CAMPBELLVILLE, August 21 – Cantab Hall filly Courtney Hanover and trainer/driver Rick Zeron came out on top in a tight Photo Finish to win Monday’s $35,200 Pure Ivory Series Final at Mohawk Racetrack.
Courtney Hanover fought off an outside charging Jordan Blue Chip, who was the 3/2 favourite, to score the series finale victory at odds of 6-1.
Zeron blasted his filly off the wings of the gate from the rail and fronted the field by the opening-quarter in :29. Shazamm, who won a first leg division, was moved to the lead from third and led the group by the half in :58.
Courtney Hanover sat in the two-hole on the far turn, while Shazamm showed the way to three-quarters in 1:27.3. Outside challengers developed on the far turn and Jordan Blue Chip was situated third-over and ready for the stretch drive.
In the stretch, Zeron was able to angle off the pylons and find clear racing room for his filly with an eighth of a mile to go. Meanwhile, Jordan Blue Chip was in full flight on the far outside for driver Paul MacDonell and looking to power by Courtney Hanover in the final stride.
The two fillies hit the line together in 1:56.2 and it took a Photo Finish to determine Courtney Hanover had prevailed by the narrowest of margins.
“No I didn’t think I won,” admitted Zeron post-race. “I knew my filly was digging real hard down the lane when I shook loose, but I didn’t think I got up to beat Paul (MacDonell) because Paul had real good momentum going, but my filly dug in like the last time I raced her here.”
Courtney Hanover won an opening leg division of the Pure Ivory on August 7, but was scratched from the second leg due to sickness.
“She cleared up real good and Dr. Malone I take my hat off, he took care of this filly and got her prepped up to where she is tonight,” noted Zeron.
“I’m real happy with her, she’s a real nice filly.”
Courtney Hanover was a $47,000 purchase at last November’s Harrisburg Yearling Sale. She now sports a record of two for five with $28,100 earned for owners Rick Zeron Stables, Paul Marion, Bruno Dipoce and Howard Taylor.
The clocking of 1:56.2 lowered the Cantab Hall filly’s career-mark by a fifth of a second.
Zeron noted that Courtney Hanover’s next start will be in the Champlain Stakes on August 31 followed by the Peaceful Way eliminations in September.
The top-five finishers in Monday’s Pure Ivory final were rounded out by Alloveragain, Ex Hanover and Strength Of A Woman.
A $2 win ticket on Courtney Hanover returned $14.20.
Live racing continues Tuesday night at Mohawk Racetrack. Post time is 7:30 p.m.