Washington, PA – When Dune Hill won her $40,000 Pennsylvania Stallion Series championship Monday (Sept. 7) at The Meadows, it was historic on several counts. Not only did it complete the 3-year-old filly trotter’s sweep of the four preliminary legs and the final, but it also gave trainer Ron Burke career win 11,000.
The Meadows hosted all eight $40,000 stallion series finals Monday, and there was action aplenty, as four championship records fell. But Dune Hill and Burke clearly took center stage.
Dune Hill got away fifth for Matt Kakaley and moved with cover before attacking the leader, Alittlebitofsugar. Kakaley said he had no doubt the daughter of Muscle Hill-Quite Possible would get by.
“She felt really good in the last turn; I wasn’t too worried,” Kakaley said. “As long as you keep her out of trouble and she has her manners right, she’s better than these.”
She downed Aittlebitofsugar by 2-3/4 lengths in 1:54.4, lowering the previous stake mark of 1:55.1 set by Dressed To Impress in 2017. The first-over Hannah earned show. Dune Hill now has banked $151,886 for owner Joseph DiScala, Jr.
Burke, harness racing’s perennial leading trainer, just keeps rolling. Since 2009, he’s won at least 762 races every year; during that period, his UTR hasn’t been below .321 in any season. Overall, Burke trainees have earned just shy of $244 million.
Jim Pantaleano and Tim Tetrick each collected a pair of titles. Highlights of the other championships:
2-Year-Old Filly Trot — Love Muffin
When he learned that Love Muffin had drawn post eight, trainer David Wiest indicated he wasn’t concerned.
“I know she’ll leave and get a good spot,” he said. “I wasn’t worried at all.”
Love Muffin justified Wiest’s confidence, zipping to the point for Pantaleano and scoring in 1:55.4, which shattered Day Lily’s previous record of 1:57.2 set in 2014. The first-over Rebel Girl raced well for second, beaten 1-1/2 lengths, with Trend third.
Wiest said owners Edward Kimmel and Don Wiest have consigned the daughter of Andover Hall-Pine Yankee to the Harrisburg sale; she’ll contest several Pennsylvan1a stakes before then.
2-Year-Old Filly Pace — Odds On Whitney
She was forced six wide in the lane, but the full sister to World Champion Papi Rob Hanover showed her determination, overcoming Darby Hanover by a head to prevail in 1:52.2, Skyy completed the ticket. It was the second consecutive stallion series record for Odds On Whitney; this one eliminated the old mark of 1:53.3 set by Sidewalk Dancer in 2017.
“I put a lot of trust in her,” said winning driver Tetrick. “We got away in a bad spot, but she overcame it. It’s hard to come that wide through the turn. She has a lot of power and pedigree, so who knows what she can be next year.”
Tony Alagna conditions the daughter of Somebeachsomewhere-Panera Hanover for Odds On Racing.
3-Year-Old Colt & Gelding Trot — Overserved
The son of Explosive Matter-Afterimage moved first over for Tetrick to win his fourth straight for owners William Donovan, Stephen Michaels, Joe Sbrocco and Jim Winske, setting a stake record 1:54.2 in the process. Frost Free Hanover established the previous record of 1:55.2 in 2014. Early leader Town Victor was second, 1-3/4 lengths back, while Stickler Hanover earned show.
“The biggest thing about him — he’s matured,” said winning trainer George Ducharme. “Like last week when he went on the lead, he would never have done that a year ago, or even earlier this spring.”
3-Year-Old Filly Pace — Going Gone Hanover
Yankeeland Partners’ daughter of Captaintreacherous-Go On BB was the day’s most decisive winner, drawing off late for Andrew McCarthy to beat Wayside by 5-3/4 lengths in 1:51.3. Keystone Eureka completed the ticket.
“It looked like a pretty good spot for this mare — she’s been good all year,” McCarthy said. “I think she was a little sick her last start, but she got the job done.”
Winning trainer Brett Bittle said his filly is eligible to several of the rich stakes at the Red Mile.
2-Year-Old Colt & Gelding Pace — Somewhereinverona
Somewhereinverona shot the Lightning Lane to triumph in 1:53.1 for Aaron Merriman and trainer Blake MacIntosh, who owns with Petitpas Stables, Ozzie Mackay, and Gilles Landry.
“I didn’t really have a choice but the Lightning Lane after getting away third,” Merriman said. “The horse really responded when he saw air, so it was really easy.”
Captain Fancy was second, beaten 1-1/2 lengths, with Rifleman third.
3-Year-Old Colt & Gelding Pace — Seriously Hanover
Seriously Hanover went wide through the lane to collect a hard-fought win for Andy Miller in 1:51.3, 1/2 length ahead of Ruthless Hanover. Mankat earned show.
“It’s hard to make up ground when you’re that wide, but thankfully, he stuck his nose up,” said Ron Coyne, who trains the son of Western Ideal-Stolly Up Bluechip for Michael Cimaglio, Stephen Demeter and Stephen Giagni. “He’ll go to Lexington, where he’ll have a couple options. We’ll see what makes the most sense.”
2-Year-Old Colt & Gelding Trot — Lepanto
Lepanto made it look easy for the second straight week, notching a front-end win in 1:56 for Pantaleano. Sunny Crockett and Lindys Goin Crazy completed the ticket.
“He was a pleasure to drive; he did everything right, especially for a baby,” Pantaleano said. “He’s probably a notch below the Grand Circuit horses. I think he’ll make most of his money because of his quick speed, and you can put him in good spots.”
Ake Svanstedt conditions the son of Bar Hopping-Woman of Character for Esa Lahtinen, Jussi Hietalahti and Arvo Risto.