Heavy favorites Kissin In The Sand and Alexa’s Power were easy victors in Friday’s Romola Hanover, a $160,238 Pennsylvania Sires Stake at The Meadows. The pair advanced to the $252,000 PASS final for 3-year-old filly pacers, which is set for Sept. 2 at The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono.
Kissin In The Sand, arguably the national leader in her division, had to work hard from post six for the early lead. But when Dave Palone gave her a :29.1 second-quarter breather, she was refreshed and ready to blaze the back half in :54.3. She scored in 1:51, 3-1/2 lengths better than the first-over Parisian Blue Chip, with Double A Mint third.
"This year, she’s pretty laid back. Last year, she could be a pain," said Nancy Johansson, who trains the daughter of Somebeachsomewhere-Kiss Me Kate for Marvin Katz and Hatfield Stables. "She wanted to do everything her way. This year, we’ve come to an agreement: I let her get her way sometimes, she lets me get my way sometimes. I think she was pretty much well in hand today. She looks like she’s coming into the final nice and strong."
Kissin In The Sand, who extended her career bankroll to $675,056, now has finished first or second in all nine starts this year.
The journey of Alexa’s Power to the front from post seven was even more arduous, as she couldn’t cross over until the three-eighths. But she was untouchable thereafter, defeating Apple Hanover by 1-1/4 lengths for Tim Tetrick, trainer Jim Campbell and owners Jeffrey Snyder and Michael Snyder. Sansovina Hanover earned show.
"That was a pretty tough first quarter, but she’s been pretty good lately," said Campbell of the daughter of Somebeachsomewhere-Michelle’s Power, who now boasts a lifetime bankroll of $359,835. "We’ve been thrilled with her this year. She puts in a great effort every time."
$40,000 PA Stallion Series — 3-Year-Old Filly Pacers
Friday’s card also featured a pair of $20,000 PA Stallion Series splits, which were taken by Cult Icon and Real Fine.
Cult Icon proved once again that she loves passing horses, as she moved for Palone from fifth at the three-eighths and had little trouble overtaking the leader, Danikova, en route to a 1:52.4 victory, her fourth straight. Danikova persevered for second, 4-1/2 lengths back, while Belle’s Delight completed the ticket.
"I don’t think it would have mattered how I drove her," Palone said. "She is so sharp. She let me know she was wanting to race at the quarter pole. I just moved her back to the front, and she was on her own from there."
Trent Stohler conditions the daughter of Bettor's Delight-Yankee Icon, who now boasts $123,516 in career earnings, for Trent Stohler Stable, Tim Graber, Single G Stables and Stately Gaits Stable.
Mike Wilder worked out a cozy pocket trip for Real Fine, whose chances were further abetted by the early break of the 1-2 favorite, Attention Hanover. She roared past the leader, Miss Hill, in the stretch to down her by 1-3/4 lengths in 1:53.1, with Ana Hanover third.
"She’s pretty much push button," Wilder said. "She gives you 100 percent. The favorite ran -- that helped. But you know what? She was right on her toes, and she raced super."
Ron Burke trains Real Fine, a daughter of Bettor's Delight-Real Touch, for Burke Racing Stable, Knox Services, Slaughter Racing Stable and Weaver Bruscemi. (The Meadows)