Delray Beach, FL – The harness racing headliners in Florida on Saturday (Nov. 19) came in the finals of the Sunshine State Stakes, sponsored by the FSBOA, with over $70,000 on the line in the octet of races featuring 2-year-olds and 3 year-olds.
Quickest mile of the windy day was accomplished by the 3-year-old pacing filly Come On Spank Me (Tellitlikeitis-Don’t Spank Me), in the $9,000 final, redeeming herself from a tough loss last week to score in 1:55.4.
Wally Hennessey was in the sulky for trainer Tony Dinges and owners Burke Racing Stable and Weaver Bruscemi, with Mark Weaver in attendance for the winner’s celebration.
Weaver, regarded as one of the most successful owners in the sport explained his presence saying, “I had an early flight out this morning but changed my plans because I wanted to be at Sunshine Meadows to make sure that Wally did the right thing.
“If it was important enough for Wally to be in her sulky, it was important enough for me to be there.
“The track was great and there was a good crowd in attendance to enjoy some fine racing.”
Among Come On Spank Me’s victims this day were last week’s upset winner, Benicio (Matt Krueger), two lengths away at the wire, with Prairie Merida (Dan Harvey) next after cutting panels of :29.4, :58.4 and 1:27.
Come On Spank Me, last year’s Super Night champion in her juvenile class, now sports a lifetime scorecard of 8-6-2 in 28 starts, good for $68,344 to go along with her 1:52 mark at a Hoosier Park.
Here are the full Sunshine State Stakes recaps:
2-Year-Old Filly Trot (Purse $9,250)
Legacy’s Jailbreak (Dontyouforgetit), driven by Mike Simons for owner-trainer Nick Coblentz, overcame the outside seven post to take charge at the opening :29.4 marker and stretched her lead to a dozen lengths at the wire in 2:02. Atlantic Wave (Alesandro Spano), close to 30 lengths away early, rallied to be second while Pixie Jet (Matt Krueger) was next. Legacy’s Jailbreak is undefeated in her three lifetime starts with her time today equaling her performance of last week.
2-Year-Old Colts & Geldings Trot (Purse $9,000)
Seminole Moon (Shibboleth Hanover), with Matt Krueger in the sulky, closed from nine lengths away at the top of the long Sunshine Meadows stretch to nail Getinthecarchuckie by a head near the wire to win in 2:02 for his maiden win in three lifetime starts. Prairie Nugget (Hennessey) was third, just a head further back. Trained by Lisa Martin, the winner is owned by Mary Martin along with Virginia and Kathy Schoeffel, and was relaxed off early fractions of :30.1, :59.3 and 1:30 and closed fastest of all for the win.
2-Year-Old Pacing Fillies (Purse $9,000)
Flo Jo (Keystone Velocity), who gave a hint in her last start showing a strong closing kick finishing third, put together a wind-aided :27 blast home to score her maiden win in 2:00.4 for Mike Simons. Trained by Nick Coblentz for owner Mr. Dale Witcher II, Flo Jo was away third in her sextet of fillies, pulled around the final bend collaring, first, the leading Prairie Lynx (Hennessey) and then handily holding off Prairie Special to score by 1 1/2 lengths.
2-Year-Old Colts & Gelding Pace (Purse $9,250)
Gator Growl (Well Said), scored a repeat victory for trainer Mickey McNichol in 1:58.1—a new lifetime mark. Smartly leaving from the six post, McNichol found a cozy spot in fourth early before taking up the chase nearing the half way mark and winding his way to the lead at the third station before sealing the issue with a :29.1 finale over his fast closing stablemate Gator Forty Five (Kevin Wallis). JC Diamond (Matt Krueger) was third as the winner picked up his second career win in six starts for owners George Birkhold and Indigo Racing.
3-Year-Old Filly Trot (Purse $8,250)
G’s Independence (Big Chocolate) proved her handy wins in the first two legs of the Sunshine State Stakes were no fluke as she dominated again in 2:03.4, winning by a dozen lengths for driver-trainer-owner Justin Mullett. Taking the lead from the opening stride, the winner withstood a mild challenge at the third station before pulling away once straightening away for the wire. Charis (Matt Krueger) was second over I’m Solar Powered (Marc Major). The win pushed G’s Independence bounty to $59,090.
3-year-old Colts & Gelding Trot (Purse $8,500)
Prince Of Sussex (Creatine), driven by Wally Hennessey for trainer Justin Mullett, had an easy time solidifying his dominance in his class with a gate-to-wire 2:04.4 win over Little John (Matt Krueger) with Oh No Not Again (Tony Dinges) third. Taking charge right off the wings, Prince Of Sussex dawdled to the half in 1:04 before picking up the pace thereafter and closing the issue with a :29.4 finale. Prince of Sussex, last year’s champion in his division, is owned by Heather Wilder along with Herman Brewer. The win gave Hennessey a driving double and keeps Mullett’s record unblemished with a 4-for-4 record driving and 6-for-6 training since these Sunshine State Stakes have started at Sunshine Meadows.
3-Year-Old Pacing Fillies (Purse $9,000)
3-year-pacing Geldings (Purse $8,000)
Gator At The Well (Well Said), driven by 31-year-old George Birkhold, nailed at the wire in a “match race” of sorts last week in 2:20, led at every call this week in noticeably livelier fractions pf :31, 1:00.4 and 1:30 before holding off a spirited Vinnie V (Matt Krueger) at the wire and stopping the clock in 2:00.2. Young Birkhold now has two lifetime starts—both wins. The win was a new lifetime mark for the sophomore, lowering his previous mark by 4 3/5 seconds in this, his 21 career start.
Summing it up, Wally Hennessey and Mike Simons had driving doubles on the program while trainers Nick Coblentz, Mickey McNichol and Justin Mullett had training doubles.
Racing continues at Sunshine Meadows next Saturday (Nov. 26) with post time set for 11 a.m. Stallion Stakes eligibles will highlight the eight-race program.