Anderson, IN – Two of the richest and most prominent two-year-old Grand Circuit trotting events — the Peter Haughton Memorial for 2-year-old trotting colts and geldings and the Jim Doherty Memorial for 2-year-old trotting fillies—were contested at Harrah’s Hoosier Park Racing & Casino for the first time ever on Friday (Sept. 15). The legendary trotting affairs did not disappoint as they produced two standout performances.
Sent off as the heavy betting favorite, T C I delivered the type of performance a 1-2 favorite should. Stopping the timer in 1:54.2, T C I and driver David Miller held Amazing Catch and Yannick Gingras at bay and powered to the wire nearly two lengths to the good.
Leaving from post four, T C I left sharply but so did Amazing Catch off the rail. T C I gained control just before the half in :57.1 and lead the field to the three-quarters in 1:27. Spaaaanzano and Aaron Merriman were the first to take aim at the leader but they would have their work cut out for them as T C I’s lead was widening with every stride.
Utilizing a :27.2 closing quarter, T C I kicked home impressively and finished a length and a half in front of Amazing Catch. Security Protected and Tim Tetrick closed from well back to round out the trifecta. As the heavy betting favorite, T C I returned $3 to his backers at the betting windows.
With the victory, the Ron Burke trainee recorded his eighth straight victory and has now won eight of nine lifetime starts. Owned in partnership by Burke Racing Stable, Hatfield Stables & Knox Services & Weaver Bruscemi, the son of Cantab Hall—Nicole’s Promise pushed his lifetime earnings to $677,470. With the victory, T C I stamped his ticket to the Breeders Crown 2-Year-Old Colt trot final set to be contested at Harrah’s Hoosier Park on Friday, October 27.
The inaugural Peter Haughton was raced in 1981 and was created and named in honor of the sport’s rising star, 25-year-old Peter Haughton, who tragically passed away the year prior. It quickly became one of the biggest events for 2-year-old male trotters with superstar winners include such names as Donato Hanover, Muscle Hill and King Of The North.
Trainer Lucas Wallin was not exceptionally pleased with his filly’s post position prior to the race. Post nine, however, proved to be no problem for Soiree Hanover (Tim Tetrick) in the $400,000 Jim Doherty Memorial for 2-year-old filly trotters on Friday (Sept. 15) in 1:54.2. This is the first time this event has been hosted by Harrah’s Hoosier Park.
“I was a little closer than I thought I would be since some of the horses I thought wouldn’t break did,” said Tetrick referring to Miss Dior (John De Long) and The Moment (Brian Sears). “But it didn’t seem to be a problem for her especially with the long stretch here.”
Ponda Title (Kyle Wilfong) went straight to the lead at the beginning of the mile, but Cheval Rapide (Yannick Gingras) had a mind of her own and led the field of 10 through a first quarter mile in :26.4. Ponda Title stuck right with her rival as the two fillies separated themselves from their eight rivals after a half-mile in :56.2 with Soiree Hanover positioned in third. Cheval Rapide established the third-quarter fraction of 1:25.1 but the rest of the field including a stubborn Ponda Title were right on her hooves.
Soiree Hanover trotted first-over and overtook Ponda Title by a head in mid-stretch as Cheval Rapide retreated. The filly came home strongly to sail by a game Ponda Title who held second while Graceful Design (Andrew McCarthy) closed from fifth to finish third.
“The nine-hole is always a tough spot to start from,” Wallin said. “And I expected Timmy to be sitting in fifth or sixth with her early in the mile. It’s always tough for a 2-year-old filly to come first-over, but she handled it very well. This is one of the times where it all worked out.”
A daughter of Walner-Spring Gala, Soiree Hanover improved her record to 6-4-0-2 and boosted her bankroll to $392,425.
The filly is the seventh and most prolific foal out of her dam, who is daughter of Hall of Fame broodmare Gala Dream. Gala Dream is also responsible for Dan Patch Award winners Pastor Stephen (Cantab Hall, $1.05 million) and Father Patrick (Cantab Hall, $2.55 million).
Bred by Hanover Shoe Farms, Soiree Hanover was purchased by Snogarps Gard Inc. for $110,000 at the 2022 Standardbred Horse Sale.
The filly paid $3.60 to win as the favorite and punched her ticket to this year’s Breeders Crown event for her age, gait and gender.
As was the case last year, the Doherty and Haughton will offer “Win and You’re In” status for the 2023 Breeders Crown. The official winner of each race, if Breeders Crown eligible as of June 1, will advance directly to their respective final, with no starting fee, and the opportunity to draw for post one through five.
Harrah’s Hoosier Park kicked off the 30th season of live racing on Friday, March 24 and is set to host the richest open stakes schedule ever throughout the 2023 live racing season. Worth over a combined $12 million, the 160-day season will be the most lucrative stakes program in the track’s history culminated by hosting the Breeders Crown events. Harrah’s Hoosier Park Racing & Casino will be hosting the Breeders Crown for the third time on Friday (Oct. 27) and Saturday (Oct. 28).
More information on the 2023 Breeders Crown, including the Charity Challenge, ticketing details, and more will be made available soon. For more information on the Breeders Crown or upcoming events at Harrah’s Hoosier Park, please visit www.harrahshoosierpark.com.