow Lyons Sentinel or vice versa. So I was really liking where I got away.”
Nancy Johansson trains JK First Lady, who won her fifth race of the year and increased her bankroll to $371,500 for owner 3 Brothers Stable. A daughter of Western Ideal-JK She’salady, JK First Lady paid $8.20 to win.
“We gave her a little bit of a break after the Breeders Crown,” Johansson said. “She was really wound up that day even when I warmed her up. But she’s been a nice filly all year. I’m happy she got a big win finally.
“Obviously it’s very special to train a first foal out of a mare like JK She’salady. She was a great filly for me, the first horse that really put me on the map. It’s extra super special that she got to win a stakes race that her mom won, too.”
Watch Race Replay here.