CHESTER PA – One of the best cards anywhere in the racing season so far during 2022 will be proudly presented at Harrah’s Philadelphia this Sunday afternoon, as the top trotters and pacers in many varieties will be racing on the track’s $600,000+ “Super Sunday” card.
There will be three $100,000 Invitational events: the Maxie Lee Trot, the Commodore Barry Pace, and the Betsy Ross Pace for females, with the two defending champions on the pace coming back to try to defend their titles. There are two divisions of the Pennsylvania Sire Stakes for three-year-old pacing fillies, including the first start of the year for last year’s champion Niki Hill, and five attendant Stallion Series cuts, with over $230,000 on the line for these distaffs. And there will be $30,000 Open races in the “#senditin” series, paralleling the Invitational divisions.
Here’s a brief look at each classification in the Sunday spotlight.
The Captaintreacherous mare Lyons Sentinel, divisional champion at two and four and the biggest moneywinner in any of the three Invite fields with $2,003,594, makes her first start of 2022 after two solid qualifying seconds right here at Philly. She’ll have to start from post seven in an eight-horse field, but her connections know the way to the winners circle: trainer Jim King Jr. won the Betsy Ross twice with the great Shartin N, and driver Tim Tetrick (who is also named on Keep Rockin A) has captured the event in no fewer than seven of its thirteen previous stagings.
The 1-2-3 finishers in the $381,000 MGM Blue Chip Series Final at Yonkers -- Drama Act, Racine Bell, and Easy To Please – must be regarded, as should defending champion Keep Rockin A and Down Under millionaire Amazing Dream N.
(post, horse, listed driver, trainer)
1 – Racine Bell, Jason Bartlett, David Dewhurst; 2, Drama Act, Yannick Gingras, Ron Burke; 3 – Amazing Dream N, Todd McCarthy, Linda Toscano; 4 – Majorca N, Corey Callahan, Dylan Davis; 5 – Easy To Please, Jordan Stratton, Cory Stratton; 6 – Keep Rockin A, Tim Tetrick, Jeff Cullipher; 7 – Lyons Sentinel, Tetrick also listed, Jim King Jr.; 8 – Watch Me Now N, Dexter Dunn, Tony Alagna.
$100,000 MAXIE LEE INVITATIONAL TROT (race 12)
This contest, honoring the legendary pioneer horseman of the area, finds Amigo Volo coming back off five days rest, after qualifying in 1:53.4. The Father Patrick gelding, starting from post five with Dexter Dunn scheduled to drive for trainer Nifty Norman, has won $1,690,914 in career earnings, including two Breeders Crowns and the divisional title in his sophomore year.
The ultra-consistent Muscle Hill mare When Doves Cry has hit the board 44 times in a 49-race career, with $1,637,476 bankrolled. She faces a major burden here, having to start from the outside post eight for driver David Miller and trainer Brett Pelling, but females have three wins against “the boys” in the Maxie Lee – double winner Buck I St Pat and last year’s winner Manchego, now retired.
1 – Sermon, Kasper Foget, Per Engblom; 2 – Mississippi Storm, Jordan Stratton, Tom Fanning; 3 – Back Of The Neck, Scott Zeron, Åke Svanstedt; 4 – Hillexotic, Yannick Gingras, Ron Burke; 5 – Amigo Volo, Dexter Dunn, Nifty Norman; 6 – Eurobond, Matt Kakaley, Michael Spaccarelli Jr.; 7 – Lovedbythemasses, Tim Tetrick, Jeff Cullipher; 8 – When Dovescry, David Miller, Brett Pelling.
$100,000 COMMODORE BARRY PACE (race 13)
Nicholas Beach won last year’s Commodore Barry, and he couldn’t be coming back to Philly in sharper form, having turned in the fastest mile of the year, 1:47, in his last start at The Meadowlands. The altered son of Somebeachsomewhere prefers to be on or near the lead, but he has shown versatility in tactics for the brother/sister team of driver Joe and trainer Jenn Bongiorno; post two will give Team Bongiorno several options.
Three horses in outstanding winning form will go against him: Wild Wild Western, winner of six straight in the top ranks at The Meadows; Southwind Ozzi, the 2019 Little Brown Jug champ who has won four straight since coming back to Philly; and Ignatius A, a “Down Under wonder” who has captured four of his last five while quickly adjusting to Stateside racing.
1 – Workin Ona Mystery, Tim Tetrick, Ron Burke; 2 – Nicholas Beach, Joe Bongiorno, Jenn Bongiorno; 3 – American Dealer N, Todd McCarthy, Linda Toscano; 4 – Nandolo N, Jason Bartlett, Shane Tritton; 5 – Wild Wild Western, Mike Wilder, Norm Parker; 6 – Southwind Ozzi, David Miller, Bill Mac Kenzie; 7 – Jack’s Legend N, Dexter Dunn, Nifty Norman; 8 – Ignatius A, Andrew McCarthy, Noel Daley.
PA SIRE STAKES and STALLION SERIES – 3YO PACING FILLIES
(Sire Stakes races 8 and 10; Stallion Series races 1, 3, 4, 5, 7)
The exciting Always B Miki filly Niki Hill, winner of nine of ten last year, divisional champion and the richest two-year-old pacer of 2021 with earnings of $904,557, makes her long-awaited return to the races in one $68,116 division of the Sire Stakes, drawing post two for driver Dexter Dunn and trainer Chris Ryder. She’s had three solid qualifiers in preparation for this campaign, and will likely be a strong favorite despite some solid opposition.
The filly who may wind up to be her toughest foe in 2022, Treacherous Dragon, will start from post four in the other Sire Stakes division for driver Tim Tetrick and trainer Brett Pelling. The Captaintreacherous miss is two-for-two in 2022, a Pennsylvania All-Stars win and an overnight victory against older horses in 1:49.1.
#senditin OPENS (open pace race 6, distaff pace race 9, trot race 14)
Named after the popular social media handicapping/wagering platform, these $30,000 races are for horses who were just on or near the cut lines for the Invitationals. Nary an entrant in all three races would be out of place in a feature race at any track in North America, and should produce hard-fought, exciting contests.
First race on the 15-race Super Sunday card at Harrah’s Philadelphia will be 12:40 p.m. Scratches and driver changes will be announced early Thursday afternoon.