CHESTER PA – The Liberty Bell stakes series commenced its annual fall run at Harrah’s Philadelphia on Wednesday afternoon, with over $160,000 in purses offered to two-year-old fillies on both gaits.
There were three divisions for pacers, and the chalk won all three – though the heaviest favorite of all gave the crowd some tension before they could get their nickel profit for every win dollar bet. Grace Hill, second in her Pennsylvania Sire Stakes Championship behind Blue Diamond Eyes (who won the Kentucky program’s final this past Sunday) looked to be sailing along for driver Todd McCarthy after setting fractions of :28.2, :56.1, and 1:24.2.
Another filly with a distinguished pedigree as a half-sister to Huntsville, the Betting Line – Wild West Show miss Let ‘Er Buck, made two moves to control the throttle through splits of :28, :57.3, and 1:25.3, then turned back first-over Southwind Mina by 1¾ lengths in 1:53.4, a career best, for driver Mark MacDonald and owner/trainer Ray Schnittker.
The fastest winner was the Captaintreacherous – Miss Kitty Hanover filly Mackie Hanover, who sped right to the top from the outside post six and hung up numbers of :28, :57.1, and 1:24.3 en route to a three length triumph in a lifetime best 1:52.4. George Brennan, a four-time winner during the card, was in the sulky for trainer Tom Fanning and owners Howard Taylor and Falcon Racing LLC.
On the trotting side, it was finally the day for “the world’s richest maiden,” the Donato Hanover – Dream Child filly You Ato Dream, who had been second in all four of her PA Sire Stakes preliminaries and the Championship while earning $157,556. Here You Ato Dream worked her way to the lead for trainer/driver Jeff Gregory near the :28 quarter, put up midsplits of :57 and 1:25, then was kept to business to withstand potential pocket rocket May Karp in 1:54.2, a maiden mark. Jeff Gregory Inc. owns the talented miss with William Richardson, George Romanoff, and Martin Garey.
Donato Hanover earned a siring double when Wixx Hanover (dam: Whispering Wind) reduced her mark to 1:55.3 in the other section. With a filly who had shown both speed and shaky manners, driver George Brennan was in no hurry to rush the baby, letting her follow the early cover of favored Myreanna, who claimed the lead midway between the :28.1 quarter and the :57.2 half, and then claimed the top going to the midrace mark. From there Wixx Hanover had total command, reaching the three-quarters in 1:26 and going off to a three length victory over the chalk for trainer Roland Mallar, co-owner with Patrick Leavitt and William Hartt.