A well-managed sophomore campaign has Townslight Hanover heading into the Aquarius Series in peak form this weekend at the Meadowlands Racetrack.
The son of Bettor’s Delight, trained by Aaron Lambert is rated as the 4-1 second choice in the $35,000 first leg of the Aquarius for four-year-old pacers, carded as Saturday’s fifth race. Hall of Famer John Campbell gets the assignment from post two in a field of 12.
Townslight Hanover was a New York Sires Stakes champion as a freshman, winning the final in a Yonkers Raceway track record for geldings of 1:54. Last year, he banked $284,668 and pushed his lifetime earnings to $463,845 for owner Kenneth Tucci of Woodridge, NJ. He lowered his mark to 1:51 at Pocono Downs.
“Townslight was a little below the top three-year-olds last year, but he finished a close second in the Cane Pace,” noted Lambert, 44. “He didn’t get the best trip, yet he picked up a big piece of it. He also finished a good second to Hugadragon in the Monument Circle at Indiana Downs.”
Those efforts prompted Lambert to give Townslight Hanover a shot against top tier horses.
“We could have gotten back into the New York Sires Stakes, but we missed quite a few legs because we wanted to give him a shot at some stakes like the Confederation Cup where he finished fifth. He wasn’t even supposed to race against those horses, so he’s really been a little gift. It’s safe to say we maximized his earnings potential. We just tried to pace him last year when he only made 18 starts. There were no issues. We picked and chose our spots with him, and we kept him fresh.”
Townslight Hanover prepped well for Saturday’s Aquarius with a strong second on January 21.
“I was really pleased with that mile and the way he’s come back,” Lambert said. “Hopefully, we can toughen him up and it looks like he’ll be a contender in this series. He’s better when he comes in fresh. We’re going to try him against the big boys in the Ben Franklin, which is at Pocono Downs this year ($500,000 final is Saturday, June 30).”
Lambert, a former assistant to Australian compatriot Noel Daley, comes off a career best season in 2011 with $846,514 in purses won.
“I have moved along at a steady pace and everything is going pretty well right now,” Lambert said. “I’ve got 19 horses at the moment and I’m stabled at Winner’s International in Chesterfield, NJ. Woodstock Hanover (1:50.3, $315,050) had a minor fracture in a socket behind and had to be turned out for six months. He’s back in the barn and just swimming. Mr Massimo (1:49, $361,161) needed some freshening up and he’s back in training. Mcclelland (1:50.1, $219,561) was a little sick and had a quarter-crack, so he’s off this week while we take care of that.”
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