With well in excess of a million dollars on the line, the top 2 year olds in Pennsylvania met at Harrah's Philadelphia on Sunday afternoon for the culmination of their Sires Stakes season. And while two of four favorites proved triumphant, the quartet of $260,000 finals began with an upset.
The 2-year-old filly pace set up as a battle between Gallie Bythe Beach (John Campbell) and Tyra (Tim Tetrick), and that proved to be the case in the final 300 yards, when longtime pacesetter Gallie Bythe Beach found herself challenged by the pocket-sitting Tyra coming off the far turn. Meanwhile, Yannick Gingras kept Southwind Silence--who tracked the top pair through the middle half after yielding early--at the pegs, calling upon her for pace in the open stretch, rallying to a 1:52.1 victory over Gallie Bythe Beach. Tyra flattened out late, but stayed on to hold third.
Ron Burke trains Southwind Silence (Well Said-Southwind Solara) for the Burke Racing Stable, Weaver Bruscemi LLC, Larry Karr, and Joseph DiScala Jr.
Freshman trotting fillies contested the 10th race, with Cooler Schooner (Campbell) setting blistering early fractions of :27 and :55.2, and facing mild pressure on the backstretch from Juniata Hanover (Matt Kakaley) and favorite Designed To Be (Andy Miller) tracking cover intently. On the far turn, Andy Miller moved the daughter of Donato Hanover-Sheer Soul three wide, vaulting to a five-length win in 1:54.3. A Perfect Gem (Marcus Miller) split rivals after being boxed to claim second, while Struck By Lindy (David Miller) followed the winner's three-wide cover off the far turn, staying for third.
Julie Miller trains Designed To Be for Al Libfeld and Marvin Katz.
While both fillies divisions saw pacesetters be defeated, the trotting colts and geldings were led the entire mile by Don Dorado (Donato Hanover-Quintessential K). Tim Tetrick sent Don Dorado to the early lead, sprinting through a :27.1 quarter before rating a :57 half. On the backstretch, Exodus Hanover (Andy Miller) offered mild pressure and dug in more aggressively on the far turn, but Don Dorado was up to the task, holding sway under moderate urging to prevail in 1:56.2. Longshot Auspicious Hanover (Charlie Norris) swung three wide at head-stretch, just nosing out a strong Exodus Hanover for second.
Robert Baggitt Jr. trains Don Dorado for owner-breeder Kelly Walker.
Pacing colts and geldings wrapped up the Sires Stakes Championship portion of the card, with Allstar Partner (Four Starzzz Shark-Faithful Ideal) setting a sensible pace and parrying a sustained challenge from Let's Drink On It (Tim Tetrick) en route to a 2 1/4-length win in 1:52 in rein to Corey Callahan. Sometimes Said (Campbell) wedged between rivals with pace in the last 100 yards to just claim second, while the pocket-sitting McWicked (Andy Miller) stayed on to hold third.
John Butenschoen trains Allstar Partner for the VIP Internet Stable and Michael Foti. (Harrah's Philadelphia)