Sophomore trotters in the spotlight at eastern Pennsylvania tracks

Chester PA — Three-year-old trotters will be in the spotlight this weekend at the eastern Pennsylvania tracks, with the fillies in PA Sire Stakes and Stallion Series action at Harrah’s Philadelphia on Friday (May 21), and the colts and geldings at Pocono Saturday (May 22) for a Pennsylvania All-Stars event.

This is the first coming-together for the state-sired fillies, and most of last year’s top-rated misses will be on hand, along with one noted newcomer, Bella Bellini.

Bella Bellini is in probably the toughest of the three Sires Stakes divisions, race eight, but she’s ready for her acid test here as she comes in off three victories in 1:54 or better for driver Dexter Dunn and trainer Nifty Norman.

There is no shortage of talented challengers, including Love Muffin, coming off a 1:53 qualifier at The Meadowlands; Flawless Country, last year’s Sire Stakes champion; and Lady Chaos, the Breeders Crown champion for this group in 2020.

The first division, race four, finds Canadian champion Donna Soprano making her first start of 2021 for trainer Luc Blais and driver Bob McClure. Last year Donna Soprano won five of seven starts and missed only three-quarters of a length to the colt Venerate in the Mohawk Million.

The sixth race section finds Anoka Hanover, the Dan Patch award winner in this category last year and victorious in 10 of 14 starts including the Goldsmith Maid, making her first start of the year after two nice qualifying victories for driver Todd McCarthy and trainer Noel Daley.

On Saturday afternoon at Pocono, there are three division of the males’ All-Star event on the racing program, falling in races five, eight, and 10.

Among the fast sophomores gathered are Whiskey Blu, the co-winningest trotter in all of North America this year, and by far the top 3-year-old, with nine victories; Top Me Off, the Weiss Series sweeper who is tied for second among 3-year-old trotters with five 2021 tallies; last year’s Matron winner Type A; and Inaminute Hanover, who has won his last three starts.

The Friday action at Philadelphia, which begins at 12:25 p.m., is supplemented by five divisions of Stallion Series competition for the fillies. On the 12:30 p.m. Saturday card at Pocono, there are a pair of $15,700 events, one on each gait, for the older fast-class set. Programs for all races can be found at

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