Strategic Alliance atoned for a break in his career debut by sailing through the slop to notch a front-end victory in Monday's $80,000 Pennsylvania Stallion Series stake at The Meadows.
Explosive Drama, Wimborne Hanover and Explosiveday also took $20,000 splits in the event for freshman colt and gelding trotters. Mike Simons, trainer John Butenschoen and owners Give It A Shot Stable and VIP Internet Stable teamed for a stake double with Strategic Alliance and Explosive Drama.
Strategic Alliance had a legitimate excuse in the PA All Stars where, Simons said, a rival stepped on his foot. He needed no alibis Monday, as the son of Yankee Gide-Swift Kid Hanover zoomed to the front, thwarted the challenge of Red Maple Leaf and downed him by a length in 1:59.1. MmmmGood was third.
"We were a little surprised because focus has been his issue training down,” said assistant trainer Tyler Butenschoen. "But Mike made sure to keep his attention, and he did everything right. I would guess off that mile he would go to the sires stakes.”
Perhaps because he was a ridgling, Wimborne Hanover was overlooked by a number of prospective bidders at Harrisburg. But William Daugherty Jr., a savvy veteran of the PA Fairs, saw something that attracted him to the Muscle Massive-Wherley gelding.
"I liked his video — he's small but gutty,” Dougherty said. "We took a chance on him. I just liked the little bugger. When I looked at him in the stall, he looked at me like, ‘Will you get me out of here?' Just a superstitious-type deal.”
Eric Ledford eased Wimborne Hanover into the two path down the backside, and the youngster found a late seam outside to prevail in 2:01.2. The Master was second, 1 1/4 lengths back, while the first-over Don't Mind Me Finished third. Susan Daugherty campaigns her $11,000 yearling acquisition.
Explosive Drama inherited the lead when HA Taylor broke stride, and he made the most of his opportunity, scoring in 2:00.1, 3-1/4 lengths better than Explosiveafternoon. Marion Coca completed the ticket.
"He has a good attitude, and he's real nice to be around,” Tyler Butenschoen said. Of the Explosive Matter-Phillycityhall gelding "He just does his work, and he enjoys it. He's maybe not as big as some others. He might be good enough for sires stakes, but we'll just let him tell us.” (The Meadows)