CHESTER PA – The Liberty Bell stakes series, for fast Pennsylvania-sired two and three-year-olds, began a run of two stakes a day for the eight divisions on Sunday afternoon at Harrah’s Philadelphia, with two-year-old fillies on both gaits contesting three $30,000 events.
Driver Simon Allard, who was in the right place at the right time all day (usually on or near the lead) in winning six races, combined with trainer Jessica Fallon to win two of the trio of contests for trotters. The faster winner was the Father Patrick – Gin And Lindy miss Lindys Irishcream, who went right to the lead and trotted strongly to victory in 1:55.4, a new mark. Since coming to Pennsylvania from Ontario four starts ago, Lindys Irishcream has three victories, all in stakes, for owners Tim Klemencic and Blake MacIntosh.
Team Allard/Fallon/Klemencic/MacIntosh opened the card by winning with the International Moni – Miss Anthem distaff Foolish Moni, who also used pacesetting tactics in a 1:57.3 triumph. Like her stablemate a recent traveler from Ontario to Pennsylvania, Foolish Moni has now posted two triumphs in three tries in the Keystone State. Foolish Moni went off as the second choice; Lindys Irishcream was the favorite in her event.
The third trotting section did not hold up to form, as 13-1 shot Planter’s Punch saved much ground during a duel among several horses, then was moved clear by driver Tyler Miller and took a new mark of 1:57.3. Team Orange Crush, who won two of the big-money finals in the Kentucky program during the afternoon, also posted a victory on “the home front,” as Tyler’s mom Julie Miller trains the daughter of Bar Hopping – Cloud Dancer for Willow Oak Ranch.
The pacing sections were, like the trotting races, won by a favorite, a second choice, and a longshot. Both gaits had victories by a half length and three-quarters of a length; the third trotting division produced a 1¾ lengths margin, while the other pacing cut was won by “only” 1½ lengths.
But the 1½ length winner, the Captaintreacherous – My Little Delight filly My Little Captain, looked like she could have won by a bigger distance, as driver Art Stafford Jr. only gave her one tap with the whip in the stretch to ensure her front-end 1:53.4 victory. My Little Captain, who was a heavy favorite, now has five wins and two seconds in seven starts, three of them Pennsylvania Sire Stakes triumphs, for trainer Andrew Stafford and EVM Racing LLC.
Belterra was a 1-1 second choice in her Liberty Bell event, but she proved the crowd wrong by going to the lead early and staying strong while taking a mark of 1:53.1. This was the third win in six races for the Stay Hungry – Studio One filly, who was driven by George Napolitano Jr. for trainer Robert Cleary and Royal Wire Products Inc.
The third pacing section produced the mutuel upset – although the long-memoried knew that driver Victor Kirby and trainer Nifty Norman have on several occasions combined to produce longshot winners, going back to Bee Forever winning the 2020 Valley Victory and as recently as August 25 at Philly with $109.60 upsetter Romantic Evening. And indeed here was the Heston Blue Chip – Moonlight Spin miss Romantic Evening again, having raced only once since her bombshell triumph, again lighting up the board at $49.40 in her patented come-from-behind style. The filly took a new mark of 1:52.3 in winning for Let It Ride Stables Inc. and Bottom Line Racing LLC.
The rest of the Liberty Bell stakes schedule will be the features for next week as Harrah’s goes to its three-day-a-week fall schedule: two-year-old trotters on Thursday, freshman colt pacers and sophomore filly trotters on Friday, and then three-year-old pacers next Sunday. There also will be an $1811.83 carryover into Thursday’s first race Pick-4 bet. Program pages are or will be available at https://www.phha.org/harrahspps.html.