10/18/2014 11:03PM

Yonkers: Nuncio a convincing Trot elimination winner


Horseplayers couldn’t bet on him, but Nuncio and driver John Campbell didn’t mind cruising to victory in the first of two $40,000 eliminations for the $500,000 Yonkers Trot (Oct. 25). The Kentucky Futurity winner took the first step towards capturing two-thirds of the trotting Triple Crown going virtually wire-to-wire in 1:56 2/5. Jimmy Takter trains Nuncio, a son of Andover Hall that won for the ninth time in 14 starts in 2014.

Nuncio was forced to be barred from wagering after it was discovered that trainer Jimmy Takter’s wife Christine was an owner of another horse in the race (Amped Up Hanover). That made Don Dorado the winner for wagering purposes only, as Tim Tetrick guided the gelding off cover wide on the final turn to finish a clear second. Journey and Expressive Action rounded out the qualifiers for next week’s final.

“I was pretty confident he could get around the track,” said Campbell after the victory. “I didn’t want to rush him through the turn and I figured he would get to the front eventually.”

Nuncio, owned by Stall Tz Inc pushed his lifetime bankroll above $1.5 million with the win.

Gural Hanover inherited the lead twice during the second Yonkers Trot elimination and then cruised to victory in 1:56 3/5 for trainer Ron Burke and driver Jim Morrill Jr. The New York Sire Stakes champion, a supplemental entry, left from his pole position but allowed stablemate Hillustrious to take control on the opening turn. When that rival broke, Morrill was willing to allow Flyhawk El Durado to pass through a :28 4/5 opening quarter. Off the second turn, Flyhawk El Durado broke and from that point Gural Hanover set rated fractions of :58 1/5 and 1:27 2/5 while trotting home well in hand in :29 1/5.

Gural Hanover won for the 10th time in 14 starts this year and leads Resolve, King City and Datsyuk into the final. Sent off as the prohibitive favorite, Gural Hanover paid $2.30 for the victory. Burke Racing, Weaver Bruscemi, Little E and Panhellenic Stables share ownership of Gural Hanover.

Luck Be Withyou scored a 10-1 upset in the $40,000 Messenger Stakes elimination for three-year-olds. The Western Ideal-sired colt sat chilly behind the favored All Bets Off then cruised by for driver Tim Tetrick in a 1:53 mile. Forty Five Red came up the passing lane for the place spot with second choice McWicked flying on the far outside for third. Only Double Your Bet will not return for next Saturday’s final.

“I was perfectly content to sit,” said Tetrick about his strategy. “When I pulled him he just went right by. He was very good.”

George Brennan swept a pair of $20,000 eliminations for the Lady Maud for three-year-old pacing fillies. He made two moves to victory with Fancy Desire in 1:54 holding off Scandalicious in the stretch.

Brennan came right back with an even more impressive performance by Act Now. The Western Ideal-sired filly made a blistering last-to-first move on the second turn and coasted to a 1:53 1/5 victory as the 7-5 betting choice.

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