WILKES-BARRE PA – The best of the Pennsylvania-sired babies came in for their closeup on Saturday afternoon at The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono, racing in four $253,000 Pennsylvania Sire Stakes Championships, with a $50,000 consolation event also for the two-year-olds in each division of sex and gait.
And after studying the sterling forms of the entrants, it turned out that all you needed to know about the Championships was this: bet Åke Svanstedt in the trots, and bet the team of driver David Miller and trainer Ron Burke in the paces.
Here is a summary of how all of the action went:
Svanstedt pupils were 1-2-3 early in this Championship, with Johan Palema (driver Dexter Dunn; not coupled with the other two because Åke owns no part of him) on the lead, Fly Light (Andy Miller) second, and Captain Corey third under Svanstedt’s control. They sat that way through fractions of :27.1 and :57, then Svanstedt pulled Captain Corey (a Googoo Gaagaa – Luv U All colt) out raw at the 5/8 to challenge, with second choice (and leading prelim pointwinner) In Range advancing to second-over. Past the 1:25 three-quarters Fly Light made a break in the two-hole, bothering several other horses; by this time Captain Corey had moved to within a head of his frontstepping stablemate, with In Range right behind.
Through the stretch Captain Corey maintained his long and powerful strides, reaching the wire two lengths ahead of In Range in 1:53.3, with Johan Palema another length back in third. An inquiry was posted to look into the incident on the far turn, but Captain Corey was not affected.
The time eclipsed by a fifth the stake record set by Real Cool Sam last year, and lowered his own season’s record. Captain Corey is now undefeated in four lifetime starts, three PaSS elims and this Championship, and he boosted his earnings to $264,563. Svanstedt (as Åke Svanstedt Inc.) co-owns the winner with S R F Stable, Knutsson Trotting Inc., and Midnight Sun Partners Inc. It would be surprising if more is not heard from this colt.
Consolation: The Cantab Hall – Jolie De Vie gelding Jack Fire had bad luck in the first half, three-wide much of the first quarter, then going first-over, but then he had good luck when he was trying to clear favored pacesetter Bacardi and that one broke, letting him go to an easy lead and winning in a lifetime best 1:56.1 for driver Andrew McCarthy, trainer Nifty Norman, and the ownership of Pinske Stables and Curly Tall Curly Small.
TWO-YEAR-OLD TROTTING FILLIES
Like her stablemate Captain Corey, the Southwind Frank – Aleah Hanover filly Flawless Country found herself third early in the backstretch – but she took a very different route home, though producing the same result.
Flawless Country actually had the lead at the ¼ in :27.3, but the second quarter saw first Gimme Shelter and then Anoka Hanover make their way to the top, the latter in front at the :56.1 half. Svanstedt kept Flawless Country inside as You Ato Dream, the leading prelim pointwinner with four PaSS seconds, attacked towards the 1:25.1 three-quarters, with pocketsitter Gimme Shelter following the first-over outside as she gained a small advantage nearing headstretch.
This move gave Svanstedt room to maneuver Flawless Country to the Pocono Pike, and the baby filly responded to the challenge like a seasoned pro, quickly kicking in gear to beat out the unfortunate You Ato Dream (if a maiden with earnings of $157,556 can be considered “unfortunate”) by a neck, with Anoka Hanover another 2½ lengths back in third.
Flawless Country started her career finishing second in photo decisions, and since has won four in a row, swelling her earnings to $263,496 for Åke Svanstedt Inc., Wolfgang A Table inc., and Borje Nasstrom.
Consolation: The Cantab Hall – Evermore filly May Karp was moved to the lead in front of the stands by driver Dexter Dunn and left her field far in arrears while taking a new mark of 1:55.4. Third in her only Sire Stakes start and coming off two Stallion Series victories, May Karp is at the peak form of her young career for trainer Lucas Wallin and Shermay Stables.
TWO-YEAR-OLD PACING COLTS
Both of the Svanstedt winners were crowd favorites, as was the colt winner in the Miller/Burke sweep, the Always B Miki – Gambler’s Passion gelding Southwind Gendry, who won in off-the-pace fashion in 1:51.3.
Bayfield Beach led the field to the quarter in a sharp :26, with Always A Miki, the top pointwinner and second betting choice, going to the lead in front of the stands and slowing the half to :55.3. Chase H Hanover, who tucked fourth early from the outside post nine, came up to pressure the leader, passing the three-quarters in 1:23.4 and carrying the fight around the turn – until Always A Miki made a break nearing headstretch, briefly bothering Bayfield Beach.
Chase H Hanover continued on after his rival’s misfortune, but Southwind Gendry, who had been on his back most of the way, went wide and was the fresh horse late. Chase H Hanover was 1½ lengths behind the winner and a length ahead of a recovering Bayfield Beach.
So far Southwind Gendry’s scorecard shows four wins, two breaks, and $217,144 in earnings for Burke Racing Stable LLC, Phil Collura, Knox Services Inc., and J&T Silva- Purnel & Libby, with a lot of the stakes trail still to go.
Consolation: Favored Whichwaytothebeach, setting the pace, looked like he might be under siege by a sweeping Sweet Angel Boy at headstretch, but that one ran in in early stretch and lost momentum straightening away, leaving the Somebeachsomewhere – Swinging Beauty colt able to retain his lead to the wire, stopping the clock in 1:52.1. Marcus Miller drove the winner for trainer Roland Mallar and owners Alan Johnston and John Craig.
TWO-YEAR-OLD PACING FILLIES
The Captaintreacherous – Aria Hanover filly Blue Diamond Eyes was the only non-favorite to win a two-year-old Championship, but at 4-1 she was hardly overlooked, and she opened some eyes with a victory in 1:51, equaling the stakes record of Pure Country and also the national season’s record.
As was the case in the other filly Championship, there was plenty of early activity, with Blue Diamond Eyes on top at the :27.3 quarter, but then having pointleader Marsala Hanover and then favored Grace Hill go by her before a :55.1 half. Continualou, one of four Burke entrants in the race went first-over and was within a length of the leader at the 1:23.1 three-quarters; after she backed off, Marsala Hanover moved outside, giving the room for Blue Diamond Eyes to go to the Pocono Pike.
Blue Diamond Eyes took full advantage of the inner route, going past Grace Hill by ¾ of a length, with Thebeachiscalling gaining inside the winner in the Pike to take third ahead of Marsala Hanover.
Blue Diamond Eyes now has three wins and a second in six starts, a new record, and earnings of $191,542 for Thomas and Scott Dillon.
Consolation: Trainer Nifty Norman, driver Dexter Dunn, and the Pinske Stables collected a second consolation victory when the Somebeachsomewhere – Fit To Frame filly Fire Start Hanover forced favorite Mackie Hanover to work hard to clear for the lead at the half, then came back in the lane to pass that rival and win while taking a new speed badge of 1:52.3. The Pinske Stables’ partners in this filly are David Hoese and Lawrence Means.
The three-year-old Pennsylvania-sired stars will be at Harrah’s Philadelphia Sunday afternoon for their Championships and consolations. On Monday The Meadows will host the Stallion Series Championships, as Labor Day Monday afternoon will find no fewer than four Pennsylvania tracks in operation during the afternoon: pari-mutuel tracks Pocono, Philly, and The Meadows, and also the Bloomsburg Fair.