CHESTER PA – After three preliminaries of the Pennsylvania Sire Stakes for three-year-old pacing colts, there are no repeat winners, as on Wednesday afternoon at Harrah’s Philadelphia, Layton Hanover and Energetic Hanover emerged victorious in their respective $69,179 divisions.
Layton Hanover couldn’t be a repeat winner because his victory was the first of his 2022 season, but he’s picking a good time to get sharp. On a hot day and over a speedy and speed-favoring racing surface, Matt Kakaley sent the Captaintreacherous gelding to the lead before the :27 quarter, got a mild rest to a :55.3 half, then sped up considerably to the 1:22.2 three-quarters. In the lane it was pocketsitter Dancin Sancho, a double Stallion Series winner stepping up, who extended him, but Layton Hanover held off his inside bid by a head in 1:51, lowering his mark by almost three seconds. Favored Hammering Hank, in his seasonal debut, did not have great cover, but he came home in :27 against the bias to be third, another three-quarters of a length back.
Layton Hanover had had a fourth and a third in his previous Sires starts, so he should be in a good position to make the Championship on September 3 at The Meadows. Travis Alexander is training the winner for Fiddler’s Creek Stables LLC, D’Elegance Stable IX, T L P Stable, and Carmen Iannacone.
The betting was all over the board in the leadup to the second division, but the plurality of punters finally settled on the right horse – the gelding Energetic Hanover, who gave sire Captaintreacherous a sweep in the Sire Stakes. Energetic Hanover and driver Todd McCarthy sat fourth as JM’s Finaltreasure started off with fractions of :27 and :55.4, then followed Atlas Hanover out to be in second-over position as that foe challenged the leader to a 1:22.4 three-quarters. In the stretch Atlas Hanover gained the lead, but Energetic Hanover was, well, energetic, taking the lead and then holding off the late bid of PJ Lou by a neck in 1:51.1, his fastest-ever mile. PJ Lou, who had been in the pocket, backed out and wide around the winner to get the deuce, just ahead of Atlas Hanover.
Unraced at two, Energetic Hanover has now won four of his last seven for trainer Brett Pelling and the ownership of David Mc Duffee, Melvin Hartman, Steven Arnold, and Paul Bordogna. He had been sixth in his only other PaSS race.
On the Stallion Series side, a familiar theme – the dominance of Sweet Lou – was again in evidence, as sons of the sire took all four $20,000 divisions.
Code Cracker is still perfect after three Stallion Series clashes, on Wednesday setting all the pace en route to reducing his mark to 1:51.2 while winning by over six lengths. Yannick Gingras drove the sharp gelding, home first in four of his last five, for trainer Ron Burke and the partnership of Burke Racing Stable LLC and Weaver Bruscemi LLC, Michelle Yanek, and Phil Collura.
Trainer Jennifer Bongiorno accounted for two StS victories. The gelding Boston moved his Stallion Series record to two-for-two while equaling his mark of 1:52 for driver Dexter Dunn and owners Glenn Goller and Stephen Demeter while withstanding Bay City by a half-length. Then the gelding Threshold, parked the mile in his other StS attempt, didn’t have it too much easier here, having to go first-over, but he still got the job done in 1:52.1, a new mark. Rocknroll Gold was a half-length behind the winner, who was driven by David Miller for JB Racing, John Lengacher, Barbara Bongiorno Stable LLC, and J R & Collin Ryan.
A final Stallion Series cut saw Jo Pa’s Warrior, sixth in a Sire Stakes and then second in an StS contest, find winning stakes form, quarter-moving to command and then withstanding Good Deal by a half-length while equaling his lifetime speediest clocking of 1:52.1. Tim Tetrick drove the colt for trainer Jim Campbell and Emposimato Stables.
A final note: Hammering Hank, winner of the 2021 Stallion Series Championship, was third in a Sire Stake race, and True Blue Lindy, winner of the 2021 Sire Stakes Championship, was third in a Stallion Series contest.
The “Trottin’ Thursday” card at Harrah’s Thursday includes a $22,500 handicap event with Yanks Dugout, fresh off a win in the #senditin Open on the track’s Super Sunday program, facing a tough assignment in the outside post eight for driver Yannick Gingras and trainer Ron Burke. Program pages are available at https://www.phha.org/harrahspps.html.