by Michael Chamberlain, Vernon Downs Publicity
I Do Hanover (Shark Gesture-I'm Married) withstood a stout challenge from favored Tell Us More to win the $8,000 featured Open II pace at Vernon Downs on Saturday night. Firethorn (John MacDonald) was the one who set a strong pace of 26.4 for the quarter, 57.4 for the half, and 1:24.3 for three-quarters. However, those fast fractions ended up costing the pacesetter in the stretch, as he faded out to finish last.
I Do Hanover was moved aggressively first-over by driver Truman Gale past the half-mile marker and ended up drawing on even terms with Firethorn as the field entered the stretch. Tell Us More (Roman Lopez) followed the solid cover from I Do Hanover and rolled into contention as the field moved through the stretch. I Do Hanover held on to first position all the way to the wire to win in 1:52.2, scoring a minor upset at 6-1 over the favorite, who had to settle for second. Moonlight Ransom (Jimmy Whittemore) had been third in the early stages and ended up getting shuffled back to fifth with all the action in the outer flow on the far turn. Moonlight Ransom was able to re-rally in the stretch and get up for third.
The complete order of finish was: I Do Hanover, Tell Us More, Moonlight Ransom, Some Or Lis, You Bet Your Glass, Unicorn Hanover, Gallic Warrior, and Firethorn. I Do Hanover is owned by Philip Hale and David Dewhurst of New York, with Dewhurst doubling as the trainer.
The win in the feature event made it a natural hat trick of wins for driver Truman Gale during the Saturday program. Gale won the fifth race with 8-1 shot, American Bull, in a time of 1:53.1, and followed with a score in the sixth driving Where U At to another upset win at 7-1. Gale also serves as the trainer of first two winners in the sequence of three.
Live racing will resume at Vernon Downs on Friday night with a 9-race program. First post time is 6:45pm.