Wilkes-Barre, PA — The best of the Keystone State-sired 2-year-olds, beginning to establish themselves as among the North American leaders in their crops of 2020, will be at The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono Saturday afternoon (Sept. 5) to contest their respective $253,000 Pennsylvania Sire Stakes finals and $50,000 consolation races, divided by sex and gait.
The fields of nine horses earned their way into their races by accumulating points in four preliminary rounds of the Sire Stakes at the state’s three ovals — Pocono, Harrah’s Philadelphia, and The Meadows.
Here’s a summary of the major contenders in each division:
Two-Year-Old Trotting Colts (race nine; consolation race three)
A coupled entry co-owned by trainer Ake Svanstedt, Captain Corey and Fly Light, have been made the early favorite. Svanstedt has no ownership in a third of his trainees in the race, Johan Palema, so that horse is not part of the coupled entry.
Captain Corey, a Googoo Gaagaa–Luv U All colt, appears to be the stronger half of this duo, as he is undefeated in three lifetime starts, and the youngster has impressed many with his powerful yet effortless way of racing. He’ll start from post three.
His main rival appears to be In Range, the leading point winner, who won three Sire Stakes preliminaries and was second, beaten only a length by Fly Light, in the other. Trainer Marcus Melander has asked Tim Tetrick to drive the Bar Hopping– Ilia colt, who will begin just outside of Captain Corey Saturday.
Those two were the only three-time Sire Stakes prelims winners in this section; indeed, no one else in this division took more than one.
Two-Year-Old Pacing Colts (race 10; consolation race eight)
In a very competitive division, the top winners in the prelims took two events, and they are the morning line favorites.
Southwind Gendry, an Always B Miki–Gambler’s Passion gelding, is the early choice for trainer Ron Burke, with David Miller driving the freshman from post two. Southwind Gendry won his two preliminaries at The Meadows, but in his only other Sires start, at Pocono, he made a break in stride, and will be looking to atone for that miscue.
Second choice, quite possibly because of the difficult post eight, is the Always B Miki–Beach Gal colt Always A Miki, trained by Nancy Takter and to be driven by Dexter Dunn. Always A Miki was the leading point earner in the prelims with two wins, a second, and a third, and he has won over the Pocono oval in both the Sire Stakes and in an All-Stars division.
Another Ron Burke trainee, the Sweet Lou–Lucy’s Pearl colt Lou’s Pearlman, was tabbed as a close third choice, based on his two Sires winners and also victories in the All-Stars and in an Arden Downs division. Matt Kakaley is slated to guide Lou’s Pearlman as they start from post four.
Two-Year-Old Trotting Fillies (race 11; consolation race six)
Ake Svanstedt may be looking for a sweep of the trotting finals when the trainer-driver sends out the Southwind Frank– Aleah Hanover miss Flawless Country from post four. Flawless Country started her career with a pair of seconds in photo decisions, then has won her last three, including a Sire Stake prelim at Pocono in her last start.
Insta Glam (Father Patrick–Hollywood Hill) is the second choice on the morning line from post six, sporting two PaSS wins and the hot team of trainer Nancy Takter and driver Tim Tetrick.
Interestingly, the top point earner in this division, the Donato Hanover–Dream Child filly You Ato Dream, earned that distinction without a prelim win, but after four seconds in the four preliminaries she may pick a propitious time to break her maiden as she starts from post two for trainer/driver Jeff Gregory.
Two-Year-Old Pacing Fillies (race 12; consolation race five)
Grace Hill, a daughter of Always B Miki–Western Silk, was ranked as the early favorite in this event off the strength of winning all three of the PA Sire Stakes events she contested, including a start at Pocono. One liability may be the fact that the Pocono race, on Aug. 10, was the filly’s last start, but trainer Nifty Norman will work hard to have the filly in championship form as she starts from post four for driver Dexter Dunn.
Divisional point leader Marsala Hanover won at Pocono and also was victorious in the last PaSS prelim at The Meadows, giving her a consistent 4-2-1-1 record against this group, and has won her last three races overall. The daughter of Captaintreacherous–Marinade Hanover will begin from post two for trainer Linda Toscano and driver Scott Zeron.
Post time for the Saturday Pocono card is set for 12:30 p.m.
The Pennsylvania championship weekend continues the next afternoon at Harrah’s Philadelphia with the four finals for Sire Stakes 3-year-olds, and concludes on Monday afternoon at The Meadows, with eight Stallion Series finals.