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Thursday, September 17, 2015

Trump Hanover, Ponder, and Drivers 11 Through 20

Trump Hanover was a son of the Volomite stallion His Excellency and the Spencer Scott mare, Tulip Hanover. He was from the same crop as Scott Frost and Galophone. Trump was no sweetheart and had a tendency to bully the other colts after being weaned from his mama at Hanover. And while he never lived up to his overblown sense of self, Trump did earn a very respectable $43,945 on the circuit.

He won the American National at three, a race won in other years by Noble Victory, Diller Hanover, Speedy Count and Carlisle. And Hall of Famer Harry Pownall, who developed Stars Pride and Titan Hanover, time trialed the high stepping Trump in 2:00 as a four year old at Vernon Downs in July of 1956.

Trump took great pride in the fact that his sister Trisha was the granddam of fine Speedy Crown trotter Torway, who split the Hanover Colt Stakes pot with Kentucky Futurity winner Flak Bait at two, and also took a heat of the Hambletonian.


Ponder, who began his stallion career in Pennsylvania back in 2007, sells the first modest sized crop from his reboot in that state in 2015. Unfortunately his big guns are falling apart when he needs them to shine. Bolt The Duer was retired after injuring himself in May. Cup Winner Thinking Out Loud is winless in ten starts with $20,000 in 2015 earnings. He’ll try NW7500 again at Mohawk on Saturday, after finishing 8th last time. And Go Daddy Go, who was expected to contend on the top tier of the Grand Circuit and dominate the OSS, has proven to be a bust. He has one win in ten starts.

Speedball Bandolito is still chuggin along down in Delaware; He’s won nine times and has a respectable bankroll of $136,000. But fourteen-year-old Ponder isn’t getting much pub from him. Help!


Recently we looked at the stats for the top ten drivers on the earnings list and compared them to their stats from a calendar year ago. Today I’ll check out drivers eleven through twenty. Again, I’m comparing what they’ve done through this past Saturday, September 12, with what they did through September 12 of 2014.

Number eleven is dash leader Aaron Merriman. The peripatetic Merriman puts even Corey Callahan to shame: he already had 2914 drives through Saturday. But he’s slowing down, because that’s 309 short of his total through the same date in 2014. Despite fewer drives, his win total is up by 41. No wonder Wrenn can’t catch him. His bankroll is more than $722,000 fatter this year, while his UDRS has jumped from 0.310 to 0.333.

Jim Morrill Jr is at number 12, with many fewer drives than those ahead of him. His UDRS is second only to GNap in the top fifty. With forty wins in the NYSS, Morrill is more than a million up on the rest in that program—three times as much money as any other driver. In the overall scheme of things, he has driven in 165 more races than he had at this point last year, and he has three fewer wins. His money is up $1.3 million. New York—New York. His UDRS is down to an excellent 0.384 from a head turning 0.405.

Scott Zeron, number 13, has made 104 more starts this year and has 18 more wins. And has banked more than $710,000 more than he had last September. His UDRS is about the same at 0.247. Scott finished 2014 in 14th place.

Matt Kakaley is number 14, down from number 7 last September and number 8 at the close of 2014. He’s down 188 starts and 76 wins and his earnings are off more than a million dollars. His trainer of choice, Ron Burke, is still on top by a mile, but he’s well short of his record setting pace of 2014. Matt’s UDRS has fallen from 0.267 to 0.218.

Dave Palone, who was number 11 last September and finished up at number 13, is 15th. Dave has 375 fewer drives, 94 fewer wins and is more than $890,000 short of his total last September. His UDRS is at 0.370, down from 0.379.

Andy Miller, who missed several months in 2014 after a serious accident at Yonkers, occupies the 16 slot. He has 164 wins and has earned more than $3.8 million.

Tyler Buter, who finished 2014 at 41 and was number 42 a year ago this week, is way up at 17. He’s driven in 399 more races and has 81 more wins. He’s ahead of last September’s earnings by more than $1.8 million. Tyler’s UDRS is at 0.242, up from 0.213. The Yonkers Raceway factor plays a role here, but he’s having a breakout year nonetheless. The 29-year-old is the fifth leading driver at Yonkers.

Sylvain Filion, the only WEG based driver in the top 25, is number 18. He was at 17 this time last year and finished the year at 17. He has made 89 more starts this year and reached the winner’s circle 96 more times. His bank account is $441,000 larger. He’s clearly on his way to being a three time O’Brien winner.

Ronnie Wrenn Jr, who took the dash title the past two years, is number 19. He’s making solid strides in raising his earnings, as last year at this time he was back at 28. Through Saturday Wrenn had 36 fewer drives and 17 more wins. His earnings have increased by $985,000, thanks in no small part to the increased slots revenue and reinvigorated sire stakes program in Ohio.

And number 20 is Eric Carlson, the sixth leading driver at Yonkers. Carlson was 15th last September and finished 2014 in that slot. He has driven in 231 fewer races this year and has 48 fewer wins. He’s banked $119,000 less to this point in the season. Eric’s UDRS has dropped from 0.221 to 0.211.

Joe FitzGerald

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