CHESTER PA – Beach Cowgirl returned to the scene of her greatest triumph – Harrah’s Philadelphia, where she won her freshman Pennsylvania Sire Stakes Championship in a world record 1:50 – and kept her lifetime record undefeated after five starts in her 2023 bow, a 1:50.1 mile on Sunday afternoon. She competed in one of three $49,783 divisions of the first preliminary of the PA Sire Stakes for three-year-old pacing fillies.
Joe Bongiorno, driving for sister/trainer Jenn and the ownership of Joseph Di Scala Jr., Zippett Racing Stable, Scarlett Stables LLC, and JAF Racing LLC, tucked the Captaintreacherous filly in third as Square Deal took the field to a :27 quarter, then put her in a higher gear and easily grabbed command before the :55.2 half, retaining the advantage past the 1:22.4 three-quarters and all the way to the wire. Square Deal was her closest rival at the finish, 1½ lengths behind.
Captaintreacherous picked up another PaSS siring credit when Cultured came up the inside late to equal her lifetime mark of 1:51 for trainer Linda Toscano. There were five lead changes among four leaders in the six-horse field: Cultured stepped around Daffled Hanover before the :27 quarter, then yielded to Zanatta, who in turn relinquished control to brushing favorite My Little Captain at the :54.3 half. My Little Captain kept the lead past the 1:22.2 three-quarters and well into the stretch; Zanatta couldn’t rally enough from the pocket, but Cultured could overhaul the pacesetter by half a length. JAF Racing LLC added a second PaSS win as co-owner with The Bay’s Stable LLC, Two Horseman Stable, and Fred Wallace.
In the first Sires section to go postward, the Stay Hungry filly Hungry For Love raced in the pocket as Always B Naughty tried for her fifth straight win while posting fractions of :27.2, :55.2, and 1:22.4. But Hungry For Love had enough power in the stretch to overhaul that rival by a neck in 1:50.3, with Odds On Hail Mary closing to be third, another neck behind. David Miller teamed with red-hot trainer Ron Burke (three wins on the day, all in stakes, and ten in three days in Eastern Pennsylvania) behind Hungry For Love, who is owned by Thomas and Scott Dillon.
The complementary Pennsylvania Stallion Series sections went gateward six-strong for their first prelim, with $20,000 on the line in each event. Sire Sweet Lou held the strong hand in this part of the afternoon’s action, siring four of the winners.
Two of the Sweet Lou-sired StS winners were favored; two were not. Decidedly not heavily bet was Dole Whip, who paid $97.80 to win as a pocket rocket who was along in 1:53.4 for driver Andrew McCarthy and Team Cancelliere – trainer Tom and owner John Cancelliere. 11-1 shot Sweet Phenomena was also successful as a pocket rocket while reducing her mark to 1:53 for driver Scott Zeron, trainer Nancy Takter, and the ownership of Howard Taylor and Chuck Pompey.
The two Sweet Lou fillies who lived up to their billing were Quick E, undefeated after four 2023 starts while equaling her mark to 1:52 as yet another successful two-holer for driver Todd McCarthy, trainer Brett Pelling, and the partnership of Let It Ride Stables Inc. and Bottom Line Racing LLC; and Butterfingers, who set the pace in lowering her lifetime best to 1:52.3 for driver Tim Tetrick and owner/trainer Michael Hall.
Stay Hungry added to his Sires laurel by siring the other two Stallion Series winners, who happened to be the two quickest StS victresses and who both teamed with driver Yannick Gingras and trainer Ron Burke. Late For Dinner used the familiar rally-from-the pocket tactic to drop her mark to 1:51.3 for owner W. J. Donovan, while the 2022 Stallion Series champion Nevertellmetheodds controlled the throttle in lowering her lifetime best to 1:51.4 for Burke Racing Stable LLC and Weaver Bruscemi LLC along with Kitefield Stable and Lawrence Karr.
There were also a pair of $20,000 Open handicap events on the power-packed Sunday card.
If South Beach Star isn’t careful, he may soon lose his title of “Most Underrated Pacer in Racing.” The Somebeachsomewhere gelding had won four straight (including a 1:48.2 victory over a good track at Pocono that still stands as the Co-Fastest Mile Of 2023 Not Paced At Philly On Super Sunday) before finishing second twice to the ruthless world champion Ruthless Hanover; today he regained his winning ways with a 1:49 triumph. David Miller rushed South Beach Star up to take over in a :27 opener, went on with him to midfractions of :54.3 and 1:22.1, then saw him sprint home in :26.4 with no urging in keeping pocketsitting Ultimaroca from getting no closer than a length. Mark Silva conditions the razor-sharp pacer for All Star Racing Inc.
On the trot, On Higher Ground and Amigo Volo were assigned the two outer starting slots, and they finished 1-2 in that order, with On Higher Ground notching his fourth straight win while holding off the late charge of the favored double millionaire by 1¼ lengths in 1:51.3. Joe Bongiorno guided the Cassis gelding, passing every post in front for trainer/sister Jenn and owner Robert Weinstein.
Harrah’s Philadelphia is currently racing on a four-day-a-week schedule, with racing on Wednesday through Friday beginning at 12:25 and Sunday’s action beginning at 12:40. Wednesday’s card will have a $3110.81 carryover in the Pick-5 pool beginning in race five. Program pages for all races at Harrah’s Philadelphia are or will be available at https://www.phha.org/harrahspps.html.