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Hambletonian eligibles sweep PASS divisions

July 18, 2013

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Seventeen Hambletonian-eligible 3-year-old trotters were in action at Harrah's Philadelphia on Thursday afternoon in a trio of $79,416 Pennsylvania Sires Stakes (PASS) divisions, with all three splits won by horses heading to the trotting classic on Aug. 3 at the Meadowlands. The races were contested under sweltering conditions, with a post-time temperature of 96 degrees and a heat index of 107 degrees.

Race 4 kicked off the PASS action and what was pretty much a single-file-the-entire-distance race resulted in a 1:54.4 victory by Hambo-eligible Creatine, driven by Mike Lachance for trainer Bob Stewart and breeder-owner Diamond Creek Farm. Lachance sat the two hole until the top of the stretch before tipping Creatine out and past Its Complicated to win by 1 ¼ lengths.

Creatine finished second in a Reynolds division July 5 at the Meadowlands, but a post-race scope revealed a throat issue, which led to surgery.

"He had been racing well, but not as well as we thought, so we scoped him after he was second, so he had throat surgery done the Monday after,” said Stewart. "Mike said he was very strong today and that's what we were looking for. It was good because Mike didn't have to move him until he wanted to, so it was an easy race for him. He responded well so we're very happy.”

In the second PASS division, favorite All Laid Out appeared on his way to a victory turning for home for driver Dave Palone, but he made a break, with High Bridge, who was sitting second, not able to get out of the way and also going offstride. That led to an easy path to the finish line for the 2012 Peter Haughton Memorial winner Aperfectyankee in 1:54.1.

Owned, trained and driven by Jim Oscarsson, Aperfectyankee began to range up first-over past the half and was still holding his ground on the outside through the final turn. When the top twosome made their stretch breaks, Aperfectyankee was able to trot on to his third win in five starts this year. Vibe Blue Chip was second, with Major Athens, a multiple winner on the PASS circuit last year, finishing third after working his way along the pylons midway through the race.

Spider Blue Chip and Possessed The Fashion, driven by Ron Pierce and John Campbell, respectively, sat one-two in the third division and that's the way they finished, despite a valiant stretch bid by the latter. The heavily-favored Spider Blue Chip crossed the wire in 1:53, holding off Possessed Fashion by less than a length, with Bloodstockshalltab finishing third to complete an all-Hambo-eligible trifecta.

Chuck Sylvester trains the winning son of Andover Hall, who was second by a head in last weekend's Stanley Dancer Memorial final.

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