WILKES-BARRE PA – None of the first preliminary winners in the Pennsylvania Sire Stakes for three-year-old trotting colts was able to repeat in the PaSS second prelims, conducted over a sloppy track at The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono on Sunday night, during a big card which also featured Pennsylvania Stallion Series and Great Northeast Open Series (GNOS) competition.
PENNSYLVANIA SIRE STAKES
Explosive Breakaway, a full brother to Phaetosive, pushed favored Osterc to a :28 quarter then yielded for the pocket, and thus put himself in position to capitalize when Osterc made a break late on the far turn, going on to victory in 1:54.2. Summit In Sight, who had come uncovered from far back to challenge Osterc, got a brief lead when that rival broke, but the victorious Explosive Matter gelding had clear sailing up the inside and gained into the :56.2 back half to win by 2¾ lengths over Summit In Sight. Tom Jackson guided the winner for trainer Fred Grant, who shares ownership in the improving sophomore with Janice Rubin, Steve Katz, and Murray Brown.
White Tiger, a Muscle Massive gelding who was just a head off in second in his PaSS Championship last year and who tied the world record for his division at 1:55 here last season, won the third division of the Sire Stakes in 1:55.3 to remain undefeated in two seasonal starts. The Muscle Massive gelding quarter-moved and got a slow half of :58.4, then increased the tempo and withstood the late charge of pylonhugging Macmorris Hanover by ¾ of a length. David Miller drove the Andrew Harris trainee to his fifth lifetime win for Thestable White Tiger Group.
PENNSYLVANIA STALLION SERIES
Most impressive of the Stallion Series winners was last year’s StS Champion, Kate’s Massive, who has two StS victories this year and is perfect in three 2019 outings after a 1:54.4 triumph. Dave Palone, the world’s all-time winningest driver, was lured from western Pennsylvania just to drive this colt for trainer Kelly Paver, and the journey to Pocono proved worthwhile, as the Muscle Massive colt quarter-moved to control the throttle, then came home in 28.3 under mild encouragement to win by a half length for owner Harry Horowitz.
Lapped By Lindy joined Kate’s Massive as a double Stallion Series winner, making the lead past the quarter and then being just able to withstand a big late charge by Night Hall by a nose while lowering his speed record to 1:55. Andy Miller drove the Muscle Hill gelding for trainer/wife Julie and the partnership of Lindy Farms of Connecticut, Andy Miller Stable Inc., and George Green.
The Cantab Hall gelding Nextroundsonme was given a well-judged steer by Marcus Miller, then came on after a fast pace to catch favored Sheer Muscle while taking a new mark of 1:55 in another Stallion Series division. Jenny Melander trains the sophomore for Belmar Racing&Breeding LLC.
Trainer Andrew Harris, who won a Sire Stakes section with White Tiger, added a Stallion Series victory when 19-1 shot Blue And Bold came off of cover to track down Mass Fortune K by three parts of a length in 1:56.1 for the meet’s leading driver, George Napolitano Jr. After opening the year with two victories in his first three starts and then dropping three straight, Blue And Bold showed he may again be on the upside for A Harris Racing LLC and April Campbell.
The Andover Hall colt Finally Found Away opened the card with a victory in his seasonal bow, lowering his mark three seconds to 1:57. Pacesetter Lazzaro made a break at headstretch, with left the door open for pocketsitting Finally Found Away, and the sophomore took advantage of the luck to win by 1½ lengths for driver Corey Callahan, trainer Bob Stewart, and Bluestone Farms LLC.
GREAT NORTHEAST OPEN SERIES
In the $30,000 GNOS mares pace, Tequila Monday rebounded from a defeat at Philly after opening the year with six straight victories, winning in 1:50.2. The American Ideal mare was sent to the front by driver Tyler Buter and put up fractions of :26.2, :55.1, and 1:23, then, with the outer tiers stalling, found her only stretch challenge coming from pocketsitter Apple Bottom Jeans, and the winner of $853,462 withstood that one’s charge by ¾ of a length. Hunter Oakes trains Tequila Monday, the leader so far in her division’s GNOS pointstandings, for Northfork Racing Stable and Chuck Pompey.
In the $30,000 open trot, Crystal Fashion, the Beal Trot Championship winner here last year and the PA Sire Stakes Trotter of the Year, had an easy time of it, defeating Muscle Diamond by 2¼ lengths in 1:53. Tim Tetrick guided the Cantab Hall gelding to the lead in front of the grandstand, and the winner of $1,277,509 powered home in :56 to notch his first win of the year after a closing fourth in his 2019 debut (a GNOS race) and a half-length defeat in a Graduate leg. Jim Campbell trains the rock-solid winner for Fashion Farms LLC.