WILKES-BARRE PA – Yannick Gingras drove the winners of both divisions of the $148,148 third preliminary of the Pennsylvania Sire Stakes for three-year-old pacing fillies on Sunday evening at Pocono Downs at Mohegan Pennsylvania.
The Betting Line filly C Is For Cookie, who swept the Weiss Series earlier here and also won an PA All-Stars event, is now 6-for-6 for the year at Pocono after becoming the only double divisional Sire Stakes winner after her 1:50 victory, which gave her a new mark. C Is For Cookie took the field to a :26.1 quarter, then sat behind My Little Captain and Cultured, both in tight quarters off the first bend, as they slugged it out in front of the stands, with the favored Cultured three-wide much of the 3/8 and only on top at the :53.4 half.
Before the 1:21.2 three-quarters had been reached, Gingras and C Is For Cookie were back on the move, and in the stretch she went to the lead then held off My Little Captain in the Pocono Pike by 1¼ lengths. The Linda Toscano-trained filly is owned by Birnam Wood Farms.
The other Sire Stakes division went a tick quicker, as Gingras again used rallying tactics to reduce the mark of the Always B Miki filly Always B Naughty to 1:49.4. Unsuccessful after leading at the stretch calls in her two previous PaSS outings, Always B Naughty sat just off a pace argued by Odds On Hail Mary (:26.3) and Front Page Story (:54.3), then moved up raw to a 1:22.2 three-quarters.
Always B Naughty was the fresh horse late, winning by 2½ lengths over favored Odds On Hail Mary for trainer Nancy Takter, who is also co-owner with J L Benson Stables Inc. and R.B.H. Ventures Inc.
Four of the five horses succeeding in the Stallion Series reduced their career bests, with three StS winners sired by Sweet Lou, including the only two double series winners, who also happened to be the only two favorites to win in the night’s stakes action.
The quicker of the two Sweet Lous with two StS triumphs was also the only of all the Stallion Series winners to win by more than a neck: Quick E, now 5-for-5 in 2023 after a 1:51.2 mile for driver Todd McCarthy, trainer Brett Pelling, and the partnership of Let It Ride Stables Inc. and Bottom Line Racing LLC. Breaking the string of new marks, but only by the slimmest of margins, was the double winner Butterfingers, whose 1:52.4 win was a fifth slower than her mark; Tim Tetrick handled her while winning by a head for owner/trainer Michael Hall.
Completing the Sweet Lou Sunday success story was How Sweet Is That, coming from third-in to win by a neck in 1:53 for driver Andrew McCarthy, trainer Robert Cleary, and owners Oompa’s Farm Inc., Robert Mondillo, Craig Henderson, and Richard Gutnick.
Fastest Stallion Series winner was the one with the smallest winning margin: Racin Hungry, a Stay Hungry filly who came off a fast three-quarters to take a nose decision in 1:50.1 for driver Joe Bongiorno, trainer/sister Jenn, and owners Glenn Goller and Stephen Demeter. In the other Stallion Series race, 41-1 shot Duchess Hill was not fancied to come home in :26.4 and take a neck decision in 1:53.1, but the Betting Line filly did just that for driver Dexter Dunn, trainer Chris Ryder, and owner Eric Good.
Racing will continue on Monday and Tuesday at 1 p.m. at Pocono Downs. Program pages for all Pocono races are or will be available at https://www.phha.org/downsmsppps.html.