Washington, PA – Rebounding nicely from her Hambletonian horror show, Sister Sledge overpowered her field and trotted to a record 1:52 — on a “good” surface — in Saturday’s (Aug. 15) $186,382 Pennsylvania Sires Stake at The Meadows. Crucial rallied furiously through the lane to capture the other division in the event for 3-year-old fillies known as the Stenographer, giving trainer Ron Burke a stake sweep.
Sister Sledge was the divisional Dan Patch Award runner-up last year, but she stepped up to face the boys in the Hambletonian. While she made the final, her journey there was forgettable, as she broke stride and finished eighth, beaten 56 lengths.
“That was a weird race,” said Burke. “She got parked out and tilted around. But I didn’t think I had much to worry about today — and she was back on Lasix.”
Indeed, the daughter of Father Patrick-Behindclosedoors dispelled any doubts early when she zipped to the front from post seven for Dave Palone and won as she pleased, defeating the pocket-sitting Dip Me Hanover by 2-1/2 lengths, with Queen Of The Hill third. Her time erased the previous stake record of 1:52.4 established last year by Millies Possession.
Sister Sledge, who is scheduled to race next in another PASS leg, now has banked $682,653 for Burke Racing Stable, Jason Melillo, J&T Silva-Purnel & Libby and Weaver Bruscemi LLC.
When Crucial trailed the leader, Next Level Stuff, by three lengths at the top of the stretch, even winning driver David Miller figured he was racing for a place check.
“The leader kind of opened up on me, and I thought we could be second,” Miller said. “But she kept on coming and put her nose in front. I like horses like that.”
Fifty Cent Piece earned show in the 1:53.1 mile. Burke Racing Stable, William Donovan, J&T Silva-Purnel & Libby, and Weaver Bruscemi campaign the daughter of Father Patrick-Jolene Jolene, who lifted her lifetime bankroll to $271,577.
$60,000 PA Stallion Series — 3-Year-Old Fillies
In Saturday’s subfeature, Dune Hill stretched her winning streak to five — including three stallion series victories — with a stake-fastest triumph in 1:55.4. Witchey Woman and Alittlebitofsugar took the other splits.
Dune Hill endured a demanding three-wide journey to the point, but she hung tough in the lane for Matt Kakaley, downing Hannah by a neck. Miss Kendra D completed the ticket.
Winning trainer Burke indicated he thinks the daughter of Muscle Hill-Quite Possible is well spotted in the stallion series.
“I have other top fillies who are maybe a little better than she is,” Burke said. “She’s found a spot where she’s happy and not making mistakes. We’re thrilled with her.”
Dune Hill has banked $121,886 for owner/breeder Joseph DiScala, Jr. All eight $40,000 stallion series championships take place Monday, Sept. 7, at The Meadows.
Burke collected five wins on Saturday’s 15-race card while Tony Hall and Palone each fashioned a triple.
Monday’s 15-race program at The Meadows features a trio of rich wagering opportunities: a $12,691 carryover in the final-race Super Hi-5; a $5,000 total pool guarantee for the Early Pick-4 (race three); a $1,028,56 carryover in the Early Pick-5 (race two). First post is 12:45 p.m.