WILKES-BARRE PA – This looks like an extraordinary year for three-year-old trotting fillies (following on the heels of Joviality S vs. Jiggy Jog S last season), and many misses who will be racing on the Hambletonian Day card – in the Oaks or elsewhere – were on display Sunday night at Pocono Downs at Mohegan Pennsylvania, with the top level races two $70,649 second prelim divisions of the Pennsylvania Sire Stakes for this group.
One filly who may be mulling her options in just over a month is the Southwind Frank filly Bond, who ran her record to two-for-two this year and 9-for-11 lifetime while taking a new mark of 1:51.4, a fifth off the Pocono divisional track record. Trainer/driver Åke Svanstedt got the fleet filly to the top around main rival Railee Something by the eighth, was able to set fractions to her liking -- :27, :56.2, 1:24.3 – then when Railee Something start to make rallying noises behind her, Bond quickened her ground-covering, keeping her main rival a length behind her to the finish.
Oh, did we mention she still had the earplugs in when she came back to the winners circle?
Åke Svanstedt Inc. co-owns the winner with Little E LLC and L. Berg Inc. It will be interesting when Bond meets up with her heralded stablemate Special Way sometime, likely soon – and whether colts are in her/their eventual future.
Tim Tetrick, completing a 13-6-3-2 day in Eastern Pennsylvania (four wins at Philly, two here in four drives), teamed with trainer Marcus Melander, no stranger to the rarified air of top stakes competition, to win the other Sire Stakes division with favored Heaven Hanover in a new mark of 1:52.4.
Angelpedia led the field past the quarter in :27.1, yielded to Heart Of Fire in front of the stands then retook the lead just past the :56.2 half. Tetrick moved the winner first-over and was in gear by the 1:24.3 three-quarters, steadily wearing down Angelpedia for a half-length decision and a “Heaven-Angel” exacta. Heaven Hanover, the PA Stallion Series champion of 2022, also looks to have a bright future for the ownership of S R F Stable, Rick Wahlstedt, Heights Stable, and AMG Stable Inc.
The Sire Stakes yielded no repeat winner from the first leg, and in fact it took until the last race of Sunday’s card for the PA stakes to produce a two-time winner, in the form of the Andover Hall miss Lillehammer Hall, who lowered her mark to 1:55.3 in one of three $20,000 Stallion Series divisions. Mike Wilder sent Lillehammer Hall uncovered and the filly proved equal to the grinding challenge while remaining undefeated in five 2023 starts (after failing to hit the board in six outings at two) for trainer Todd Rooney and owner Kimberly Farmer.
Tim Tetrick’s other Pocono win came in the fastest StS cut behind the Southwind Frank distaff Lie In Wait, whose name described her tactics as she rallied late to reduce her life best to 1:54.3 for Runthetable Stables and trainer Jim Campbell (who won the Hambletonian and the Oaks last year). Also earning a new speed badge was the International Moni filly Lady Lira, who took control from the pole and kept the lead to the wire in 1:55.1 for driver Matt Kakaley, trainer Robert Baggitt Jr., and owner Mark Mullen.
In a $30,000 Open trot for the highest-caliber horses, Southwind Tyrion came roaring out of the pocket for trainer/driver Åke Svanstedt into a :27.1 last quarter to win in 1:51, the fastest trotting mile of the year at Pocono. Favored Hillexotic, off his 1:50.2 world record in the Maxie Lee Trot at Philly, got “pedestrian” fractions of :28, :56, and 1:23.4 and then turned on the jets, but Southwind Tyrion outjetted him late to win by three parts of a length.
A five-year-old son of Muscle Hill, Southwind Tyrion recorded his ninth lifetime victory in just his seventeenth lifetime start midway through his fourth eligible year of racing, having earned $346,047. He is owned by S R F Stable, Åke Svanstedt Inc., Knutsson Trotting, and Brittany Farms.
Racing continues at Pocono on Monday and Tuesday, with both cards having a 1 p.m. post time. Program pages for all Pocono races are or will be available at https://www.phha.org/downsmsppps.html.