No winner had a particularly easy time of it in their respective divisions of the $225,049 Pennsylvania Sire Stakes fourth and final preliminary leg for 3-year-old filly pacers Saturday at Mohegan Sun at Pocono Downs, but Katie Said, Sandbetweenurtoes and Cinamony all had enough within them to make it back to the Pocono winners circle.
Katie Said posted the fastest clocking of the three divisions, a new lifetime mark of 1:49.4, and she also had the shortest win margin, a nose, and the least amount of time spent in the lead, about 10 feet. Katie Said, a daughter of Well Said trained by Julie Miller for the Andy Miller Stable Inc. and Black Horse Racing, rode the wave off cover provided by the "Beach”s – first-over Beach Story and second-over Beach Gal -- to get into the race after being last at the quarter. The raw Beach Story struck the lead into the final turn, was ground down by Beach Gal in midstretch, but then she in turn was just nipped in the last two strides by the game Katie Said and driver Marcus Miller.
Not all that many horses rally from behind at the speed-favoring Pocono track, but nationally-ranked Sandbetweenurtoes made it two straight winning closers on the night when she won the second section in 1:50. The Larry Remmen-conditioned Sandbetweenurtoes was put on her toes by driver Brett Miller, swinging wide off the last bend, and the daughter of Somebeachsomewhere outrushed passing lane shooter Allstar Rating to get the decision by a half-length. The Mistletoe Shalee winner remains perfect after eight seasonal starts for owner Bradley Grant.
The Pocono faithful thought that it would again be "Miller time” in the third cut, hoping driver David Miller could follow Marcus and Brett to Victory Lane with the 2013 Breeders Crown winner (at this track) Uffizi Hanover, but Uffizi's late rally was 1¾ lengths short of Cinamony and driver Corey Callahan at the wire in 1:50.2. The phrase "speed-favoring Pocono track” normally is not complemented by the phrase "parked to the half for the lead,” but that's the :26.3/:53.3 fate that befell the victorious daughter of Art Official, making her victory even more notable. Trainer Alexander Rice Jr. and the owning partnership of Alexander Rice Sr . and Michael Horn saw their $3500 Harrisburg yearling purchase also lower her mark a tick with the triumph.
With the four preliminary legs of the Sire Stakes completed, the points (earned on a 35-25-15-10-8-5-4-2-1 finish basis) were *unofficially* added up, and came out this way: 1. (tie) Cinamony and Sandbetweenurtoes, 105 points each (ties in the top eight don't matter because you get in if you declare); 3. (tie) Allstar Rating and Also Encouraging, 90; 5. Beach Gal, 85; 6. Weeper, 70; 7. Someislandsomwhere, 64; 8. Southwind Silence, 52. Pennsylvania Sire Stakes Championship rules call for eight starters, so AE1 would be Katie Said, raising her total to 48 with the win tonight, and AE2 would be Tyra at 43. The PA Sire Stakes Championship for this group will be held Sunday afternoon, Sept. 7, at Harrah's Philadelphia. (By Jerry Connors/PHHA Pocono)