by Evan Pattak
Victimized by brutal trips in his last two starts, Dorsoduro Hanover finally got the journey he needed and pounced on the opportunity to win Saturday’s $400,000 final of the Delvin Miller Adios Pace for the Orchids in 1:50.1 at The Meadows.
American History, who won an elimination of the 52nd edition of the Adios, raced well first over to finish second, 1-1/4 lengths back, while Hitman Hill, the other elimination winner, could not improve position in the Lightning Lane and settled for show.
Dorsoduro Hanover gave The Meadows-based trainer Ron Burke, perennially the sport’s leading conditioner, his first blanket of Adios orchids as the head of his stable, although he was assistant for his father, Mickey, when their horse, May June Character, won the 2007 Adios.
A Somebeachsomewhere-Deer Valley Miss gelding who cost $100,000 as a yearling, Dorsoduro Hanover was roughed up from post 10 in the Meadowlands Pace final and again in is Adios elimination but still managed to finish second each time. It seemed likely that he was only a good trip away from a signature victory . . . and Matt Kakaley provided it for him giving him a 28.3 second-panel refresher after a 26.3 opening-quarter burst to the lead.
“We got a big breather there in the second quarter,” Kakaley said. “I knew he would be tough off that . . . if he didn’t win with that trip, something was wrong. I’m happy for the horse. He’s showing everybody that he’s a top colt.”
American History took up the chase before the half and pursued the winner gamely but was all out late to preserve his place finish.
“He raced phenomenal. I couldn’t be more happy with how he raced,” said his trainer, Tony Alagna. “We knew Matt had the fractions his way, but even around the last turn, we had a shot to win the whole thing. He hung tough to be second.”
Once Dorsoduro Hanover crossed the wire, a jubilant Burke and members of his staff sprinted from the paddock to the winners’ circle, eschewing the golf cart that customarily provides transport. Burke, however, indicated the wins in 2007 and 2018 were equally important to him.
“We have a big crew, and to me, that’s what it’s about: doing it together,” Burke said. “We probably spent about $10 million chasing this, and we finally got one. It’s a great feeling to enjoy it with our staff and our core group.”
In that core group are the owners of Dorsoduro Hanover, who now has earned $575,803 for them: Burke Racing Stable; Silva, Purnell & Libby; Weaver Bruscemi LLC, and Wingfield Five.
Burke said Dorsoduro Hanover will be pointed to the Carl Milstein at Northfield.
ADIOS NOTES: Burke entered 26 horses on the 16-race Adios Day card, not a record for him but still a heckuva lot better than average. Burke ended the day with seven wins — also a heckuva lot better than average — including four by Kakaley, two by Yannick Gingras and one by Dave Palone. . . For the second straight year, James Witherite – who also works as a race analyst, race charter, copy editor and jazz organist – found time to entertain the crowd as Adios Day bugler.