By Darin Gagne, for Running Aces
Running Aces is honoring the memory of two prominent pacers that raced at the Minnesota Harness Racing oval, with the naming of two late closing events which will both get underway next week.
Linkjack Hanover was a son of Allamerican Native and out of the Western Hanover mare Labor of Love. He learned his early lessons from owner/trainer Jeff Ryan and the pacer spent the first four years of his career primarily at Running Aces as well as the local fairs. At age two he impressively won 6 of 9 outings, and then at age three he advanced quickly through the condition racing ranks and proceeded to take on, and even beat, much older horses in the top Open levels.
He continued to compete and win at the top level at Running Aces through 2017 for Ryan, and also for his cousin Justin Anfinson before being sold and venturing to Canada, Ohio, New York and other east coast tracks with many different connections.
Linkjack Hanover won a total of 34 races in his career and bankrolled $193,661 while taking a 5 year old mark of 1:52.2 at Running Aces. He later lowered his career best to 1:52.1 at Northfield Park.
The Linkjack Hanover series gets underway on Tuesday (May 24), and drew 13 nominations. The series is a Starter Allowance/Optional Claiming event.
The Linkjack Hanover runs for three consecutive Tuesdays, with the first two rounds offering a purse of $8,000 for each division. The top 9 horses will contest the $17,000 final on June 7.
Burning Blaze was a Minnesota-sired pacer by Wind Me Up and out of the Jet Laag mare Cowgirls N Indians.
He literally blazed onto the scene as a two-year-old at Running Aces in 2018 and won 7 of 9 races that year and took a freshman mark of 1:54.1. He was so impressive that he was named the Minnesota Harness of the Year that season.
Burning Blaze was owned by Alan & Chery Sandbulte and Edward Gutin, and was trained by Justin Anfinson. He went on to win 5 races and lower his mark to 1:53.2 during his sophomore campaign in 2019, and he bankrolled $139,703 in his career.
Burning Blaze was a fan favorite during his campaign at Running Aces, both for his racing talent and his striking looks and distinctive and large white blaze. The late, great Steve Wiseman became a regular driver for Burning Blaze and said that he was one of his favorite horses to have ever driven.
The Burning Blaze pacing series kicks off on Thursday (May 26) and will run for three consecutive Thursdays. The series, which drew 15 nominations, is for non-winners of $12,500 lifetime as of April 15, 2022 with allowances for Minnesota-Sired horses and fillies and mares.
The first two rounds will offer a purse of $7,000 in each division and the top nine horses will return for the $15,000 Final on June 9.
Running Aces offers live racing action every Tuesday, Thursday and Sunday with first post at 7:00 pm (CDT).