The Kentucky Sires Stakes (KYSS) for 3-year-old pacers and trotters got underway with the first preliminary leg Sunday night at The Red Mile.
Filly pacers opened the card with one of two $10,000 splits. Last year’s final winner In The Dark was a neck winner over the heavily favored Straightontherocks in 1:54. Trace Tetrick sent In The Dark out for the early lead, then yielded to the favorite as they passed the half in :57.3. He ripped the Cambest filly from the pocket in early stretch, gradually wearing down the leader in a :27 flat final quarter. Amdiamo Zowie was third.
It was the fourth win in five tries this season for In The Dark who is owned by Jim Averitt and trained by Jack Gray, Jr. both of Lebanon, Ky.
Al-Mar-Got A Fever absolutely smoked the second division in a career best 1:52.2 for driver Chris Page.
Reserved off the moderate pace set by Surfing Sally who went to the half in :57, Al-Mar-Got A Fever took charge past that station with an extended brush through a 1:25.4 three panels before getting a nudge from Page then took off through a :26.3 closing quarter-mile under wraps for the score at 3-5. Second choice Absolutely Best passed the rest in the stretch to be an easy second and Bestfriendforever took third.
The winner is a Walnut Hall-bred daughter of Third Straight trained by Steve Carter for Chuck Grubbs, Neal Kresheck, Joe Whittaker and BRB Racing.
Almondy AS took the $15,000 first leg of sophomore filly trot for driver Elliott Deaton, outdueling defending champ Sheas Victory in an extended stretch duel in 1:58.4. Breaking her maiden with the win, Almondy As is a homebred All Star Hall daughter raised and raced by ACL Stuteri and trained by Anette Lorentzon. Auntie Jae was third.
Defending colt pacing champ V Power was a 1:53.3 winner with Dave Palone catch driving for owner/breeder/trainer Donna Gilson Efferstein. Palone let the dust settle as first Kirsch then Mt Sterling Mafia traded leads before V Power went to the front in a half of :55.2. A :29.4 third quarter breather was all the Prince Chablis gelding needed as a :28.2 end to the mile held Mt Sterling Mafia at bay. Kirsch stuck around for third.
Trotting colts wrapped up the stakes for the evening and last year's final winner Starlight AS got lucky when Beer Dad lost interest while well in front and went offstride, leaving the door to victory lane ajar and Elliott Deaton drove Starlight AS right through it. The final time of 1:57.2 was a career best for the All Star Hall colt by nearly five seconds.
That win completed the trotting double for owner/breeder ACL Stuteri, trainer Anette Lorentzon and Deaton. Hidden Creek trotted up to be second and Stanford third. (Red Mile)