Big Als Stables has been part of the ownership of the five-year-old Rouser Hanover with other entities before buying the horse outright at the end of last year. And the patience seems to be paying off, as the son of Captaintreacherous out of $1 million-winning Romantic Moment won the featured pace at Harrah’s Philadelphia on Wednesday in 1:51, improving his seasonal record to three-for-three.
Unraced at two, winner of one-for-two at three and one-for-three at four while undoubtedly keeping trainer Tony Alagna alternately hopeful and frustrated, Alagna must be more towards the hopeful side now after Andrew McCarthy made a quarter-move with Rouser Hanover, then held off a spirited first-over bid for Jo Pas Warrior by a half-length in a :55 back half. The victory was one of five on the day for driver Andrew McCarthy.
The other feature for male pacers went to the American Ideal sophomore gelding Shakertown, who overcame a tuck-then-first-over trip to catch a tough front-ender in Threshold by three-quarters of a length in a lifetime-best 1:52. Alagna thus had a sweep of the male pacing features (and three on the day), with Tim Tetrick getting Shakertown home first in his seasonal debut for Crawford Farms Racing and Alan Johnston.
Heartbreak Hotel didn’t find coming up the inside from the pocket a lonely street, but the path to the winner's circle, as she took a new mark of 1:52.4 in the female pacing headliner. The only horse staying close to pacesetting chalk Hamptons Babe for much of the event, the winning three-year-old daughter of Sweet Lou gained into a :55.3 back half to be successful by a half-length for driver David Miller, trainer Nifty Norman and the ownership of Let It Ride Stables Inc., Bottom Line Racing LLC and Mac Nichol.
Among the featured trotters, the Explosive Matter sophomore filly Money Matters, who had shown ability amidst a few errors, came from off the pace to overhaul heavy favourite Creatarma by three-quarters of a length in her fastest win time, 1:56.3. McCarthy drove the filly for trainer Aaron Lambert, who is also co-owner with Kenneth Silver and Brian Klenberg.
All four $12,600 features were decided by less than a length.
The $22,500 feature handicap on “Trottin’ Thursday” at Philly can be billed as “The Greybeard” vs. “The Upstart” as the 13-year-old Meladys Monet, who went over $2 million in career earnings with a win in this event last week, takes on the red-hot mare Skyway Bebop, who gets an acid test for class here as she seeks her sixth consecutive triumph.
(With files from PHHA/Harrah's Philadelphia)