CHESTER PA – Trainer Ron Burke and driver Yannick Gingras each had three wins in Pennsylvania Sire Stakes second preliminary round action for two-year-old trotting fillies Friday afternoon on a hot day at Harrah’s Philadelphia, with the pair combining twice, including with the fastest divisional winner, Sister Sledge.
The Father Patrick – Behindclosedoors miss Sister Sledge won a Sire Stakes in his first purse start, then caught the eye of many when she followed by winning a Pennsylvania All-Stars division in 1:53.4 – the fastest time of the year by any baby trotter, regardless of sex or size of track. On Friday Gingras let her work her way to the top past a :28 opener, get a :58 rest to the half, pick up the pace to 1:26.4 at the three-quarters, then scooted home with her in :28.2 to complete the 1:55.1 package, holding off Sherry Lyns Lady, also a PaSS winner earlier, by a confident length.
The other Gingras-Burke team victory was with the debutante Crucial, another daughter of Father Patrick out of Jolene Jolene, who also raced on the lead, then was extended through the stretch by Word Of Honor. The latter popped out of the pocket at headstretch and fought hard only to miss by a nose, though Crucial was only under mild encouragement in her bow. The successful freshman, who had prepped with two winning qualifiers, is owned by much of the same team as Sister Sledge: Burke Racing Stable LLC and Weaver Bruscemi LLC, W J Donovan, and J&T Silva- Purnel & Libby.
The third member of the Burke Brigade to get home first was the Muscle Hill – Flawless Lindy filly Sans Defaut, who had by far the toughest trip of the three, yet still was successful in 1:57 to follow up an All-Stars victory with another stakes triumph. Sans Defaut (“flawless” in French) was spotted fourth before the quarter by driver Matt Kakaley, then had to come first-over, but she grinded to the stretch lead, then held off 30-1 shot Decoy by ¾ of a length. The bulk of her ownership is a group of which you have already read quite a bit – Burke Racing Stable LLC and Weaver Bruscemi LLC, Crawford Farms Racing, and J&T Silva – Purnel & Libby.
Gingras’ third Sire Stakes success came behind the Explosive Matter – Flyer Mel filly Queen Of The Hill, another two-time PaSS winner after leaving swiftly and controlling the tempo, then winning by 4¼ lengths while lowering her speed mark to 1:57.1, last half :58.1. Per Engblom trains the talented juvenile for owner Al Libfeld.
The other stakes division produced a $64.40 upsetter in the Muscle Hill – Kadealia filly Sorella, a breaker in her purse bow, but here flat and coming her own last half in :57.2 to win in 1:58, two lengths clear of the opposition. Crawford Farms Racing, who was co-owner on an earlier Sires winner, partners with Elmer Fannin on this filly