After an inauspicious career debut—he broke stride as the 1-2 favorite in a Pennsylvania All-Stars split—Demon Onthe Hill has righted the ship, winning two straight Pennsylvania Sires Stakes (PASS) divisions.
On Saturday at The Meadows, he'll try to extend that streak to three in the Florida Pro, a $181,388 PASS that goes as races 1, 3 and 4. Demon Onthe Hill leaves from post 3 in the first race with Yannick Gingras in the sulky. Post time is 1:05 p.m.
Now is the time for all good men to come to the aid of their country.
Vicky Trotting Inc. gave $125,000 at auction for the son of Muscle Hill-Sabrina Hall, a price that the colt's trainer, Marcus Melander, indicates was not unexpected.
"He was a good-looking horse with a great video," Melander says. "The only disadvantage: he was pretty small then and still is. When it says Muscle Hill, they always get a little more expensive."
Melander absolves Demon Onthe Hill of blame for that break in his career opener.
"He would have won, but he got stuck in a knee boot and almost fell."
His initial PASS victory was a ground-saving affair at The Meadows, but his win in the following leg at Harrah's Philadelphia was impressive. He wore down the leaders on the outside and drew off late, scoring in 1:55.4. That earned him a share of the national season's record for freshman trotters on a five-eighths-mile track.
"It looked like he had something left in the tank," says Melander, who notes that Demon Onthe Hill is eligible to most of the important late-season stakes. "His size doesn't seem to matter. He grows on the track. I think he's the real deal."
Melander also sends out Expedition (race 4, post 4, Dave Palone), who, at $230,000, was an even more expensive Muscle Hill yearling than Demon Onthe Hill. He's earned checks but no wins in his two PASS outings.
"He's still a little green and doesn't know what's happening out there," Melander says. "Demon Onthe Hill might be a little better, but once he starts to understand what racing's all about, he'll be a nice horse, too."
AMG Stable campaigns Expedition.
Saturday's card also features a number of attractive wagering opportunities, including a pair of rich pool guarantees — $7,500 for the Pick 4 (races 4-7), $5,000 for the Pick 5 (races 9-13) — and a $1,073.80 jackpot in the Super Hi-5 (race 13). (The Meadows)