06/09/2013 9:05PM

Vernon: Jurgen Hanover stands a perfect 7-for-7 after Empire Breeders Classic win


Despite some anxious moments, Jurgen Hanover kept his winning streak alive by capturing the $259,900 Empire Breeders Classic for 3-year-old colt trotters at Vernon Downs on Sunday night.

Modest Prince, Tirade Hanover and Blackwolf Run all took turns on the early lead through fractions of 26 2/5 and 56 1/5. When the dust settled, it was a two-moved Modest Prince at 8-1 controlling the action. He scooted away from the field around the far turn as Fico, who tucked early and was left uncovered, set a pick on the rim keeping the outer flow and the covered up Jurgen Hanover from advancing quickly.

By three quarters in 1:24 4/5, Modest Prince appeared home free. Driver Jeff Gregory could likely taste the victory as he led by at least four lengths in the stretch, but Jurgen Hanover was in the midst of a furious stretch rally, mounting a 28 3/5 final quarter to nail Modest Prince in plenty of time.

The 1:53 4/5 final clocking set a career best for Jurgen Hanover and also marked the fastest mile of the season at the upstate New York oval.

“He was pretty strong all the way through the stretch,” said driver David Miller, who admitted he was concerned about Modest Prince’s large lead.

Jurgen Hanover, trained by Donna Marshall for owners Norman and Gerald Smiley and T L P Stable, is now perfect in seven starts this year. The son of Credit Winner almost doubled his career earnings with the victory and now has banked $188,813 in his career.

Filly trotters of the same age where on display in the $237,600 Empire Breeders Classic earlier on the card. Lola De Vie split foes in the stretch and got her nose up at the wire in 1:55 3/5.

Perfect Alliance put up fractions of 27 4/5, 57 1/5, 1:26 3/5 while accompanied by a constant shadow in the parked out Royal Malinda. Wygant Lady sat the pocket ahead of Lola De Vie and Fifty Shades was nicely set up second-over.

In the stretch, Perfect Alliance began to weaken as Wygant Lady took aim up the pylons and Lola De Vie squeezed out. And on the far outside came a charge from Proclaiming April. The photo was tight, but Lola De Vie proved best over Wygant Lady, who was placed last for racing inside of multiple pylons in the stretch. Proclaiming April was moved up to second.

“I knew I got up in time,” said winning driver Jim Morrill, Jr. “I was lucky enough to find enough room at the end.”

Lola De Vie’s victory was her third of the year for owner Joie De Vie Farm LLC and trainer Chris Ryder.