By Ken Weingartner, USTA — After vaulting home with :25.4 closing quarters to win both the Meadowlands Pace and the Cane Pace, Confederate obliterated yet another field of 3-year-old male pacers in Saturday’s (Aug. 19) $300,000 Max C. Hempt Memorial at Pocono Downs at Mohegan Pennsylvania, soaring off second-over cover to a 1:48.3 win — his sixth in seven tries this season.
The three innermost starters — Christchurch, Hungry Angel Boy and Stockade Seelster — threw down as the gates folded, and Christchurch (driven by Yannick Gingras) threaded up the pegs to secure the top spot through a :26.1 quarter. Despite sustained pressure from the parked Stockade Seelster (David Miller), Christchurch maintained the lead to a :53.3 half, and Confederate, whom Tim Tetrick rated fourth off the early skirmish, moved into the prime second-over striking spot.
“I got away fourth and was happy to be there, and they were racing up front. I had to pull at the half to follow Dave’s parked horse — Dave’s horse raced great, kept fighting all the way. My horse did the rest from there; he’s pretty special.”
To say that the Sweet Lou-Geothermal colt did the rest from there was an understatement. After Christchurch hit three-quarters in 1:21, Confederate uncorked a three-wide rally turning for home, and he struck the front in the final sixteenth before widening his lead to three lengths at the winning post while in hand throughout. Stockade Seelster protected second after leveling off; Christchurch was a worn-down third.
“He just likes to win and he’s super fast,” said Tetrick, who has driven the Brett Pelling trainee for Diamond Creek Racing in all of his sophomore starts. “It’s worked out that I’ve been able to race him off cover. He’s sharp, and he loves passing horses. As long as the trip allows me to do that, I think the horse will last a lot longer doing that. Usually, these colts are tired by now or getting tired, and I think he’s getting fresher and stronger. He loves his work.”
Confederate, who paid $2.10 to win, has won 11 of 14 races lifetime and has banked $1,281,629 in purses.
After finishing a traffic-troubled sixth in the Adios and narrowly missing older company in an overnight event last week, Ken Hanover ($2.20) outlasted a bevy of challengers throughout a 1:49 mile to capture the $200,000 first consolation of the Hempt. The Captaintreacherous-KJ’s Justine colt dueled wide of pole sitter Command through the entire first turn before clearing for control just past a :26.2 first quarter but found no breathers upon clearing as Ervin Hanover advanced uncovered to force a :53.1 half.
As Ervin Hanover began to fade with three-eighths to go, Joemikiyoursofine mounted a three-wide push toward Ken Hanover, but the pacesetter did well to hold his ground to three-quarters in 1:20.3 — all while 20-1 long shot Command bided his time in the pocket. Command found room to take his shot in upper stretch, but Ken Hanover — driven out by Tim Tetrick the length of the lane — clung to the lead by a diminishing neck over the game Command. Joemikiyoursofine saved third despite fading through the final turn.
Trainer Roland “Polie” Mallar co-owns Ken Hanover, now a 10-time winner with $353,395 in career earnings, with Patrick Leavitt, William Jordan and Dennis Osterholt.
Ohio invader Act Fast ($4.00) was a decisive front-end winner in the $100,000 second consolation. After driver Yannick Gingras floated Act Fast forward to clear Hungry Man at the end of a :27 first quarter, they traveled uncontested through middle splits of :54.3 and 1:22 before edging 2-3/4 lengths clear of Hungry Man at the end of a 1:49.3 mile. Lyons Surfing collared Lousain Bolt for third up the inside. Ron Burke trains the Downbytheseaside-Act Like A Diva colt, now a seven-time winner, for Burke Racing Stable, Knox Services, Rich Lombardo Racing and Beasty LLC.