CHESTER PA – The John Simpson Sr. stakes for three-year-old colts, the Ayres for trotters and the Albatross for pacers, were each conducted in three $33,067 divisions on Wednesday afternoon at Harrah’s Philadelphia, with driver David Miller continuing his hot hand from Breeders Crown elimination weekend by piloting two of the successful pacers, while trainer/driver Åke Svanstedt accounted for a pair of the trotting winners.
Miller’s first winner was the only favorite among the six stakes and started a Sweet Lou gelding double, as Tru Lou followed up on his recent Liberty Bell stakes success by coming home first Wednesday in 1:50.2. Tru Lou made the front past the quarter and withstood stablemate Warrawee Veloce by 1¾ lengths to take his earnings to $114,092 for trainer Ron Burke and the partnership of Burke Racing Stable LLC and Weaver Bruscemi LLC, Knox Services Inc., and Slaughter Racing Stable LLC.
The third Albatross winner was also a pocket rocket, the American Ideal colt Ideal Perception, who came out of the golden seat to get a stretch lead and then withstand gritty first-over favorite Diamond Head by a neck in 1:51.4. George Napolitano Jr. drove the Andrew Harris trainee, who now has $131,444 on his card for the S S G Stables of McWicked fame.
A Svanstedt horse accounted for the fastest of the three divisions of the Ayres, as the Cash Hall gelding Coventry Hall dashed out to early command and widened his advantage throughout the last half, coming to the wire seven lengths ahead while taking a new speed badge of 1:52.4. Coventry Hall has now earned $105,055 for Enghavegaard Aalborg APS.
Svanstedt also was responsible for the biggest surprise in the day’s stakes, as 12-1 shot Harley K rallied up the inside to catch favored Rome Pays Off in 1:54.3. The altered son of Sebastian K S is owned by Knutsson Trotting Inc., Little E LLC, and Kenneth Kjellgren.
A pair who also did very well in the Breeders Crown elims – driver Dexter Dunn and trainer Nancy Takter – were the braintrust behind the Andover Hall gelding Paulie Walnuts, who took a long time to get to the lead but could not be dislodged thereafter while taking a new mark of 1:53.1. Howard Taylor’s sophomore was on his best behavior today and got the job done to make it two wins in his last three outings.
Also a part of the top-level action on this Wednesday card at Philly was a $14,400 distaff handicap pace, taken by the Betterthancheddar mare Shes Pukka N and driver Tony Morgan in 1:51.3. Shes Pukka N went away quickly, keeping Eclipse Me N outside until the quarter and forcing favored Machnhope to accept the three-hole, then sat the perfect pocket trip and rallied inside the pacesetter to catch her by a half length, with the chalk settling for third, another neck back. Shes Pukka N, a career winner of $171,241, is trained by Brian Malone for owner Peter Paul Venturini.