CHESTER PA – Driver David Miller swept the three divisions of the $180,855 Pennsylvania Sire Stakes fourth and final preliminary round for two-year-old pacing colts at Harrah’s Philadelphia on Thursday afternoon. Now he will have to make a choice about whom to drive in the division’s Championship here at Philly on Sunday, September 8 – especially since one of his winners is not assured of a spot in the Championship.
The fastest of the three winners was a maiden, the Somebeachsomewhere – Panera Hanover colt Papi Rob Hanover, who scored in 1:50.4 to miss the 2009 Philly divisional track record of Rock N Rock Heaven by a fifth while also tying the filly Sweet Ace for fastest freshman of the year on a 5/8-mile track.
Papi Rob Hanover had shown steady development to the point that he was bet down to 7-5 second choice behind 6-5 double Sire Stakes winner Cattlewash, and “Papi” fronted the chalk and the rest of the field through fractions of :26.4, :54.4, and 1:23.1. Through the :27.3 final quarter, Cattlewash stayed within two lengths but could not get closer as Papi Rob Hanover, second in a Sire Stakes in his last start, made the breakthrough for trainer Brett Pelling and owner David McDuffee.
Seeyou At Thebeach’s only other win had been an Arden Downs division on Adios Day. Brian Brown trains the fast freshman for Country Club Acres Inc., Joe Sbrocco, Richard Lombardo, and Chris Page.
The other section had most of the field picking its way through two separate far turn traffic jams, with the Western Ideal – Southwind Playa colt Manticore proving the best at 8-1 in 1:53 for his third win in his last four starts.
The race was fiercely contested – Cheerio Hill insisted on the lead, putting favored Caliber in behind twice during fractions of :26.2 and :55.2, with Tell Them Lou, who had been parked, finally making his way to the lead at the latter call. Manticore came up grinding down the backstretch on Tell Them Lou, who hit the three-quarters in 1:23.1, and then there were two incidents: Cheerio Hill tired sharply in the pocket, hindering those who had stayed in, while Tell Them Lou bore out late on the turn, carrying Manticore wide. Manticore quickly righted, went to the lead, then held off closing Captain Barbossa by 1¼ lengths for trainer Bruce Saunders and the partnership of M&L Of Delaware LLC and M&M Harness Racing LLC.
The Bureau of Standardbred Racing within the Pennsylvania Horse Racing Commission is the official tallier of the points earned in the Sire Stakes and the Stallion Series, but a quick, unofficial calculation performed after the last Sires race today revealed the following horses with the most points: 1. Adriano Hanover; 2.Cattlewash; 3. Caliber; 4. Catch The Fire; 5. Father Nuno; 6. Tell Them Lou; and 7. (tie) Manticore, Papi Rob Hanover, and Seeyou At Thebeach at 60 points each.
Only eight can compete in the Sire Stakes Championship, and the tiebreaker used is money won in the Sire Stakes. That tally showed Nanticoke and Papi Rob Hanover, each with a first and a second, tied at $45,263, with Seeyou At Thebeach, with a first, third, and fourth, sitting at $42,230. Again, the State Commission certifies the official final totals and eligibility; also, perhaps somebody above the tied three horses may not declare in.
All four of the Pennsylvania Sire Stakes Championship for two-year-olds, and their attendant consolation events, will be held at Harrah’s Philadelphia on Sunday, September 8.
FINISHING LINES – Homicide Hunter, the defending champion in his Great Northeast Open Series (GNOS) event, trotted a strong 1:53.2 front-end victory in an $18,000 event for driver Miller, who had six wins on the day, trainer Ron Burke, and owners Crawford Farms Racing, and looks ready as his GNOS Championship at Pocono approaches on Monday, September 9.