11/14/2015 11:37PM

Meadowlands: Chuck Sylvester doubles up in Valley Victory elims

Lisa Photo
Dog Gone Lucky has now won four straight races.

They turned the clocks back two weeks ago but Hall of Fame trainer Chuck Sylvester turned back the hands of time for his fabulous career on Saturday night at the Meadowlands. He sent out both winners of the two Valley Victory eliminations for 2-year-old trotting colts and geldings on a night that also featured eliminations for the Governor’s Cup for freshman pacing colts.

First for Sylvester was 24-1 longshot Waitlifter K going wire-to-wire for driver Tim Tetrick and then 4-5 choice Dog Gone Lucky completing the double in the second $20,000 division.

Tetrick ignored the odds board and the recent past performances behind Waitlifter K. The son of the Sylvester-trained Muscles Yankee jetted to the front and never looked back. The fractions were 28 2/5, 57 2/5 and 1:25 2/5 with the colt well in front. In the late stages, second choice Milligan’s School and favorite Marion Marauder narrowed the margin, but neither was able to corral the winner.

Marred in recent starts by a penchant to pace rather than trot, Tetrick knew what he had to do. "I got his mind on business early," said Tetrick, who revealed that an earplug getting loose at the half was part of the reason for the 28-second third quarter.

Mavens Way and Mikkeli Hanover will join the top three in next Saturday's final.

Robert Key owns and bred Waitlifter K.

Dog Gone Lucky, a winner of consecutive stakes races heading into the Valley Victory, carved out a nice close-up journey as longshot Southern Cross and Ake Svanstedt cut fractions of 28 2/5 and 57 1/5 for the opening half. When pocket-sitter Lagerfeld pulled into the final turn, driver Corey Callahan guided Dog Gone Lucky to follow his cover. The soft third quarter of 29 4/5 was all the breather the colt needed and he responded with a 28 2/5 final quarter, completing the mile in 1:55 2/5.

Longshot Make Or Miss rallied strongly late for the place spot, with Lagerfeld, Taco Tuesday and Treasure Keys K completing the list of finalists.

Callahan has been behind Dog Gone Lucky for his last three victories. "I hope I can go four-for-four," said Callahan, referring to next week's final.

Dog Gone Lucky is owned by Amy Lynn Stoltzfus and Charles Stansley.

Big Top Hanover and Yannick Gingras held off favored Boston Red Rocks by the slimmest margin to capture the first of two $20,000 Governor’s Cup eliminations. The Western Ideal-sired colt had the lead in the 28-second opening quarter, but allowed Spider Man Hanover the front and that colt blazed fractions of 55 and 1:22 2/5 to the three quarters. Gingras engaged the leader and eventually was able to wear him down in the stretch. Breeders Crown winner Boston Red Rocks came charging late but fell a nose short.

Spider Man Hanover, Pretty Boy Hill and Show The Fashion all advance to the final with the top pair.

"He's a big, strong horse. I liked him when I sat behind him in the summer and he's proven me right so far," said Gingras, who drove for trainer Ron Burke and owners JT 45 (Jerry and Theresa Silva) and Burke Racing Stable.

In the second Governor’s Cup elimination, Katies Rocker jetted to the front and rated honest fractions to score in 1:52 1/5 for driver Dave Miller. The altered son of Rocknroll Hanover, sent off as a 4-1 second choice in the field, cut fractions of 27 2/5, 56 3/5 and 1:24 2/5, completing the mile in 1:52 1/5 while holding off the pocket-sitting J K Will Power narrowly. Ideal Rocky, the race favorite, came up without cover on the final turn but couldn't get to the winner and settled for third. Autotune Hanover and Check Six rounded out the qualifiers for the final.

It sixth win of the season for the Fashion Farms homebred in a dozen starts. Jim Campbell trains Katies Rocker.

"He dug in when he had to," said Campbell. "He's a real nice colt we just kind of brought him along slow."