10/26/2013 8:37PM

Yonkers: Sunfire Blue Chip, Lucan Hanover score Messenger elimination wins

Mike Lizzi
Lucan Hanover scored his ninth win in 17 starts this year.

Sunfire Blue Chip went overland for driver Yannick Gingras and surged past pacesetter Lonewolf Currier to score in the first of two $40,000 eliminations for the Messenger Stakes at Yonkers Raceway on Saturday night. The son of American Ideal, sent postward as the 1-2 favorite, held off Ronny Bugatti by a head with Lonewolf Currier finishing third and Good Day Mate earning the final berth.

Ronny Bugatti took the lead quickly as the gate opened but put the breaks on so severely that it jammed up pocket-sitter Lonewolf Currier, forcing his driver Brian Sears to take the lead. With fractions of :28, :56 and 1:23 4/5, Lonewolf Currier couldn’t withstand the assault of Sunfire Blue Chip in the stretch.

“He’s a much sounder horse now than he was earlier in the year,” said Gingras about the winner. Sunfire Blue Chip, trained by Jimmy Takter, paced his mile in 1:52.

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Lucan Hanover, fresh off a second-place finish in the Breeders Crown a week ago, quarter-moved to the front as the 1-5 favorite and coasted to a 1:52 2/5 victory for driver David Miller and trainer Casie Coleman in the second elimination. The son of Western Ideal set fractions of  27 4/5, :57 and 1:25 1/5 and had relatively little trouble holding pocket sitter Word Power at bay with Twilight Bonfire and Odds On Equuleus also advancing to the $450,000 Messenger final on Saturday November 2.

“I was little concerned coming to Yonkers,” said David Miller, the winning driver, “but he handled the track well and was very relaxed.”

Charisma Hanover set a track mark in capturing the first of two $20,000 elimination races for the Lady Maud. Driver Yannick Gingras sat patiently in third during the early part of the race dominated by odds-on favorite Somwherovrarainbow. That filly cut fractions of :27 1/5 and :55 4/5. When Charisma Hanover moved to the outside on the third turn, she sailed right past the favorite and marched off to a 1:51 4/5 mile, finishing well ahead of 27-1 shot Handsofmycupcake. Parlee Beach and 74-1 shot Certified Ideal also qualified for next week’s final.

“The last thing I wanted to do was get caught inside,” said Gingras following the race. “Something must have been wrong with Brian’s (Sears) filly (Somwherovrarainbow).”

Gingras noted that despite the track record his filly finished the mile with her earplugs still in.

In the second Lady Maud division, $15,000 supplement Scandalous Hanover quarter-moved to the lead and pretty much put the field to sleep, scoring in a much slower but as dominant 1:54 3/5 performance.

“That’s really not her thing,” said winning driver David Miller of the front-end trip. “She was in hand.”

Antigua Hanover, Live Entertainment and Jerseylicious completed the qualifiers for the $178,684 final on November 2.