Washington, PA — Brue Hanover made up 1-1/2 lengths in the Lightning Lane and scored in 1:49.1, matching the stakes record in Friday’s (Sept. 29) $69,100 Keystone Classic at Hollywood Casino at The Meadows. Muskateer Hanover also used the Lightning Lane to capture the other division in the event for 3-year-old colt and gelding pacers.
It was the final day of the 2023 stakes season at The Meadows, and Ronnie Wrenn Jr. and trainer Ron Burke made the most of it. Burke started 23 horses over the 14-race card and won seven races — three with Wrenn aboard. Hunter Myers and Dave Palone also enjoyed big days with three victories apiece.
Brue Hanover sprinted to the early lead but soon found himself second behind Fulton, who was hard used from post eight. But even as Tip Top Cat took the point first over, winning driver Brady Brown was confident of his chances.
“I knew I would get down in the passing lane pretty early because the horse on the lead was kind of bearing out, so I knew I would get a straight shot earlier,” Brown said. “I thought I’d run them down pretty quick.”
The Stay Hungry-Blind Ambition gelding, who has earned $136,091 for Burke and owner Brad Grant, downed Tip Top Cat by a half-length while Ervin Hanover finished third to give Burke a sweep of the top three spots. Brue Hanover’s time matched the record I Like Dreamin established in 2012.
The scenario was similar for Muskateer Hanover as he brushed through the Lightning Lane to prevail in a career-best 1:49.4 for Myers and Burke. Just Bet It All rallied for second, beaten 1-1/4 lengths, with early leader Idiosyncratic third.
“He kind of bears in a little bit in the last turn, so as soon as I got some room, I was trying to get down in there as fast as I could go,” Myers said. “I knew it was a good spot.”
Burke Racing Stable, Jim Simpson, Bridgette Jablonsky and Wingfield Five campaign the Sweet Lou-Marinade Hanover gelding.
$78,100 Keystone Classic — 3-Year-Old Filly Pace
Late For Dinner, Utopia Blue Chip and Beach Cowgirl each took a split in Friday’s co-feature.
The 6-5 favorite, Late For Dinner surrendered the early lead to C Is For Cookie but moved outside in the stretch drive for Wrenn to defeat her by a half-length in 1:50.3, fastest win in her career. Racin Hungry completed the ticket.
Wrenn said he much preferred an outside route to the Lightning Lane.
“She was drifting out a little bit,” he said. “I think she would have gone up the passing lane, but I preferred the outside. She seemed a little more comfortable doing that. I thought she’d pace a little bit more that way.”
Burke trains the daughter of Stay Hungry-Ubettergo for owner/breeder William Donovan.
Utopia Blue Chip, on the other hand, was more than happy to use the Lightning Lane for Drew Monti, triumphing by 1-1/2 lengths in a career-fastest 1:50.3. The first up Knights Tale and Hungry Lizzo rounded out the ticket.
“I knew I would have enough racetrack,” Monti said of the daughter of Sweet Lou-Reign On Me. “I was concerned about the leader, who looked a little bit empty going into the last turn. But I thought she had enough to get me to the Lightning Lane. Got lucky — we’ll take it”
Hunter Oakes conditions Utopia Blue Chip for D Racing Stable Inc., B & I Stables, Donald MacRae and Earl Hill Jr.
With its stakes season completed, The Meadows next week will introduce its Fall-Winter schedule, which features live cards each Wednesday, Thursday and Friday kicking off at 12:45 p.m. each day. When live racing resumes Wednesday, the program will offer a $1,048.05 carryover in the Early Pentafecta (race four).