Freshman trotting fillies got their first taste of Pennsylvania Sires Stakes action Friday at The Meadows, and that taste was sweetest of all for Livininthefastlane, who triumphed in a stake-fastest 1:56.1.
The event known as the Meadow Gladys was contested over seven divisions, with Kelsey's Keepsake, Gatka Hanover, Iluvmyjimmychoos, Sweet Thing, Wild Honey and Speak To Me taking the other splits. Brian Sears and trainer Julie Miller teamed for a pair of Meadow Gladys wins (Livininthefastlane, Kelsey's Keepsake), as did Yannick Gingras and trainer Jimmy Takter (Wild Honey, Speak To Me).
Livininthefastlane broke stride at the gate in the PA All Stars — her career debut — so Sears let her settle before moving her first-over.
"She raced really big last week but was a little hesitant at the gate and made a break,” Sears said. "But I had a lot of confidence in her, and she was pretty handy tonight. She's what I thought she is.”
She downed Jersey Strong by 1-1/2 lengths, with Annalina third. Marvin Katz, Al Libfield and Sam Goldband campaign the daughter of Donato Hanover-Nicole's Promise.
Iluvmyjimmychoos provided the most dramatic Meadow Gladys victory, charging through the Lightning Lane for Dave Palone to make up 2 lengths and score in 1:57 at first asking. April Rose was 3/4 lengths back in second while Byfleet Hanover completed the ticket.
"You don't want to hit the gas with these things too quick — they're just babies,” Palone said. "She felt good in the lines, but you never know how they'll react when you head them into the passing lane. She was a real professional — hit a big gear finishing.”
Nancy Johansson trains the daughter of Cantab Hall-Yankee Valentine for Crawford Partners and James Crawford.
Gatka Hanover captured her career debut in the PA All Stars and made it look even easier in the Meadow Gladys, scoring on the front end in 1:57.1 for Matt Kakaley, trainer Ron Burke and owners Burke Racing Stable, Our Horse Cents Stable, Tracy Hendler and Weaver Bruscemi LLC. Matter Hatter was second, 2-1/2 lengths in arrears, with Bright Baby Blues third.
"I didn't want to rush her,” Kakaley said of the daughter of Muscle Massive-Girlie Tough. "If anybody left, I would've just left them go and moved her to the front easy without getting her too worked up. Once she gets there, she's relaxed. She trotted 57 the back half easy as any horse can do it.”
In the $20,000 Winners Over $10,000 Life/Preferred Handicap Pace, Pop Cop shot the Lightning Lane to score in 1:51.1 for Aaron Merriman and owner/trainer Bill Bercury. D Mac was second, 1/2 length back, with the pace-setting Windsong Jack third. The 5-year-old Bettor's Delight-Pop Queen gelding extended his career bankroll to $221,627.
Dan Rawlings drove three winners on the 15-race program.
Live racing at The Meadows resumes Monday, when the card features an $80,000 Pennsylvania Stallions Series stake for 2-year-old colt and gelding trotters. First post is 12:55 PM. (The Meadows)