Native Bride sat well off the dueling leaders, then launched a powerful uncovered move that carried her to victory in a track record 1:50.1 in a division of a $208,760 Pennsylvania Sire Stakes for 3-year-old pacing fillies yesterday at The Meadows.
The stake, known as the Romola Hanover, was contested over four divisions, with Up Front Bethann, Twin Oaks Tess and Pavla Hanover taking the other splits. Dave Palone fashioned a driving double in the stakes with Twin Oaks Tess and Up Front Bethann, a filly named for Palone’s wife.
Native Bride entered the Romola Hanover with 11 wins—most from off the pace—in 13 career starts. The patient strategy of trainer-driver Joe Pavia, Jr., who was in the bike because travel problems kept scheduled driver Brian Sears from reaching The Meadows, paid off once again when Dragonfest and Talk All Day engaged in a suicidal battle for the lead. After a sizzling half in :54.4, Pavia asked Native Bride for go; the daughter of Allamerican Native-Nova responded by drawing off to win by 8 1/2 lengths over a game Dragonfest. Find A Happy Place was a distant third.
The time shattered the previous track record of 1:51.3 for sophomore pacing fillies established last year by Platinum Hanover and Andy Miller. It also knocked 1.4 seconds off the previous stake record held jointly by Pilgrims Witchie, Elusive Prey and Western Graduate.
Despite her impeccable record, Native Bride is eligible primarily for regional stakes, a situation that owner Jay Sears might consider changing if the filly continues her excellence.
“She goes so fast that we try not to be too hard on her,” Pavia said. “She goes to the Adioo Volo, then the PA finals. Then her stakes are done unless we supplement her to a few. If she continues to improve, we may want to do that.”
Up Front Bethann, who had been taking on division-leading competition in such stakes as the Mistletoe Shalee, the Tarport Hap and the Fan Hanover, found her PASS division to her liking. Palone sent her first up down the backside, and the daughter of Dragon Again-Matinee made it stand up, downing a trapped-in Lucy B by a length in 1:52.3, with Needlepant in third.
“She had some bad luck at the Meadowlands and kind of needed a break from there,” said Kelly O’Donnell, who trains Up Front Bethann for C. Ed Mullinax. “She’s had a couple of issues, just a couple odds and ends. Hopefully, we’ll move forward from here. I think this will ‘braven’ her up a bit.”
As she rounded the final turn, Twin Oaks Tess found herself two-wide, surrounded by horses. Palone was able to guide her through traffic to the “Lightning Lane,” where she scored in 1:54.2, 3/4 lengths better than Makerbark. Riven Hanover finished third. It was the first stakes victory for the daughter of Western Hanover-Springtime Killean.
“She’s had some bad luck drawing, but I like everything about her,” said John Coughlin, who trains Twin Oaks Tess—the only pacer in his eight-horse stable—for Richard Edison. “She’s a little aggressive at times but overall a nice filly, very ladylike.
He said Twin Oaks Tess is eligible for the Jugette.
ROMOLA HANOVER NOTES: Passit, a five-race maiden, sat last at the half but charged through the stretch to capture he $33,500 final of the Watson Provost series for freshman colt and gelding pacers. He triumphed in 1:55.2 for driver Aaron Merriman, trainer Randy Bendis and the partnership of Bendis, Broadway and Castelli. El Cucuy took the $10,000 consolation . . . O’Donnell and Mullinax enjoyed doubles on the day when Up Front Ben went wire to wire in the $23,000 Preferred Trot. Palone guided the son of Andover Hall-Sounds Swell to a 3/4-length victory in 1:55.1. (The Meadows)