CHESTER PA – The heavy favorites both took it on the chin in two divisions of the second preliminary round of the Pennsylvania Sire Stakes for two-year-old trotting colts on Thursday afternoon at Harrah’s Philadelphia.
First to fall was Global Pandemic, who had won a Tompkins-Geers stake and a Pennsylvania All-Stars contest before finishing second to early divisional leader Keg Stand in a 1:55.1 division of the first Sires leg. Here the 1-5 favorite moved to the lead after a :28.4 quarter and set middle fractions of :58.1 and 1:27, but lurking in the pocket was the Explosive Matter – Blintz gelding Kosher Mahoney, and it was that baby who proved to have the most in the stretch, going right by by 1¾ lengths while lowering his mark to 1:56.1. Tim Tetrick drove the 4-1 second choice to the victory for trainer Symon Spicer and owner Eli Beiler.
As soon as S I P and Yannick Gingras found stretch room between horses, it was apparent the favorite was beaten, and S I P went on to a three-quarters of a length victory over Double Deceiver, with Keg Stand fading to fifth and last (though beaten only 2¼ lengths). S I P thus becomes the only double Sires winner in this group to date for trainer Ron Burke and the ownership of Burke Racing Stable LLC and Weaver Bruscemi LLC along with Hatfield Stables and Brixton Medical Inc.
Form looked like it may be taking a stakes holiday all day as the first two divisions of the Stallion Series action also resulted in upsets. The regally-bred Patrick Hanover (Father Patrick – Passionate Glide) went wire-to-wire from the outside starting spot in 1:57 in his division, rewarding his backers at a 12-1 price and rewarding his braintrust – driver Andy Miller, trainer/wife Julie Miller, and owners Pinske Stables, David J. Miller, and Lawrence Means – with a maiden victory.
Another David Miller, the Hall of Fame horseman, guided the other two winners, including 9-2 shot Khal Drogo, who was as fierce as his Game Of Thrones character’s namesake, coming home in :56.2 uncovered to win by open lengths in 1:57. Khal Drogo, a son of Andover Hall – Mariah Dancer, finally showed good manners after breaking in his first two purse races, and the colt showed plenty of talent as well for trainer Brett Ecker and Silver Bullet Stable.
Khal Drogo won the tenth race, and a storm came through southeast Pennsylvania just as the field was going to the start in race eleven, with the result that you couldn’t see most of that contest. The weather went back to calm, and a favorite finally won in the last stakes action of the day, race twelve’s StS section, as the Donato Hanover – Hollybrook Lane gelding Oh Boy, coming off a second in a Stallion Series race, was the last to the top in a rapidfire midrace sequence of lead changes. He then came his last half in :58 to break his maiden in 1:59 over the now-sloppy surface for trainer Jason Shaw and owner Tammy Carter.
Racing resumes on Thursday at Philly, with the 12:25 card featuring the usual assortment of quality stock on the track’s traditional “Trottin’ Thursday.” Program pages are available at https://www.phha.org/harrahspps.html.