Chester, PA — Top-level Pennsylvania-sired 3-year-olds will be gathering at Harrah’s Philadelphia Sunday afternoon (Sept. 6) to contest their respective $252,000 Pennsylvania Sire Stakes finals and $50,000 consolation races.
The fields of eight horses won their way into the series finals by accumulating points in four preliminary rounds of the Sire Stakes at the Pennsylvania ovals of Pocono, The Meadows, and Harrah’s Philadelphia.
Here is a summary of the major contenders in each division:
Three-Year-Old Pacing Colts (race nine; consolation in race five)
The early morning line favorite is the Sweet Lou gelding No Lou Zing, who has four wins and three seconds in eight seasonal starts for trainer Nancy Takter, including a 1:49.3 victory at The Meadows in his last outing. Dexter Dunn will drive the improved sophomore as they start from post six.
Major contenders are Allywag Hanover, a Brett Pelling-trained colt by Captaintreacherous who has been among the North American division leaders all year, and who has a positional advantage in that he starts from post two for driver Tim Tetrick and the Somebeachsomewhere gelding Sandbetweenmytoes, the preliminary point winner who has really come to hand in his last two starts for trainer Jim Campbell with Sire Stakes victories at Pocono and The Meadows. However, he will have to solve the difficult seven post for driver Andrew McCarthy.
Three-Year-Old Trotting Colts (race 10, consolation in race six)
The Father Patrick gelding Amigo Volo, who set multiple world records as a 2-year-old and won a Sire Stake preliminary at Pocono in 1:52, has been picked as the morning line favorite, beginning from post three for trainer Nifty Norman and driver Dexter Dunn. The fast sophomore made the lead from post 10 in the Hambletonian, had road trouble, and still was a very good fourth in that premier event; he is likely to have better racing luck here.
The three-ply coupled entry from trainer Ake Svanstedt, Swiss House Onfire (post one, driver George Napolitano Jr.), Gangster Hanover (post seven, Svanstedt up) and EL Ideal (post eight, Andy Miller), will attract a great deal of attention, as will the preliminary point leader Hillexotic, who will be beginning from post two for trainer/driver Trond Smedshammer.
Three-Year-Old Trotting Fillies (race 11, consolation race four)
Only two horses in the history of the Pennsylvania Sire Stakes have been the leading preliminary point winner and then championship winner of their division at both two and three (point standing records date back only to 2002) — and they have both been trotting fillies, Coulatine (2003-2004) and Frau Blucher (2012-2013, the latter a championship winner in a memorable dead-heat with Classic Martine).
Now another trotting filly is in position to join them.
The Father Patrick miss Sister Sledge, beginning from post six for trainer Ron Burke and driver Brian Sears, has won 13 of 20 lifetime starts and $728,849, and she had two wins and a second in the three Sire Stakes events she entered this season, including a 1:52 at her “home track,” The Meadows.
Given the best chance to upset Sister Sledge is the Sebastian K S filly Next Level Stuff (post one, trainer Jim Campbell, driver Tim Tetrick), who had a win and two seconds in her three PaSS outings this season, and who also has the winning habit (9 for 17 lifetime).
Three-Year-Old Pacing Fillies (race 12; consolation race three)
Most eyes will tend to focus on the unbeaten Party Girl Hill, a daughter of Captaintreacherous who was unraced at two but has made up for lost time by going undefeated in eight starts in 2020, including the Fan Hanover final in her last race and the three Sire Stakes events she contested. She holds a season’s record of 1:49 and she will start from post one for trainer Chris Ryder and driver Dexter Dunn.
But the race is not a mere walkover as you look at the credentials of some of her opponents.
Lyons Sentinel (by Captaintreacherous, post seven, trainer Jim King Jr., driver Tim Tetrick) is the 2019 defending Sire Stakes champion, has a lifetime record of 20-10-9-1, and will go over $1 million lifetime with a high finish.
Rocknificent (by Captaintreacherous, post five, trainer Linda Toscano, driver Scott Zeron) was the top point earner with three prelim wins and a third, and is always in the mix of races of this type.
JK First Lady (by Western Ideal, post six, trainer Nancy Takter, driver Andrew McCarthy) set the track record of 1:49.2 here in winning a Sire Stakes race two starts ago, and was victorious in a PA All-Stars race last time out.
Post time for the Sunday Harrah’s Philadelphia card is 12:40 p.m.
Pennsylvania championship weekend will close out Monday afternoon with eight $40,000 Stallion Series finals at The Meadows.