CHESTER PA – A preview of next week’s Beal Trot eliminations at Pocono and the big jewel, the Hambletonian at The Meadowlands on August 3, was certainly on display during competition among Pennsylvania-sired three-year-old trotting colts at Harrah’s Philadelphia on Friday afternoon. Three divisions of the third preliminary round for the Sire Stakes and four sections of Stallion Series action produced many impressive winners.
Fastest of all, and the only horse to record two wins in the Sire Stakes division this year, was Osterc, 2018’s PA Sire Stakes champion and a winner in 1:52.2 to lower his lifetime mark by 2 3/5 seconds and miss Googoo Gaagaa’s divisional track record by a single tick.
The Cantab Hall colt out of Oh Oh Hereshecomes, a half-sister to millionaire The Wall, was used hard by driver Yannick Gingras to clear to the lead past a :27 quarter, but from there he remained in control, going to the half in :56.1 and the three-quarters in 1:24. The Christina Takter / Goran Falk homebred, a Hambletonian eligible, then kept favored Marseille at bay by 1¾ lengths.
The Muscle Hill colt out of Bluff, whose dam Blur was a $1M winner, now has four victories in six seasonal outings for Stroy Inc. and Andy Miller Stable Inc., trainer Julie Miller, and driver Andy Miller. Like Osterc, Summit In Sight is also eligible to the Beal, with that race’s eliminations being drawn Monday.
They were four-across in a seven-horse field for most of the other Sires section, with Guaranteed three- wide most of the way to the :28.3 quarter. The Muscle Hill colt then yielded the lead to Kate’s Massive, who had been four-wide much of the early battle, and the double Stallion Series winner took the field to the half of :57.2, then shook off the uncovered bid of Capt Chaps Hanover to the 1:25 three-quarters. But the wearying usage finally got to Kate’s Massive, with Guaranteed coming on in the stretch to take the lead, then hold off Macmorris Hanover by ¾ of a length in 1:55.1, with Kate’s Massive third.
Linda Toscano conditions the colt, unraced at two and now three-for-six, for Michael and William Pozefsky and Myron Ekstein; she knows a bit about the preparatory road for the Hambletonian, and might be finding herself on it again.
In the Stallion Series, the team of driver Andrew McCarthy, trainer Lucas Wallin, and owner Mario Mazza produced two winners, with the faster victor being Sheer Muscle, a Muscle Hill colt out of the mare Sheer Glide, the first foal out of the ¾ sister to Flex The Muscle ($900G+).
In only his third lifetime start, Sheer Muscle worked to the lead past a :28.3 quarter, then produce midrace splits of 57.1 and 1:24.4, holding his composure while rivals broke nearby, then went off to a 4¼ length victory over Foreverhillreign in 1:54, a lifetime mark. This colt was also kept eligible to the Hambletonian and the Beal despite a single winning start at two, and he is beginning to show the ability justifying his being paid in.
Team McCarthy/Wallin/Mazza came back to win a second Stallion Series section as the Muscle Hill colt Rock My Muscles laid off a contested pace that saw a different leader approaching the quarter (:28.1), half (:57.3), and three-quarters (1:25.4), coming on in the lane to overtake the first-over favorite Amador by 1¼ lengths while writing himself a new mark of 1:55.1. Rock My Muscles notched his first win of the season, and the strong mile may have started to alter the planning of trainer Wallin and owner Mazza for the Hambo eligible.
Those were just the stakes winners at Philly on Friday for Wallin/Mazza. They earned another win with driver McCarthy with the Trixton filly Queen Of Trixs, an Oaks eligible, in 1:55.3, and they also struck with a maiden in the Muscle Hill colt Muscle Star, whom Brian Sears guided to victory from the outside post eight in 1:57.2. He’s Hambletonian- and Beal-eligible, too.
The Explosive Matter gelding Chiplosive, after a second and a sixth in Sire Stakes action, may have used the drop to the StS to rejuvenate his Hambletonian hopes after winning by 2¾ lengths over Union Forces in 1:54.2. George Napolitano Jr., getting the catch-drive from trainer Trond Smedshammer, had the sophomore going to the lead after a :28.2 opener, then posted middle splits of :58 and 1:26 before coming home unthreatened for Purple Haze Stables LLC.
The only stakes winner on the day who is not Hambletonian-eligible is the Cantab Hall homebred colt Lindy’s Crazy Hall, who lowered his mark to 1:54.4 for trainer Domenico Cecere and Lindy Farms of Connecticut. Yannick Gingras got the colt, making his second start of the year after a second in the StS in his bow, to the lead just past a :27.1 initial fraction, then posted midrace splits of :57 and 1:24.4, holding off closing Prospect Hill by 4½ lengths.