WILKES-BARRE PA – Driver Yannick Gingras guided both Sister Sledge and Queen Of The Hill to their third victories in an undefeated Pennsylvania Sire Stakes campaign on Monday at The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono, in the three-division $182,105 third round preliminary.
Sister Sledge had been regarded as the leader of the division at this point, and even though she went in 1:56.1 to Queen Of The Hill’s 1:55, she lost none of her luster. The daughter of Father Patrick – Behindclosedoors quarter-moved after a :29 opener, was allowed to get to the half in :59.3, then sprinted home in :56.3 - :27.4 in full control, with longshot Ginger Tree Bren coming on late to make the margin of victory 2½ lengths at the wire.
Sister Sledge is undefeated in five career starts, with the Sire Stakes joined by an Arden Downs win and a PA All-Stars win in which she took her mark of 1:53.4. Ron Burke trained his second Sires winner of the night for Sister Sledge’s ownership, Burke Racing Stable LLC and Weaver Bruscemi LLC, Jason Melillo, and J&T Silva – Purnel & Libby.
These two will have to contend with Sans Defaut, who won her second straight Sire Stakes start and matched the 1:55 clocking, fastest in this PaSS group so far, of Queen Of The Hill. The other Ron Burke trainee to win in this PaSS class on the card, the daughter of Muscle Hill- Flawless Lady made a move past a :28.2 quarter for driver Matt Kakaley and put up mid-race splits of :57.4 and 1:26.1 before defeating Solsbury Hill by 2½ lengths. Also a winner in PA All-Stars competition, Sans Defaut is owned by Burke Racing Stable LLC and Weaver Bruscemi LLC, Crawford Farms Racing, and J&T Silva- Purnel & Libby.
The only two-time Stallion Stakes winner before Monday, Caviart Giulia, went to Kentucky for an engagement and finished third last night, but Heart N Soul Deo and Rebecca Clark joined her in the Two-Time StS Winner Club. The Muscle Hill – Yursa Hanover filly Heart N Soul Deo is four-for-five lifetime after a convincing 2¼ length victory in 1:55 – as fast as the fastest Sires divisions went, and lowering her mark by two seconds. Tim Tetrick handled the winner for trainer Linda Toscano and the ownership of Thomas Pontone, Richard Gutnick, and Joseph Lozito Jr.
Rebecca Clark also reduced her own best time to 1:57.1, coming first-over and then holding off Eye On The Hill by a head. Two familiar names from the Sire Stakes report above – driver Yannick Gingras and trainer Per Engblom – were the braintrust behind the daughter of Muscle Hill – About To Bee for trainer Christina Takter, Goran Anderberg, Herb Liverman, and Bivans And Bruni Racing.
Tim Tetrick won a second StS division here with the Sebastian K S miss Next Level Stuff, who set the pace and broke her maiden in 1:55.4 for trainer Jim Campbell – with whom Tetrick teamed to win with Milles Possesion four hours earlier crosstate at The Meadows – and Runthetable Stables.
Driver Scott Zeron was sitting fourth-in with the Andover Hall – Miss Athens filly Miss Wilia at headstretch, and he had to decide which way to go. Then his decision was made for him: pacesetter Alittlebitofsugar stayed straight on the lead, Queso Fresco went to the Pocono Pike, and favored I’m Really Special moved outside – way outside while drifting. Zeron shot through the hole between horses just past midstretch, and Miss Wilia, although a maiden, knew what to do, finishing strongly for a 1:56.3 triumph for Scott’s father, trainer Rick Zeron, and owners Charles Receski and Thomas Brice.
The other StS section went to the Muscle Hill – Viva Las Lindy filly Hannah, who made a second move to brush to the lead down the backstretch, then stayed safe to reduce her record to 1:56.2. Team Orange Crush – trainer/wife Julie and driver/husband Andy Miller – combined for the win with Hannah for Andy Miller Stable Inc. and Dumain Haven Farm.
These PA-sired two-year-old trotting fillies will have their final preliminaries next week at The Meadows: Tuesday for the Stallion Series and Wednesday for the Sire Stakes.
FINISHING LINES -- Eric Irving, who has driven only sporadically in recent years, recorded his first driving victory since January 24, 2009 when he won with Rhyme N Roll by a nose and returned $65.80 to win.