05/13/2017 11:26PM

Flamboro: Dr J Hanover looks to get on track in the Confederation Cup

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Nikki Sherman
Dr J Hanover has done his best work on half-mile tracks.

It’s been a slow start to the season for Dr J Hanover, but the 4-year-old gelding hopes to find the winner’s circle for the first time in one of two $20,000 eliminations for the Confederation Cup at Flamboro Downs on Sunday.

The “Cup” is an exclusive for 4-year-olds that drew a dozen entries on Wednesday forcing the eliminations and two fields. Dr J Hanover landed post one in the first of the two divisions and is set to go postward with Scott Zeron in the bike.

Trainer Tony Alagna energized this well-bred son of Somebeachsomewhere as a sophomore on the half-mile track at Yonkers and now hopes the small track at Flamboro will be welcome.

“He really developed into a racehorse last year at Yonkers,” Alagna said. “He’s great leaving the gate.”

Last year Dr J Hanover won seven of his 15 starts. He finished third behind Betting Line in the Little Brown Jug and third behind Racing Hill in the Messenger Stakes at Yonkers, solidifying his trainer’s belief in his small track prowess.

“I think without Betting Line, without Racing Hill, without Control The Moment he can go with any of these,” said Alagna.

The test on Sunday will be a formidable one, with Dr J Hanover’s early speed obviously an edge from the pole position. In his division (race 5), Graduate winner Check Six is likely the horse to beat with Yannick Gingras in the bike. Check Six starts from post five fresh off of his 1:49 3/5 mile at The Meadowlands last Saturday night. The Ron Burke-trained horse earned more than seven figures during his 3-year-old campaign with 11 victories to his credit in 2016.

Western Fame (post 6) came out strongly this season for trainer Jimmy Takter. The son of Western Ideal beat Check Six in a 1:51 mile prepping for the Graduate then was distant second behind Sintra in his Graduate division at The Meadowlands. Mark Macdonald returns to his homeland for the drive behind Western Fame from post six.

Dr J Hanover has gone winless in seven tries this year but Alagna believes the last couple of weeks have been better efforts. “He had a couple of tough draws in the Levy Series,” Alagna said. “His last start at Yonkers (April 29) he got shuffled a bit and finished well. Last week on the mile track he got stretched out a little and I think he needed that. I trained him this morning (Wednesday) and he was very good.”

While Dr J Hanover is looking to end his losing streak, Sintra is looking to continue his winning form in the second $20,000 elimination for the Confederation Cup. The altered son of Mach Three followed up a sparkling seasonal debut at Mohawk on April 29 with an even more impressive career best 1:49 1/5 victory at The Meadowlands last Saturday. Using the Graduate as an occasion to show off his impressive credentials, Sintra paced a sub 53-second final half winning by six lengths.

Sintra landed post six with Jody Jamieson returning to the bike for trainer Dave Menary. The Ontario-bred did a lot of chasing Betting Line as a sophomore without catching him, but with last year’s sophomore champ off to a new career as a stallion in 2017, Sintra appears a genuine star in the making. Negotiating the half-mile track is unlikely to stifle Sintra, who last year captured an Ontario Sire Stakes Gold event over the 4-turn Western Fair oval in 1:52 4/5.

Sintra figures to be an overwhelming choice in his division (race 8) but trainer Ron Burke’s Roll Away Joe may put up at least some resistance. The trainer suggested a week ago that his 4-year-old was “legit” after a 1:50 2/5 victory at The Meadowlands. The son of Roll With Joe fell short to Sintra in the Graduate but could rebound from post two on Sunday. Yannick Gingras again drives Roll Away Joe.

Seeley Man, a dominant force in Maine over the last two years winning all of his 24 starts, makes his Ontario debut in the Confederation Cup trials. Though his winning streak was snapped in his Pennsylvania debut at Pocono on April 29, the career half-mile track performer set some blistering fractions in a two-move effort getting caught late in a 1:50 3/5 mile.

Seeley Man landed post four.

Flamboro Downs offers a 10-race program on Sunday first post 6:00 p.m.