Hightstown, NJ — There was a time last year when it looked as though Stonebridge Soul would not make it to the races until, perhaps, late in the season. But the then 2-year-old filly pacer turned the corner in late spring and by the end of her campaign was a Grand Circuit stakes winner.
“A very pleasant surprise,” co-owner Bob Mondillo said about Stonebridge Soul, who competes in Saturday’s (June 29) $300,000 James M. Lynch Memorial for 3-year-old female pacers at The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono. “We’re thrilled with what has happened and where she is in her career.
“She’s been racing very well. We’re going up against the best in the sport. We just hope we hold our own.”
So far, that has not been a problem.
Stonebridge Soul won three of eight races in 2018, including a division of the Bluegrass Stakes, and finished second three times in divisions of Pennsylvania state-bred stakes. This year, she has won two of seven starts and hit the board a total of six times. Her only finish outside the top three came in the Fan Hanover Stakes, where she started from post nine and charged home in the stretch to end up fourth, beaten only three-quarters of a length.
The horses to finish ahead of Stonebridge Soul this year can be counted on one hand: Warrawee Ubeaut, Tall Drink Hanover, Treacherous Reign, and Powerful Chris. Warrawee Ubeaut is a returning Dan Patch Award winner (and morning-line favorite in the Lynch at 5-2) while Tall Drink Hanover is a returning O’Brien Award winner. Treacherous Reign won the Fan Hanover and Powerful Chris was a stakes winner in Ontario last season.
Stonebridge Soul will start the Lynch from post four with Tim Tetrick driving for trainer Chris Ryder. Last weekend, Stonebridge Soul finished second to the Ron Burke-trained Warrawee Ubeaut in their Lynch elimination. Treacherous Reign was third.
Other elimination winners were Odds On St Lucie and Tall Drink Hanover, both from the stable of trainer Tony Alagna (as is Treacherous Reign).
“We’re just proud to be in the same company, in the same race with them,” Mondillo said. “When you’re going against those horses, I wouldn’t discount anybody in that race, you have to bring your ‘A’ game. I trust that Chris will have her ready and I trust that Timmy will have her in position to compete. The rest is up to her.”
Stonebridge Soul is a daughter of Somebeachsomewhere out of the millionaire mare Rock N Soul. She was purchased for $110,000 at the 2017 Lexington Selected Sale and is owned by Mondillo, an investment adviser from Ohio, and Craig Henderson-led Henderson Farms in Illinois.
The filly lagged behind her 2-year-old stablemates while training down last year, prompting discussion about delaying her debut until at least later in the season.
“I won’t say I pleaded with Chris, but it was close, to keep her for another two weeks; just give her those two weeks and see what happens,” Mondillo said. “I was saying the words, but I wasn’t really believing things would happen in two weeks. Lo and behold, it did. She just seemed to figure it out.”
Stonebridge Soul qualified twice in June, won her debut in July, and went on to earn $116,790 for the year.
Now she will try to pick up her first six-figure win in the Lynch.
“She never quits,” Mondillo said. “She doesn’t know the meaning of quit. Even at the end sometimes when she seems almost trapped, she finds a way to get out and make up ground.
“We’re excited and looking forward to Saturday night. It should be a fun race, a very competitive race. I’ll just keep my fingers crossed and let it unfold. I just think so much of this horse that I think anything could happen with her.”
After all, it already has.
Following is the field for the $300,000 Lynch Memorial. The race is named in honor of James M. Lynch, who served in positions from steward to racing secretary to director of racing to general manager during a career that took him to tracks around the country. He was the director of racing at Pennsylvania’s Liberty Bell for all 23 years of its existence. He also was a horse owner and director of the U.S. Trotting Association. He passed away in 2000.
1-Warrawee Ubeaut-Yannick Gingras-Ron Burke-5/2
2-Zero Tolerance-David Miller-Joe Holloway-4/1
3-Blue Ivy-Tyler Buter-Chris Oakes-15/1
4-Stonebridge Soul-Tim Tetrick-Chris Ryder-10/1
5-Treacherous Reign-Dexter Dunn-Tony Alagna-3/1
6-Odds On St Lucie-Corey Callahan-Tony Alagna-20/1
7-St Somewhere-Matt Kakaley-Ron Burke-5/1
8-Philly Hanover-Brian Sears-Ron Coyne Jr.-6/1
9-Tall Drink Hanover-Andy McCarthy-Tony Alagna-12/1
Saturday’s card at Pocono also features the $500,000 Ben Franklin Pace for older male pacers, $500,000 Max C. Hempt Memorial for 3-year-old male pacers, and $500,000 Earl Beal Jr. Memorial for 3-year-old trotters. Racing begins at 7 p.m. (EDT). For complete entries, click here.