There were four divisions of Pennsylvania Stallion Series races for 2-year-old colt and gelding pacers, each going for a purse of $20,000, on Thursday afternoon at Harrah's Philadelphia.
In the first division, Phil Peavyhouse's PV Dragon (Dragon Again-Jin Millie) living up to his favorite status. At the start, longshot Rock Springs (Well Said-Dolphins Can Talk) sprinted away for the lead, arriving at the quarter in :27. Shortly after, driver George Napolitano Jr. sent PV Dragon out of third, forcing the lead change just before the half. He received mild first-over pressure from May I Cruise West (Yankee Cruiser-Maewest Hanover), but kicked away in the stretch, stopping the clock in 1:53.4. Sambestmckee (McCardle-Jackie's Cammie) came charging hard up for second, while Pennyforurthoughts (Western Terror-Find A Penny) finished third. PV Dragon is trained by Amber Buter.
In division two, Kevin Switzer's Letsmakeawish (Western Terror-Dynamite Donna) made it three straight with an easy victory, stopping the timer in 1:54.1. He brushed to the lead just past the quarter, which went in 27.2. He was unchallenged until three-quarters, when eventual third place finisher Redneckyachtclub (Real Artist-Fast Ruffles) attacked first-over. In the stretch, Letsmakeawish drew clear, holding off a late rally from B Well (Well Said-Ms Amanda B) who went on to finish second. Letsmakeawish is trained by Ron Burke, and was driven by Yannick Gingras.
In the third division, Up Front Racing's UF Larry Alltheway (Dragon Again-Varbo) lived up to his 4-5 favorite status. Off the wings, it was This Time (Well Said-Finishing Touch) driving for the lead, with the favorite settling into fourth. The fractions were pedestrian (:28.3, :59.3) before things picked up in the back half. UF Larry Alltheway drove up first over, and was on even terms with the leader at the top of the stretch, before pulling away under Tim Tetrick taps in 1:54.3 (:55 last half) for the win. My Hero Ron (Well Said-Erma La Em) rallied for place, while This Time held show. UF Larry Alltheway is trained by Kelly O'Donnell.
In the fourth and final division, Erv Miller trainee Hall Of Terror (Western Terror-Maytime Hall) upset the field for his third career win. At the start, Mcjagersonthemove (McArdle-Grand Fancy) drove up to take the lead, with Cabo Sunshine (Well Said-Make Mine Hall) dropping into the pocket. Just before three quarters, Parklane Eagle (Somebeachsomewhere-River Hanover) moved first over to challenge for the lead. In the stretch, Hall Of Terror swung off cover, and swept by for the win, stopping the clock in 1:53.1. He is owned by Ervin Miller Stables, Paymaq Racing, R. Michelon, and L. Willinger, and was driven by Marcus Miller.
Also on the card, Classic Martine won in 1:52, setting a track record for 4-year-old trotting mares.
As the wings closed, it was the Ron Burke trainee Quick Deal firing to the top, while the favorite ducked into the pocket. They remained in that order until three quarters, when Opening Night emerged out of third, but his bid was short lived. In the stretch, Quick Deal and Classic Martine dueled, with Classic Martine narrowly winning in 1:52, a track record for 4-year-old trotting mares. Uncle Peter finished third. Classic Martine is owned by Hauser Bros. Racing, Oakes, Zurich, and Gold, trained by Chris Oakes, and was driven by Tim Tetrick.
And in yet another noteworthy race, Classic Martine's distinction of being a part of the fastest dead heat ever came to an end as Crosbys Clam Bake and World Cup finished on the wire together in 1:53.
The former fastest dead-heat on the trot in harness racing history had occurred just 23 days short of one year ago, on Sept. 13, 2013, when the Chris Oakes stablemates Classic Martine and Frau Blucher could not be separated at the end of their $260,000 PA Sire Stakes Championship in 1:53.2 at The Meadows. (Harrah's Philadelphia)