WILKES-BARRE PA – Sister Sledge trotted the fastest mile of 2019 by a freshman when she won one of five $30,000 divisions of Pennsylvania All-Stars action for two-year-old trotting fillies in 1:53.4 on the Tuesday twilight card at The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono.
A daughter of freshman colt track recordholder Father Patrick out of the $580,000+-winning Behindclosedoors, Sister Sledge tucked behind a :27.2 early duel between Ms Savannah Belle and Solsbury Hill, then moved uncovered towards the :56.4 half. Ms Savannah Belle (Jimmy Takter driving) put up a good fight along the inside to the 1:25.1 three-quarters and through the turn, but in the stretch Yannick Gingras sat calmly in the sulky as his powerful horse drew away to a 4 1/2 length victory for trainer Ron Burke and the ownership of Burke Racing Stable LLC and Weaver Bruscemi LLC, Jason Mellilo, and J&T Silva- Purnel & Libby.
Sister Sledge, the only favorite to win in these All-Stars events, won three qualifiers at Gaitway, the last in 1:55.2, before making her purse bow with a 1:56.2 win in a Pennsylvania Sire Stakes last Tuesday. Her clocking eclipsed the fastest time by a freshman filly, 1:55.1 by Love A Good Story at Tioga, and even eclipsed the 1:54.3 put up by the colt Play Trix On Me at The Meadowlands.
Trainer Burke also had the second-fastest All-Star winner in Sans Defaut, who overcame the outside post nine in 1:55.2, stepping home in 28 from the pocket for driver Matt Kakaley to outrush pacesetter Never Content by 1¼ lengths. A daughter of Muscle Hill out of Fearless Lindy who was third in a Sire Stakes in her purse debut, Sans Defaut (whose name translate from the French to “flawless”) crossed the wire first for the first time for many of the owners of Sister Sledge – Burke Racing Stable LLC and Weaver Bruscemi LLC along with J&T Silva- Purnel & Libby – with Crawford Farms Racing also sharing ownership of Sans Defaut.
Team Orange Crush – trainer Julie and husband/driver Andy – also tallied with two All-Stars winners, and like Burke they had a Father Patrick and a Muscle Hill win for them. Their successful daughter of Muscle Hill, out of Anonyme Hanover, was the 1:55.4 winner Aldabra Hanover, who had horses coming at her throughout the mile, including favored Jula Beauty AM on the far turn, but that one broke in the lane and wound up 3¼ lengths behind Aldabra Hanover. The filly won a PA Sires contest in her purse debut, and here lowered her mark by over two seconds for Stroy Inc. and Andy Miller Stable Inc.
Team Orange Crush’s Father Patrick winner was Word Of Honor, out of Honor Thy Daughter, who was hard used to get the lead but then maintained it to the wire, coming home in :28.3 to finish out a 1:57.1 mile in her purse bow (she had a 1:57.2 qualifying win), a length to the good of Context. Brittany Farms LLC, Marvin Katz, and Al Libfeld share ownership in the winner.
The Father Patrick – Tail Of Night miss Do You Wanna Dance made every pole a winning one in her cut, but she had to put in successive back quarters of :28.3 to withstand favored pocketsitter Knockdown Dragout by a neck in 1:55.3, lowering her race mark by 3 3/5 seconds. Corey Callahan had the driving assignment from trainer John Butenschoen for owners William Wiswell, Jean Goehlen, and Eugene Schick.
FINISHING LINES – Six divisions of All-Star colts averaged 1:56.2 win times Monday night; on Tuesday, only slightly warmer, the fillies averaged 1:55.3 … The week’s claiming activity (15 for $326,250) pushed the Pocono seasonal totals over 300 claims and over $6,000,000 in transactions for sharp racehorses.