Wilkes-Barre, PA – The third preliminary leg of the Pennsylvania Sire Stakes and Stallion Series for two-year-old pacing fillies, held Monday (Aug. 10) afternoon at The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono, had a little bit of something for everybody.
It had a PaSS winning streak continued, if by only the barest of margins, as the Always B Miki–Western Silk filly Grace Hill remained undefeated in three PaSS starts with a nose victory over Continualou, herself a previous Sires winner, in a career best 1:51 in one $105,067 Sires contest. Grace Hill followed the cover of first-time starter Making Waves to nearing the 1:22.2 three-quarters, went up to challenge the new leader, finally edged by her, only to find Continualou – the horse who had been passed late backstretch – clawing back up the Pocono Pike.
Dexter Dunn drove the winner, whose lifetime record consists of the three Sires wins and a neck defeat in the Home Grown stake, good for $124,522 for trainer Nifty Norman and owner Tom Hill.
The afternoon also had an unlucky side, as Caviart Audrey – the filly who had beaten Grace Hill in the Home Grown – crossed the wire first by a length in 1:52.3 in her Sires division, but was disqualified for bearing out late on the far turn and bothering challenger Thebeachiscalling. Placed first was the Captaintreacherous–Marinade Hanover freshman Marsala Hanover, who had been right behind Caviart Audrey when the incident occurred, went up the inside to go on equal terms with her rival, then got moved up when her resurgent foe was placed back.
Scott Zeron handled sulky duties for the winner, who had a second and a third (both behind Grace Hill) before winning a PA All-Stars division in 1:52, for trainer Linda Toscano and the partnership of Enviro Stables LTD, South Mountain Stables, Little E LLC, and Westminster Road LLC.
If you like close finishes, besides the Grace Hill win you certainly had plenty of them in six $20,000 Stallion Series divisions, with the only StS victress winning by more than a length being the Somebeachsomewhere–Panera Hanover filly Odds On Whitney. She moved to the lead early for driver Dexter Dunn and was 2-3/4 lengths clear at the end of her 1:53 maiden victory, which also was the quickest StS contest. The Tony Alagna-trained filly, making only her second lifetime start, won for Odds On Racing.
Dunn won the one Sire Stakes division, Scott Zeron won the other – and Zeron went Dunn one better by winning two Stallion Series sections. Trainer Linda Toscano and Zeron again combined successfully with the Captaintreacherous–Dolphins Can Talk filly Three Times A Lady, who nosed out Quick Six in 1:53.4 for her initial career triumph for Richard and Joanne Young (continuing the I Luv The Nitelife naming tradition).
Zeron also paraded back the Betting Line–Darena Hanover filly Darby Hanover, who lowered her mark to 1:53.2 in notching her second Stallion Series score by a neck over Fighting Evil. Julie Miller trains the winner for Andy Miller Stable Inc. and Mr. Caroll Huffman.
Podium Girl was looking to become the only filly in her group to have three Stallion Series victories and tried to control her own destiny by setting the pace, but the Sweet Lou–Rock Her World filly Atomic Fireball exploded home in :55.4 – :27.3 from the pocket to edge the leader by a head while breaking her maiden in 1:53.1. Perennial Pocono leader George Napolitano Jr., in a somewhat-atypical off-the-pace driving triumph, drove for trainer Nifty Norman and the partnership of Let It Ride Stables Inc. and Bottom Line Racing LLC.
At 10-1, the Sweet Lou–Double Major filly Doubleoffthewall would be the highest-priced of all the stakes winners (there was a notable price in an overnight race – see below) when she recorded her second straight triumph while lowering her mark to 1:54. Matt Kakaley drove the Tom Fanning-conditioned miss to a head win over come-from-the-clouds Captainandtelly for David Van Wart, Falcon Racing LLC, and Joel Benson.
The Brett Bittle/Yankeeland Partners LLP continued their recent hot streak with the first-time winner Skky, home in 1:54.1 after posting two seconds in her first two StS starts. Tyler Buter, handling the Somebeachsomewhere–Just Add Vodka filly, had the luxury of a full length of space when hitting the wire, a rare commodity during the contentious afternoon of stakes racing.
FINISHING LINES – Summer Rock came from last at the three-quarters to first at the wire in the day’s second race, paying $342.40 for a $2 win ticket – the biggest price in the five years that detailed records on “bombers” have been kept here. … One of the “big bombers” of the 3-year-old pacing colt division, Allywag Hanover, heads the action in the Pennsylvania Sire Stakes/Stallion Series competition Tuesday (Aug. 11) afternoon at Pocono.