Washington, PA – First-time starter Captain Groovy quarter-poled to the front and was unstoppable from there, pacing to victory in a stake-record 1:52 in Wednesday’s (July 3) $60,000 Pennsylvania Stallion Series event at The Meadows. The stake for freshman colts and geldings was contested over three divisions, with Ill Play It Alone and Lyons Music taking the other splits.
Winning trainer Ray Schnittker said Captain Groovy, a son of Captaintreacherous-Lets Groove Tonite that Schnittker owns with Ted Gewertz, Howard Taylor and Mary Kinsey Arnold, saw his development arrested by problems typical of young horses.
“He’s been a little bit slow coming, but once he figured it out, he’s a real nice horse,” Schnittker said of his $90,000 yearling acquisition. “We had to take a chip out of his front ankle, but after that, he’s had nothing wrong. He’s eligible for everything late in the year, so I thought this was a better way to start him off.”
It appears his problems are behind him, as he drew off late to defeat Diamond Head by four lengths for Mark MacDonald, with Paddy All Day third. Captain Groovy matched the stake record established by Jack Attack in 2013 and turned in the fastest mile this year by a 2-year-old colt pacer on a five-eighths-mile track.
After Ill Play It Alone broke stride in his pari-mutuel debut, his driver, Anthony MacDonald, led him through some unusual schooling.
“He’s a timid colt, and he’s terrified of pylons,” Anthony MacDonald said. “So we removed the shadow role and took him to Woodbine Mohawk, where we walked him over the pylons and jogged him over the shadows for a week. He got a little ‘rolly’ in the last turn today — he got to looking at something — but he was good.”
The lesson paid off, as the Somebeachsomewhere-Its No Secret gelding held off Deal The Cards by a nose to score in 1:54.4. Boogy Woogy J rallied for show. Tim Twaddle trained the winner for Thestable Illplayit Alone.
Lyons Music released Brush Up at the quarter, then sprinted away in the lane to win by 1-3/4 lengths in 1:54.3 for Dave Palone. Tru Lou completed the ticket.
“We thought if I could maybe get the best one back around me and follow the favorite, it might would work out,” Palone said. “That’s exactly what happened. I couldn’t have written it up any better. He’s a big colt, and I think he’ll learn.”
Gareth Dowse trains Lyons Music, a son of A Rocknroll Dance-McGibson, for Geoffrey Lyons Mound.
Brian Zendt and Palone each collected a pair of victories on the 13-race program.
Live racing at The Meadows resumes Saturday (July 6), when the card features a $183,242 PA Sires Stake for freshman colt and gelding pacers as well as a pair of carryovers — $1,793.10 in the Pick-5 (races 2-6), $853.24 in the final-race Super Hi-5. First post is 1:05 p.m.