Chester, PA — As she so often is, Shartin N ($4.40) was simply sensational on Sunday afternoon (May 26), dueling down a determined Caviart Ally to capture the $100,000 Betsy Ross Invitational for pacing mares at Harrah’s Philadelphia, one of three co-featured events on a blockbuster card.
Unlike her previous five wins this season, achieving the lead was no easy task for the 6-year-old Tintin In America mare. Shartin N and Tim Tetrick left strongly from post seven but was met immediately by resistance from Caviart Ally (Andy McCarthy). As soon as Shartin N accelerated to try to clear midway on the first turn, Caviart Ally countered and forced her rival into the pocket shortly after a grueling:25.2 first quarter.
“I didn’t know about the :25.2 quarter, and it put Timmy in a tough spot, so he had to force the issue,” said trainer Jim King Jr. “I wouldn’t like to see that trip two weeks in a row, but obviously she can do it.”
After pulling the pace back through a :30 second split, Caviart Ally faced a second challenge from Shartin N, who pulled the pocket just in front of Apple Bottom Jeans (Corey Callahan) with three-eighths to go and worked to within a neck past three-quarters in 1:21.3.
While Shartin N headed Caviart Ally nearing the home turn, she was far from home free. Caviart Ally fought tooth and nail to offer sustained resistance, and Apple Bottom Jeans lifted off cover in upper stretch. Still, Shartin N resolutely held her ground to prevail by a neck in 1:49.2, her fastest win of the season.
“Once she was head and head turning for home, I was pretty confident,” concluded King, who campaigns Shartin N for Richard Poillucci, JoAnn Looney-King, and Tim Tetrick LLC. “She’s just overcome everything that’s been thrown at her.”
Shartin N will be pointed to the Roses Are Red at Woodbine Mohawk Park.
“I had a good barrier draw and I wanted to make the most of it,” said McCarthy of his tactics with runner-up Caviart Ally. “We had to go way too much for the first quarter, but Shartin was just too good. I was driving to beat her, but she was just too good. We had to go a big first quarter and a big third quarter. She was tired at the top of the stretch, but she dug in. I was really proud of her effort today.”
Apple Bottom Jeans stayed on for third, while Tequila Monday (Brian Sears) stalked evenly to finish fourth.
In addition to her victories in the 2018 and 2019 editions of the Betsy Ross and her 2018 Breeders Crown triumph, Shartin N has won 22 other times since arriving in North America at the beginning of 2018.
Guardian Angel AS coasts in Maxie Lee
Tetrick came right back to take the $100,000 Maxie Lee Invitational Trot with Guardian Angel AS ($5.80), brushing the 5-year-old Archangel entire to the fore early and coasting to a 1:51 win, the 18th of his career.
After clearing 2015 Hambletonian winner Pinkman (Dexter Dunn) with a circuit to go, Guardian Angel As controlled a :55.1 half before shrugging off a first-over challenge from Trolley (Marcus Miller) up the far side. Turning for home, Guardian Angel As extended his lead over the pocket-sitting Pinkman to two lengths before cruising clear to a 2-3/4 length victory. Pinkman held second by a neck over the late-closing Fiftydallarbill (David Miller), who circled three-wide on the final turn.
Anette Lorentzon trains Guardian Angel AS for ACL Stuteri AB and Kjell Johansson.
Courtly Choice stalks, surges in Commodore Barry
In just the third start of his 4-year-old season, 2018 Little Brown Jug and Meadowlands Pace winner Courtly Choice ($5.80) proved capable from off the pace, surging from third-over for a going-away 1:49.1 score in the $100,000 Commodore Barry Invitational Pace and eclipsing the $1 million mark in career earnings.
The son of Art Major settled just worse than midfield while Pacing Major N (Jordan Stratton), Tiger Thompson N (Dexter Dunn) and The Wall (Jim Pantaleano) threw down in a :25.2 first quarter. Tiger Thompson N, widest of the three on the first turn, cleared with a lap to go and continued to a :53.1 half while David Miller angled Courtly Choice third-over behind The Wall — who moved back out from third — and Rodeo Rock (McCarthy).
The outer tier proved the place to be, as The Wall pushed clear of Tiger Thompson N easily before three-quarters in 1:20.2, but Rodeo Rock continued on in the breeze to offer immediate pressure. Off the home turn, Miller angled Courtly Choice three-wide off the live flow, and the pair struck the front in the final sixteenth before drawing two lengths clear. Rodeo Rock finished second while The Wall took third.
Blake MacIntosh trains 14-time winner Courtly Choice, for the Hutt Racing Stable, Mac and Heim Stables, Danielle Plouffe and Touchstone Farms Inc.
Captain Crunch leads Pennsylvania Sire Stakes splits
Nancy Johansson trainee Captain Crunch ($2.10), easily one of the top sophomore pacers in North America, was never in doubt in the third of three $57,218 Pennsylvania Sire Stakes divisions for 3-year-old pacing colts and geldings, coasting to a 1:49.2 win in line to Scott Zeron. The son of Captaintreacherous caught a breather when rival Proof (David Miller) broke in the early stages, and he edged away handily to beat Aflame Hanover (Tony Schadel) by four lengths after parrying a mild first-over challenge from Volley Ball Beach.
Southwind Ozzi ($2.80) and Brian Sears took the speed badge in Sire Stakes action with a 1:48.4 score in the first division and Lyons Night Hawk ($3.60) turned in a 1:50 victory to give Tetrick a stakes winner on the card along with his pair of invitational wins.