CHESTER PA – Allywag Hanover, the 1:48 three-year-old colt pacer who took a bye from the Meadowlands Pace elimination and came down to Harrah’s Philly for Pennsylvania Sire Stakes competition, showed his sharpness while coming his personal back half in :54 for a 1:50.4 win over a “sloppy track” on Friday afternoon.
But neither Chief Mate, his fellow Meadowlands Pace elimination “bye”-taker, nor Captain Groovy, who also paced his 1:48 earlier this year, could avoid falling victim to an upset despite racing gallantly in their respective $39,432 divisions of the first prelim for their Sire Stakes group.
Many speedy horses at Philly have recently employed the tactic of securing a decent early position, then rocketing to the lead with a backstretch brush. This is the path Tim Tetrick chose as the way to win with Allywag Hanover, and the Captaintreacherous colt looked in prime form with his twin :27 quarters home, winning by 5¾ lengths to remain undefeated in three starts this year for trainer Brett Pelling and the Allywag Stable.
Captain Groovy was the one to take the uncovered path in his section, and he grinded to the lead approaching headstretch. But the Sweet Lou gelding No Lou Zing, sitting third-in for driver Josert Fonseca, built early momentum up the inside when the pocketsitter followed the favorite outside near headstretch, then showed good late foot into the :55.2 second half to win by a half-length in 1:53, his third victory in four outings in 2020. Nancy Takter trains the winner for 3 Brothers Stables, the Rojan Stables, and Caviart Farms.
Sire Sweet Lou had a Sire Stake double when the gelding Tito Rocks, despite entering the race as a maiden, was accorded favoritism by the crowd, and he backed the crowd’s faith despite having to come first-up into a :54.3 back half, just overhauling Sea Of Life by a neck in 1:52.1, a lifetime best. Dexter Dunn, the only driver to win two Sire Stakes, got Tito Rocks home for trainer Robert Cleary and Royal Wire Products Inc.
Captaintreacherous also got a Sires double with the win of the gelding The Greek Freak, who surprised at 12-1 for driver Matt Kakaley, trainer Ron Burke, and Burke Racing Stable LLC, Piatt Racing, J&T Silva- Purnel & Libby, and Weaver Bruscemi LLC. The Greek Freak was hard-used early to get a pocket trip, but the early energy paid dividends late, as 59-1 shot Diamond Head wore down favored pacesetter Enough Sun, only to see the “Freak” scoot up the inside to win by three lengths in 1:52, giving him two wins and a second in three yearly races.
There were also six $20,000 Stallion Series sections on the soggy Friday program, with Somebeachsomewhere siring three winners and Western Ideal two, including one each for trainer Chris Ryder, the only trainer with a double in the StS action. The Western Ideal gelding Barrage Hanover was successful in 1:54 for driver Victor Kirby and trainer/owner Ryder, while Somebeachsomewhere produced the gelding Moneyman Hill, who was a pocket rocket in 1:52.4 for Ryder, driver David Miller, and owner Tom Hill.
The other two winners by Somebeachsomewhere were also geldings: Sunuma Beach, who shook off a big backstretch challenge and went on to win in 1:53.3 for driver Tim Tetrick, trainer Linda Toscano, and owner Arnie Chusid, and Revolt, who took the backstretch-brush-to-victory route for driver George Brennan, trainer Nik Drennan, and owners Joseph Davino, Brad Shackman, and the Drennan Stable LLC.
The other Western Ideal winner was the colt Seriously Hanover, who crossed the wire first in his last start at Pocono only to be taken down for going inside stretch pylons en route to victory; this time he made an early move to the lead and came home in 27.4 to reduce his mark to 1:52.4 for driver Scott Zeron, trainer Ron Coyne Jr., and owners Michael Cimaglio, Stephen Demeter, and Stephen Giagni.
Finally, the Sweet Lou gelding Sweet Truth used the successful backstretch-brush tactic en route to a 1:53.4 triumph, coming home in :27.4 for driver Yannick Gingras, trainer Ron Burke, and Burke Racing Stable LLC, J&T Silva- Purnel & Libby, William Switala, and James Martin.