Wilkes-Barre, PA – Amigo Volo and EL Ideal, a pair of winners of more than $500,000 last year who had not yet regained their stellar form of the previous season, showed they are now headed in the right direction by easily winning their respective $95,367 divisions of the first preliminary of the Pennsylvania Sire Stakes for 3-year-old trotting males during the Sunday twilight card at The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono.
Amigo Volo was not hustled early by Dexter Dunn, coming in from his 1:49.3 monster mile at Plainridge Park with Manchego, working him to the top past the :27.4 quarter and getting him to the half in :56.3. The gelding turned it up another notch to get to the three-quarters in 1:24.2 and kept pouring it on to hit the wire in 1:52, a lifetime best and only two-fifths off the track and world record of Pinkman.
Amigo Volo is quite familiar with world records, having set four of them in his freshman campaign for trainer Nifty Norman. The winner of $684,040 for owners Pinske Stables and David J. Miller now must consider his next move, with that big race in New Jersey having eliminations this Saturday.
The Muscle Hill colt EL Ideal headed a 1-2 sweep of the other division for trainer Åke Svanstedt when he posted a 1:53 winning time in the other Sires section. Svanstedt, handling EL Ideal, played early give-and-go with barnmate Swiss House Onfire (Dunn) past the :27.1 quarter, then posted middle splits of :56 and 1:24.1 before keeping his stablemate easily at bay. The winner of $565,712 for Emp Invest Oy is not eligible for the Hambletonian.
The five $20,000 Stallion Series divisions for the sophomore trotting colts and geldings showed remarkable parity, with variance of final time ranging only from 1:54.4 and 1:55.1, and four of the five winners taking a new lifetime mark.
The one who didn’t reduce his mark ironically missed by a fifth the 1:54.4 Pocono freshman trotting gelding record he set here last year. That would be the Winning Mister gelding Town Victor, who looped the field early under the guidance of Matt Kakaley, set all the pace, then extended his lead in the last quarter for his first victory of the year for trainer Rich Gillock, who co-owns the winner with Barbara Richardson.
Kakaley picked up his first of two Stallion Series triumphs with the Father Patrick colt Cupid Hanover, who also took the short way around and earned himself a new mark of 1:54.4. Ron Burke conditions the 3-year-old for Elite Trotting.
Father Patrick picked up a second Stallion Series siring credit with the gelding Solar, who has a shiny new mark of 1:55.1 after racing on the engine and holding off the closing Steel Schooner and Secular. Marcus Miller was in the sulky for trainer/father Erv Miller and the partnership of Ervin Miller Stable Inc., Sara Miller and John Koliopoulos.
The other Stallion Series wins were taken by sons of Explosive Matter. First was the colt Stickler Hanover, last year’s Pennsylvania Fair Sire Stakes champion, who handled the upgrade in company nicely, lowering his record to 1:54.4 as he has now won four of his last five. Brady Brown drove the winner for trainer Steve Schoeffel and owners Virginia and Kathy Schoeffel.
The gelding Arclight Hanover also matched the fastest Stallion Series time of 1:54.4, a lifetime best, as he cut the mile then held off the late thrust of S Class for driver Jason Bartlett and trainer Mark Harder, the latter a co-owner with Deena Rachel Frost and Emma Pettersson.