Palone sweeps four Grand Circuit splits; Dancinginthedark M debuts with stake record

Washington, PA — Dave Palone, harness racing’s all-time “winningest” driver, had a Palone-like day Wednesday (July 29) at The Meadows, collecting seven wins that included a sweep of four Arden Downs Grand Circuit stakes splits. He shared the spotlight with Dancinginthedark M, who turned in a breathtaking career debut in setting a stake record. Here are the highlights:

$37,644 Edward M. Ryan — 2-Year-Old Colt & Gelding Trotters

Few freshman trotters have debuted as impressively as Dancinginthedark M. He was sitting fifth at the half when Palone cut him loose. The son of Readly Express-Leila responded by gobbling up the field and scoring in 1:55.3, shattering the previous stake mark of 1:56.2 held jointly by Federalreservenote and Billy Flynn.

“There’s a lot of quality there,” Palone said. “He’s had some learning hiccups. But he was able to sit almost two turns, and when I moved him, he was all business. As soon as he cleared, he was on shutdown.”

Dancinginthedark M wins for Dave Palone and Marcus Melander. Chris Gooden Photo.

To Be Frank was a distant second, beaten 11 lengths, with Clancy’s Bar third. Marcus Melander conditions the winner for Menhammar Stuteri AB.

In the other Ed Ryan split, Make Sure Its Cold moved first over from third and prevailed in 1:59, 3/4 lengths better than Killer Instinct. Flemsteen completed the ticket.

“When we saw him as a yearling, he reminded us of a horse from our past named Dark Magic,” said winning trainer Leslie Zendt, who owns the Bar Hopping-Malibu Breeze gelding with Bill Zendt. “He’s a little green behind the gate, and he’s a little scared of things, but he likes being a racehorse. That’s half the battle.”

$38,244 Judge Joe McGraw — 2-Year-Old Filly Trotters

Flawless Country zipped to the front from post 4 and had nary an anxious moment, downing the pocket-sitting Lexa Hanover by 2 3/4 lengths in 1:56.1. Dearly S earned show.

“I was able to get her around the track in our own fractions,” Palone said. “There was plenty left in the tank.”

Ake Svanstedt conditions the daughter of Southwind Frank-Aleah Hanover and owns with Wolfgang A Stable and Borje Nasstrom.

It was much the same scenario for Palone and Gimme Shelter. The daughter of Father Patrick-Skara Brae won on the front in 1:58 for trainer Mike Palone and owners Lone Wolf Stable and Nick Catalano.

Flawless Country is one of seven winners on the card for Dave Palone. Chris Gooden Photo.

“Mike has liked this filly all along,” Palone said. “She’s been push button since the word go. I think she has a good future. She responded when I spoke to her at the head of the stretch and did it all on her own.”

Myreanna was five lengths back in second, with the rallying Mother Lin third.

Live racing at The Meadows resumes Saturday (Aug 1) when the card features the $375,000 final of the Delvin Miller Adios Pace for the Orchids. The Adios, which goes as race 15 with an approximate post time of 4:02 PM, anchors a powerhouse card that also features the $107,320 Quinton Patterson Adioo Volo for 3-year-old filly pacers, a $59,088 Arden Downs stake for freshman colt and gelding pacers, and a $35,690 Arden Downs event for 2-year-old filly pacers. Other highlights include a pair of stakes for 3-year-old filly trotters: a $187,182 Pennsylvania Sires Stake and an $80,000 PA Stallion Series event.

On the wagering front, The Meadows has added a Super Hi-5 for the Adios with a $50,000 guarantee and a mandatory payout. In addition, the program offers two total-pool carryovers: $2,441.84 in the Early Pick 4 (race 3), $1,908.78 in the Early Pick 5 (race 2).

The Adios Day card gets underway at the special post time of 11:25 a.m., with advance Adios wagering available beginning at noon Thursday.

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