Varsity Hanover six in a row
Posted 540 days
Varsity Hanover sets lifetime mark in route to sixth win in a row;
Donnie Russell wins four and Ken Weckstein wins two.
In a thrilling Saturday night of racing two year old pacer Varsity Hanover recorded his sixth win in a row in 1:56.4 on the engine. Varsity moved up to face older and faster company this week including Lislea Pat winner of four of his last six, I Told Gordy winner of two out of three in the highest classes at
Rosecroft and Gold Like U winner of three in a row at Rosecroft before a fourth place finish in his last.
Varsity was pushed hard to protect the rail and hit the quarter in 27.4, for driver Justin Vincent, after backing the half off to 59.3, the field began the chase in earnest. Lislea Pat was attacking uncovered on the outside and Rocknroll Jewel loomed a major danger from the two hole. I Told Gordy had advanced to second over as the field paced a 28.2 third quarter. On the far turn Lislea Pat continued to ground away, I Told Gordy had tipped three wide and Rocknroll Jewel was waiting for clearance.
But Varsity Hanover found more and stayed clear to the wire in a powerful performance holding sway while completing the mile in 1:56.4, a new lifetime mark. Rocknroll Jewel grabbed the place late and I Told Gordy was steady late to hold the show. Lislea Pat just missed in a tight three horse battle for place and show and was fourth.
Varsity Hanover is owned and trained by James Whalen Jr. of Crumpton, Maryland and has seven wins and a second when driven by Justin Vincent. The winner paid $21.20 to win as handicappers discounted the two year old’s chances against such an accomplished field.
Donnie Russell won four races Saturday night scoring with Scott’s Sweety for trainer Greg Trotto in the fourth race and then returned to the winner’s circle for trainer Trotto after the sixth race with Detail Man. Russell continued to dominate the even-numbered races using a two hole trip to score in the eighth with Crown Time McJess in that one’s first race for owner-trainer Arlene Cameron. True to form Russell returned to the winner’s circle after the tenth race with Owen Eiler Jr’s. Fourth Page breaking that one’s seasonal maiden.
Ken Weckstein recorded the first pari-mutuel driving double of his career Saturday night, winning the opener with his recently purchased Mandinga and for good measure put a lifetime mark on that one. This is especially notable considering Mandinga broke stride after the start and rallied uncovered into the odds on favorite, Civic Duty (John Wagner) and just kept on going in a powerful display. Weckstein wasn’t through, after missing the ticket in the fourth race with Boccio, Weckstein put Gold Comet on the lead at the start and never had an anxious moment as he bottomed out the field with fractions of 27.4, 57.3, 1:26.1 and 1.56.3 to set a seasonal mark for this one.
Weckstein, who is an attorney, droves mostly his own horses and seldom more than a horse or two a week said, “I’ve won two races at a Fair before but never at a pari-mutuel track” and triggered hundred dollar plus exactas in both cases.
Charles “Chief” Robbins, another who drives his own horses and is an entrepreneur, also scored a victory on the Saturday night card winning on a catch-drive for trainer Betsy Brown while setting a seasonal mark of 1:58.4 on Western Albert. This was Robbins first pari-mutuel win of the season, but as mentioned above he has another career and drives because he loves to do it. It was his first pari-mutuel winner since scoring with Andi Rose at Colonial last fall.
Racing resumes on Friday night, Decomber 2nd, with a first post of 6:45pm.