‘Sentinel’ seasonal debut set for Betsy Ross

Ken Weingartner

Hightstown, NJ —- After putting together the second Dan Patch Award-winning season of her career in 2021, female pacer Lyons Sentinel is ready to launch her 5-year-old campaign Sunday (May 29) by meeting seven rivals in the $100,000 Betsy Ross Mare Invitational at Harrah’s Philadelphia.

Lyons Sentinel, who received her first Dan Patch Award in 2019 at the age of 2, is the only horse in the race making her seasonal debut. The group includes the top-three finishers in this year’s Blue Chip Matchmaker Series — Drama Act, Racine Bell, and Easy To Please — as well as highly regarded New Zealand-import Amazing Dream N.

Trained by Jim King Jr. and driven by Tim Tetrick, Lyons Sentinel closed last year with a win in the TVG Series championship for female pacers to push her lifetime earnings to more than $2 million. For the season, she won 10 of 19 races and hit the board another six times. For her career, she has won 22 of 47 starts and finished in the top three on 41 occasions.

Lyons Sentinel has won 22 of 47 career starts and finished in the top three on 41 occasions. USTA/Mark Hall photo.

Lyons Sentinel heads to the Betsy Ross off two qualifiers, finishing second in both. In the most recent, May 17 at Philly, she was timed in 1:53.1 and beaten three-quarters of a length by Allywag Hanover, the 2021 Dan Patch Award winner for older male pacers.

“She seems fine,” said King, who trains Lyons Sentinel for Threelyonsracing. “I was pretty satisfied with her qualifier. She’s not right up on her toes. It took her a few starts last year to really get her feet under her. I don’t expect to get embarrassed by any means, but I think that she needs a race.

“The ones that have been in the Matchmaker and the top classes, I think they’re going to be a step ahead as far as fitness. But she did some pretty good things last year, and at the end of the year there wasn’t a horse all day long that went a better trip than she did in the TVG. That was ferocious.”

Last year, Lyons Sentinel picked up her first win in her third start and had two victories after eight races. She then reeled off seven triumphs in a row, including the Clara Barton, Lady Liberty, Roses Are Red, Milton, and Dayton Distaff.

She dropped her next three races, including a second-place finish in the Breeders Crown Mare Pace final, before bouncing back with a lengthy first-over trip from post nine in the TVG to win by three-quarters of a length in 1:49.1.

“Things didn’t work out in the Breeders Crown, and people were kind of having doubts about her,” said King, who trained 2019 Horse of the Year Shartin N. “But I was really happy with what she did accomplish. I was really proud of her. To date, she’s not a Shartin, but by golly she’s a good one. She’s pretty darn nice.”

Lyons Sentinel will start Sunday’s Betsy Ross from post seven and is 4-1 on the morning line. Amazing Dream N is the 3-1 favorite, followed by Racine Bell at 7-2. Drama Act is 9-2.

The Betsy Ross is part of a star-studded card at Harrah’s Philadelphia that also includes the $100,000 Maxie Lee Invitational Trot, which features two past Dan Patch Award winners in Amigo Volo and When Dovescry, and the $100,000 Commodore Barry Invitational Pace, with Nicholas Beach fresh off his 1:47 win last week in the Open at The Meadowlands.

Also racing at Philly on Sunday is Dan Patch Award-winning filly pacer Niki Hill, who makes her 3-year-old debut in a division of the Pennsylvania Sire Stakes.

Action begins at 12:40 p.m. (EDT) at Harrah’s Philadelphia. The Betsy Ross is race 11 on the 15-race card, followed by the Maxie Lee and Commodore Barry. For complete Sunday entries, click here. Free program pages will be available at the PHHA website.

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