The fortnight of Grand Circuit racing at The Red Mile gets underway with the Bluegrass Stakes for 2-year-old filly trotters on Thursday night. This group has had a remarkable season to this point with a bounty of talented debutantes re-writing the record books throughout the summer.
Three divisions of freshman fillies will race over the clay with the first split carded as Race 5 for a purse of $95,200. Several of the entrants have been in town for the Kindergarten Classic legs, including Anonyme Hanover who was a winner her last two in that series. The Explosive Matter lass has displayed an affinity for the surface but will have to move her game up appreciably to extend that skein given the caliber of Thursday's competition. Brett Miller will continue to drive for Burke Racing, Weaver Bruscemi LLC and Matt Kakaley.
Race 8 is the next stake with nine fillies dueling for $96,200. Cee Bee Yes is perhaps the most accomplished of this group with a win in the New Jersey Sires Stakes final heading her resume. The Muscles Yankee filly has won three of seven this season on her way to banking over $140,000 for Jason and Douglas Allen. Her personal best of 1:55.1 was taken over The Red Mile two weeks back. Julie and Andy Miller handle the training and driving duties.
The 10th and final race of the evening is clearly the most contentious, pitting the PA Sires champ Designed To Be against the brilliantly fast Cooler Schooner and Merrie Annabelle winner Shake It Cerry for $96,200.
Designed To Be has won half of her six career outings including a comfortable five-length romp in the $260,000 PA final in 1:54.3.The Donato Hanover filly is a winner of nearly $240,000 for Al Libfeld and Marvin Katz. She also resides in the Julie Miller barn and will have Andy aboard.
Cooler Schooner shocked the harness world with her transcendent 1:51.3 world record tour of Pocono Downs last month.The Broadway Hall fillyis wickedly fast and just might put upsome dazzling numbers over the clay carpet. John Campbell is her regular driver for trainer Jim Campbell and owner Fashion Farms.
Shake It Cerry has crowded a lifetime of accomplishment intoher short five race career thus far.The Donato Hanover filly is a homebred, raised and raced by the Solveig Partners and she got off to an astounding start at the Meadowlands this summer. She looked ferocious inher morning trials for trainer Jimmy Takter and waltzed to apair of Pennsylvania wins before capturing the Merrie Annabelle in a track and stakes record 1:53.3.
In her next start she caught the abovementioned buzz saw and followed Cooler Schooner under the wire, trotting her mile in 1:51.4 which would have sealed her reputation as one of the best freshman fillies of all time, if there wasn't another filly a length ahead of her. Most recently, Shake It Cerry went off stride while looking every bit a winner in the Peaceful Way eliminations at Mohawk. She looks to rebound here with her regular driver Ron Pierce listed for Thursday's race. (The Red Mile)