WILKES-BARRE PA – It required a photo to decide all three divisions of the Pennsylvania Sire Stakes second preliminary round Sunday night at The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono, and the closest finish was in the third section, as JK First Lady rebuffed Sweet Ace by a head in 1:54.1.
The Western Ideal filly JK First Lady came into the race with obvious credentials – her dam is 2014 Horse of the Year JK She’salady, and coming to the mountains she was 2-for-2 in Kindergarten Series races at The Meadowlands, including her last race when she came home in 1:22.2 to win in 1:51.3. That kind of quick back speed was again in evidence in the Sire Stakes, as early on Sweet Ace, whose 1:50.4 first round Sires win is still the fastest mile by a freshman under any circumstances this year, got to the lead in a pedestrian :28.4, with Yannick Gingras moving “First Lady” after that point to get the lead and reach the half in an even more pedestrian :58.4.
The sprint started down the backstretch, with first-over Speak To Siri coming on and a :28 third quarter resulting, but after the 1:26.4 three-quarters there came an even more serious challenge in the stretch from Sweet Ace, who gradually angled clear and hit a very high gear. But JK First Lady still had a :27.2 kicker in her to complete the hard-fought victory for trainer Nancy Johansson and the 3 Brothers Stables (who also were the braintrust behind JK She’salady).
The other Sire Stakes cut saw the Captaintreacherous – Rocklamation filly Rocknificent swing out of the pocket at headstretch, get past pacesetter Shouldabeenatd (a first round Sire Stakes winner), then hold off Pocono Pike shooter Lyons Sentinel (also an earlier Sires winner) during back fractions of :55.2 – 27.1, with Shouldabeenatd third. Tim Tetrick drove the winner, who equaled her mark previously taken in a Kindergarten event, for trainer Linda Toscano and the ownership of Enviro Stables LTD, South Mountain Stables, and Little E LLC.
The only repeat winner in the night’s PA-sired action was the Stallion Series winner Aplomp Hanover, who won her fourth straight race, including an StS contest at The Meadows, with the 1:53.3 time both a lifetime quickest and the fastest Stallion Series section.
David Miller brushed the Artspeak – A Pippin Hanover filly to the lead in front of the stands, then stepped her home in :27.3 to rebuff pocketsitter The Party’s Rockin (also a Meadows StS winner) by a half length for trainer Kevin Lare and owner Frank Chick, who are combining for an excellent year with baby pacing fillies.
In addition to siring Sires winner Beyond Ecstasy, Somebeachsomewhere earned three siring credits in the Stallion Series competition. The first one was the longest price of all the night’s stakes races, $29.80, and the one winning by the biggest margin, two lengths -- Coral Reef Hanover, a daughter of Clef Sign Hanover. The filly made a big sweeping move from sixth mid-backstretch to the lead on the final turn, then stayed clear in taking a new mark of 1:55.3 for driver Mike Wilder and trainer/father-in-law Dan Altmeyer, the latter co-owner with Richard Kelson, Lone Wolf Stable, and the Walter Gesek Stable.
The other two Somebeachsomewhere winners were Alexis’s Beach (out of Marinade Hanover), who is now perfect in two purse starts after an engine triumph in a new mark of 1:53.4, ¾ of a length ahead of previous StS winner Shotgun Persuasion, for driver David Miller, trainer Brett Pelling, and owner Melvin Segal; and Keystone Eureka (out of Sir Erika Z Tam), who rallied wide on the final turn to nose out PA fair star Dream Dancing, who had been hung the mile, by a nose for driver Tim Tetrick, trainer Ryan Miller, and the Miller Racing Stable Inc. while breaking her maiden in 1:54.1.
The other Stallion Series winner was the Captaintreacherous – Allamerican Coed miss Arden Hanover, who also broke her maiden here, rallying in the Pocono Pike to catch BFF Hanover by a neck in 1:54.4 for driver Tyler Buter and trainer Mark Harder, the latter co-owner with Joseph Jannuzzelli.