CAMPBELLVILLE, June 17 – Hannelore Hanover, driven by Yannick Gingras and trained by Ron Burke, successfully defended her title in the $253,000 Armbro Flight Final for trotting fillies and mares on Saturday night at Mohawk Racetrack, part of the Pepsi North America Cup undercard.
The 2016 Dan Patch and O’Brien Award winner won last year’s Armbro Flight in similar fashion to this year’s edition: the mare basically front-stepped her way to the winner’s circle.
Emoticon Hanover showed early speed off the gate to claim the lead followed by Majestic Presence, who got away second. Hannelore Hanover, the heavy 1-5 favourite, was parked out into the first turn and was forced to make a bid for command. After Emoticon Hanover posted a :27 opening panel, Hannelore Hanover, who was second on the outside, cleared to the front. The five-year-old mare remained the tempo-setter, marching past the half in :56.1 and three-quarters in 1:24.1.
Charmed Life took a shot at the leader while advancing first-over into the final turn, however Hannelore Hanover could not be caught as they entered the stretch. She opened up by three and a quarter lengths before stopping the clocked in 1:51.4. Charmed Life finished second and Emoticon Hanover was third.
“There was a lot of movement behind the gate and a lot of close quarters there for a little bit so I just wanted to make my way to the front as easy as I could and keep her out of trouble,” said Gingras.
There was a delay to the start of the race as Majestic Presence required an equipment adjustment, which the reinsman noted caused Hannelore Hanover to become a little anxious.
"I scored her down a little bit to get her attention before that happened and I got her attention, that’s for sure,” he said. “She was a little bit grabby and wouldn’t quite relax for me after that."
The daughter of Swan For All and High Sobriety is captured her fourth victory of the season and 29th career triumph. With the win, the brown mare lifts her career earnings to $1,692,108 for Burke Racing Stable LLC, Weaver Bruscemi LLC, Frank Baldachino, and J And T Silva Stables LLC.
The last time a mare won back-to-back Armbro Flight Finals was in 2005 and 2006 by great Peaceful Way.
Hannelore Hanover paid $2.40 and $2.10, combining with Charmed Life ($2.80) for a $4.70 (4-3) exactor. A 4-3-8 (Emoticon Hanover) triactor was worth $28.10, while a $1 superfecta [4-3-8-5 (Majestic Presence)] returned $306.25. There was no show wagering.