Loyal Fox Hanover Sets Track Record In Landmark Stakes At Goshen
September 6, 2020, by Ken Weingartner, USTA Media Relations Manager, Hambletonian Society Inc.
Goshen, NY — Loyal Fox Hanover made his first win of the season a memorable one, winning Sunday’s $16,150 Landmark Stakes 3-year-old open trot by 4-1/2 lengths over Askmelater Hanover in a track-record 1:57.3 at Historic Track. Sloanie finished third.
The previous track record for a 3-year-old trotting gelding was 1:58 set by Keenan in 2011.
Askmelater Hanover led through the first half of the race before Loyal Fox Hanover took a slim lead at three-quarters. The two trotters battled around the final turn before Loyal Fox Hanover pulled away nearing the wire.
“I wasn’t sure if he was going to get around the half-mile (track) but he liked it,” trainer Chuck Sylvester said. “He got around there very good. I’d say that was one of his best performances of the year.”
Loyal Fox Hanover had four wins and four second-place finishes in 10 starts last year, earning $76,118. He finished second in a division of the John Simpson Memorial and concluded last season with a victory in a division of the Liberty Bell. This year, though, he was winless in nine starts heading into the Landmark.
“We were pretty high on him all winter and he’s been pretty disappointing to us,” Sylvester said. “He could trot as much last year as he’s been trotting this year. For some reason, he didn’t pick up any speed. He’s just been steady. Last year, he battled every time. This year, he hasn’t tried very hard. Maybe this is what he needed.”
Ray Schnittker drove Loyal Fox Hanover for Sylvester. Loyal Fox Hanover, a son of Andover Hall out of Lady Luck Hanover, has won five of 20 career races, earning $98,833. The gelding is owned by Steve Jones, Mary Kinsey Arnold, Paul Bordogna, and Sylvester. Hanover Shoe Farms bred the winner.
Other Landmark Stakes winners were Levine in the $16,550 3-year-old open pace, Rodeo Beach in the $7,900 3-year-old filly pace, Credit Con in the $12,000 2-year-old open trot, and Mullinax in the $10,500 2-year-old open pace.
Jason Bartlett drove Levine and Mullinax, two of his seven wins on the day. He also won five New York Sire Stakes County Fair finals.
“I knew some of the horses I had were pretty good and I had some good post positions too,” Bartlett said. “But you can’t expect you’re going to win seven on the day, that everything is going to go perfect. I just was in good spots.”
Levine won by 6-3/4 lengths over 2019 New York Sire Stakes champion Cigars And Port in 1:54. He took the lead following a first-turn skirmish with Stop Action and Cigars And Port and rebuffed a first-over challenge from Cigars And Port on the backstretch en route to victory. Always On The Hunt finished third.
“He has really good gate speed,” Bartlett said. “He’s very quick and he’s very good in the turns. I knew when I got to the front as easy as I did that he would be tough to beat. He was very good. And Scott Zeron owns that horse, so I had a lot of pressure on me.”
Levine is owned by driver Zeron, who was unable to attend Sunday’s Historic Track races because of commitments at Harrah’s Philadelphia, which was hosting the Pennsylvania Sire Stakes championships and consolations for 3-year-olds.
Levine, a gelded son of American Ideal-Sangaal bred by Ken Solomon, has won four of seven races this year and five of 16 lifetime, earning $55,955. He is the points leader in the New York Sire Stakes Excelsior “A” Series.
Mullinax won his Landmark Stakes by 5-3/4 lengths over Stop Staring in 1:57.4. He’s A Snob finished third.
Fourth through the first half of the race, Mullinax charged forward from there and became the race’s fourth and final leader.
“He’s been very good,” Bartlett said. “I love that little horse. He got beat last week because he was very sick. I knew today that I just needed a clean trip. There was a lot of movement to the half and some of those horses were struggling in the turns. I attacked in the turn and cleared pretty easy. He won very easily.”
Mullinax has won three of eight races and $27,152 for owner Bill Varney. He was bred by Mark Ford and Ed Mullinax, who passed away in 2018. Ford trains the colt.
“He’s very versatile, quick, and has a great attitude,” Bartlett said. “I’ve been racing him from the front and today he won from off the pace just as well. He’s just a handy little horse and that’s what you need on the New York Sire Stakes circuit.”
Schnittker returned to the winner’s circle for the Landmark for 3-year-old filly pacers after driving Rodeo Beach to victory in 1:55.4. Flirty Forty finished second and Hurrikanemyshannon was third.
Rodeo Beach led through the first quarter before yielding the top spot to Flirty Forty, who guided the field to the three-quarter point. Rodeo Beach moved to the outside coming off the final turn and paced to a 3-3/4 length triumph.
Schnittker owns Rodeo Beach with Arnold and Bordogna. He bred the filly, a daughter of Somebeachsomewhere out of Wild West Show, with Charles Iannazzo. She is a full sister to Dan Patch Award winner Huntsville as well as six-figure earners Cowboy Terrier, Stevensville, Wild Bill, and Branquinho.
Rodeo Beach has won two of 11 races this season and three of 19 lifetime, earning $31,086.
Credit Con held off a late charge from Seven Nation Army to capture the $12,000 Landmark Stakes 2-year-old open trot by three-quarters of a length in 2:00.4. Manuka finished third.
Cory Stratton drove Credit Con for trainer Todd Buter and breeder/owner Lee Sitto. The victory was the first for the gelding, a son of Credit Winner out of Jesse’s Con, in six career starts. He has won $31,080.