MILTON, September 11, 2021 – Fire Start Hanover collared Hot Mess Express in the final strides to take top prize in a thrilling edition of the $425,000 Fan Hanover final, Saturday night at Woodbine Mohawk Park.
The duel between two of the continent’s top three-year-old pacing fillies definitely didn’t disappoint.
Notorious Pink, with Trevor McCarthy in the sulky, took early control of the proceedings, guiding her rivals through an opening quarter-mile timed in :27-flat. Soon after, Hot Mess Express, who won her Fan Hanover elim in impressive fashion last week, struck front and reeled off a half in :54.4.
Fire Start Hanover, equally strong in taking her Fan Hanover elim last Saturday, soon began to make headway, but had plenty of work to do as the 10-horse field hit three-quarters in 1:22.2.
As the field straightened for home, Dexter Dunn had Fire Start Hanover in full flight and the pair took dead-aim at Hot Mess Express. The fillies then put on a show, going head-to-head down the stretch with Fire Start Hanover finally putting her foe away late to win by a neck in a time of 1:50.1.
“Oh, she went a big mile,” praised Dunn. “You know, she raced so good last week off the pace, and there was hot speed early, so we got out of that and we ended up being way back. But she had to come a long way first over and chased down a real good filly, so you know, it was a really great effort by her.”
Bred by Hanover Shoe Farms, Fire Start Hanover gained a measure of revenge on Hot Mess Express, after finishing second to the daughter of Panther Hanover in the Mistletoe Shalee on July 17.
Trained by Richard “Nifty” Norman, the daughter of Somebeachsomewhere, owned by Pinske Stables, David Hoese and Lawrence Means, now has 12 career wins from 21 starts. In eight 2021 engagements, she has a mark of 4-4-0.
“I was very excited about this filly,” said Norman. “I love this filly, but like I said, the race early there, I was glad Dexter bailed on the lead, because I know she likes having a target and loves to chase a horse down. So, they raced pretty good to the half and I knew she’d be coming home good, but Hot Mess Express is a tough horse and I wasn’t sure if she was going to go by her or not, but she raced fantastic to get the job done.”
Norman was happy to make the trip to Mohawk.
“I’ve been coming here for many years and I love it. We’ve had good luck up here. It’s a great atmosphere, great track. Love coming here.”
Fire Start Hanover broke her maiden in her third start last July at Pocono, winning by 1 ½-lengths at 17-1.
She paid $5.50 for the Fan Hanover victory.