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In Harness: HOY Candidate Venerable Dominates In Matron, Leads Norman Double
By USTA Communications
(Courtesy of the USTA Communications Department)

Dover, DE — After an uncharacteristic break in stride marred her chances of a Breeders Crown title, Mohawk Million winner Venerable ($2.10) righted the ship on Thursday night (Nov. 4) at Dover Downs, delivering a scintillating 1:54.3 win in the $130,700 Matron Stakes for 2-year-old trotting fillies and leading a stakes double for trainer Richard “Nifty” Norman.

“I pulled up that night and told Nifty, ‘I have no reason why she did that,'” driver David Miller said of Venerable’s misstep in her Breeders Crown elimination. “I really don’t know — she’s a 2-year-old trotter. It’s not unusual for them to do something like that.”

With her lone flaw in the rearview mirror, Venerable looked every bit her usual self in the Matron, cruising through a :57.1 first half before accelerating up the backstretch to evade pocket rival HL Revina and first-over challenger Missy Trix to three-quarters in 1:25.2. After leaving those rivals behind midway on the far turn, the daughter of Walner and Jolene Jolene steadily increased her margin of clearance over the field, reaching the winning post 6-3/4 lengths in front while confidently handled by David Miller. I’m Happy Hanover (Brian Sears), the longest shot on the board at 47-1, flew down the grandstand side to finish second over HL Revina (Montrell Teague); Missy Trix (Dexter Dunn) faded to fourth.

“Dexter got in to follow me on the last turn, but I yelled at her (Venerable) and she coasted on,” Miller continued. “I never pulled the ear plugs on her. She felt like herself.”

Now a nine-time winner in 10 starts, Venerable has earned $927,295 for David McDuffee, Melvin Hartman, Paul Bordogna and Steven Arnold.

“You can’t dwell on the last race — you’ve got to move on,” Norman said. “We needed to get a good look at her and make sure she was OK, and she passed all the tests. She was really good. It’s hard to tell watching her because everything looks so easy for her, but David said she had no problems at all.”

Venerable will seek a 10th win in her seasonal curtain call, the Nov. 20 Goldsmith Maid at The Meadowlands.

Norman completed his stakes double with Joyride Hanover ($5.20), who defeated stablemate Shipnstrol Hanover in the $145,100 Matron for rookie pacing fillies.

In line to Tim Tetrick, the American Ideal-JK Higher Power filly sprinted to a clear lead over Galleria Hanover through a :27.2 quarter and maintained a solid pace throughout. After rating a :56 half, Joyride Hanover faced pressure from even-money favorite A Girl That Twirls up the backstretch before bursting to a four-length lead upon cornering for home and maintaining three lengths of clearance at the end of her 1:52 lifetime-best win. Shipnstrol Hanover (Miller) checked in traffic at the eighth pole behind a faltering Galleria Hanover, but salvaged second up the open stretch; Frantasy Hanover (Corey Callahan) lifted off cover for third.

Norman defers some of the credit for Joyride Hanover’s success to Eddie Dennis, who campaigned the three-time winner this summer before owner Eric Good transferred her to Norman’s stable before the She’s A Great Lady:

“She’s a really nice filly,” Norman said. “Eddie Dennis trained her down and did a good job — she was a good horse when I got her.”

Thus far, Joyride Hanover has earned $181,364. She, too, will be pointed to The Meadowlands for her season finale, slated to compete in the Nov. 20 Three Diamonds.

In the $179,200 Matron for 2-year-old male trotters, Threepointbluechip ($11.00) kept a host of challengers at bay to win for the third time in his career. In just his second American start, the son of Walner and Dunk The Donato brushed to the lead with a lap to go before evading a first-over push from Periculum up the backstretch, turning aside pocket foe Letsdoit S at the top of the stretch, and then outlasting a trio of late closers to prevail in 1:55. James MacDonald drove the victorious Jim King Jr. trainee for Thestable Three Point Grp. Slay (Andy McCarthy) punched through the open stretch to take second, missing by a half length, while Esplosione (Dunn) cascaded off stalled cover to finish third.

Market Based ($5.40) kicked off the Matron program with a 1:50.4 win in the $146,700 2-year-old male pace, delivering a pillar-to-post 1:50.4 win in line to Dexter Dunn. The Nancy Takter trainee asserted himself from the pole, controlled fractions of :27.1, :55 and 1:23.1 en route to his fourth career win, shrugging off a challenge from pocket foe Nautical Hanover before evading runner-up and 2-5 choice Fourever Boy (Mike Wilder) by two lengths. Chuck Pompey, Ed Gold, and H And M Taylor Stable own the son of Sweet Lou and Economy Terror.

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