The diverse stories behind the four winners of their respective $40,000 Pennsylvania Stallion Series Championships for 2 year olds Thursday at Harrah's Philadelphia have two things in common–all four winners set or equaled the stake record, and all four were driven by Hall of Famer Ron Pierce.
In the space of two hours, Pierce achieved what had not been done in aggregate in the 1,073 previous days of existence of the Stallion finals–guide four Stallion Series finals winners to Victory Lane. And he achieved his scores despite having driven two of the horses only once before, and the other two times hopping up behind them for the first time!
First to triumph was the Yankee Glide colt Smoother Ride, thus becoming the only PA stakes participant, Sires or Stallions, to win all four of his preliminaries and his final this year. (The feat was also pulled off in this division last year, by Stormin Normand, but in the Sire Stakes.) Smoother Ride was sent to the lead down the backstretch, and his sixth straight win was never in doubt from there, the 1:56.3 clocking dropping his personal and the stake mark by a tick. Trainer Steve Elliott (we'll see that name again) co-owns the promising baby with Angelo Frassetto.
What are the odds of a pair of pacing colts, both Hanover-breds, names both starting with "E,” both based at The Meadows and trained by a man named Tim who wears gold and green colors, winning this event in consecutive years, and in the same 1:52.1 time? Well, Ezpass Hanover and trainer Tim Pinske last year were followed Thursday by trainer Tim Twaddle and the Allamerican Native colt Eddie Sweat, rallying just off of dueling leaders to lower his speed badge for the La Salle Racing Group. The 1:52.1 ("Eddie”'s personal best) not only equaled "EZ”'s stake record, it also put the two in a tie for the fastest Stallion Series Championship winners of all-time with the sophomore colts Sectionline Blast ('10) and Take It Back Terry (this past Monday). Oh, and the crowd let Pierce get away at 21-1 here.
Owner Howard Taylor, after seeing his star 3YO pacing filly Economy Terror set her second consecutive world record in winning a PA Sire Stakes Championship Saturday at Pocono, may have another top Western Terror miss in Want Answers, who reduced her mark to 1:53.1 in the filly pace. Trainer Steve Elliott joined Pierce back in the Philadelphia winners circle as Want Answers dropped the divisional stake record from 1:54.4.
Completing the sweep for Pierce was the Broadway Hall filly Tattoo You, who also benefited from laying just off contentious frontenders before trotting to the fore in 1:58.1, a mark and 2/5 below the former stakes record. Conditioner Deborah Brunet is also co-owner with Y.J. Brunet and Ted Gewertz.
FINISHING LINES -- Including Monday's 3YO races, all eight PA Stallion Series winners either broke or tied the divisional stakes records – as did all four of the Sire Stakes 3YO champions on Saturday at Pocono. Who knows what magic might be written when the freshmen square off Friday night in their Pennsylvania Sire Stakes Championships on a $1.2+ million card at The Meadows? (Harrah's Philadelphia)