Parked to the three-eighths, Live Laugh Love still had enough in the tank to score in a stake-fastest 1:54.2—her third straight victory—in Saturday’s $168,237 Pennsylvania Sires Stake at The Meadows.
The event for 3-year-old filly trotters, known as the Stenographer, was contested over three divisions, with What A Knockout and Lily Stride taking the other splits. David Miller enjoyed a stake double behind Live Laugh Love and What A Knockout.
Trainer Nifty Norman took the hopples off Live Laugh Love to start her sophomore campaign, a change that triggered her current winning streak.
"She had some soreness problems and the hopples really weren’t making a difference. This year, she’s been in good shape so far," Miller said. "Today, they weren’t going much when we were outside. I was looking for a spot to put her in a hole for a while. That’s the first time I’ve put her on front this year, and she held up real well. The fractions weren’t that strong."
Live Laugh Love held off Nixie Volo by a head, with Courtney Hanover third. Melvin Hartman, David McDuffee and Diamond Creek Racing campaign the daughter of Donato Hanover-Shes Gone Again.
What A Knockout prepped for her PASS opener with a 1:52.4 clocking for Miller in a Meadowlands overnight, beaten only a neck.
"I was surprised she was that sharp off one qualifier," Miller said. "That was a really good mile for a filly racing her first mile. So I felt pretty confident with her today. I thought if she came back to how she raced at the Meadowlands, she would win today. She has a lot of upside. She’s a big, strong horse, handles herself well and has a little speed. That’s all good."
In the Stenographer, What A Knockout, a daughter of Donato Hanover-Southwind Sofia, moved first-over from third and looked in complete control, downing the rallying Piranha Fury by a half length in a career-best 1:54.4. Kenziesky Hanover shot the Lightning Lane for show. Marcus Melander trains What A Knockout for Our Horse Cents Stables and J&T Silva Stables.
Lily Stride, the richest filly in the Stenographer with earnings of $260,867 entering the stake, quarter-poled to the top for Tim Tetrick, and the 1-9 favorite had no anxious moments thereafter, prevailing in 1:55.3. Megadolce used the Lightning Lane for second, 2 3/4 lengths back, while early leader Southwind Angelica completed the ticket.
"She’s always been one of my favorites," Tetrick said. "She’s a little bit smarter this year. Right now we’re just trying to get her in big-race mode, and she’s doing everything right. She had a few kinks that cost her a little bit last year; we’re trying to work those out. But she’s got plenty of go."
Mark Harder conditions Lily Stride, a daughter of Muscle Hill-Sterling Volo, for Emilio Rosati and Maria Rosati.
In the $18,000 Preferred Handicap Pace, Phoenix Warrior N made it two straight, triumphing in a sharp 1:50—a life mark—for Jim Pantaleano, trainer Scott Betts and owners Timothy Betts, Nicholas Catalano and Stephen Moss. The 8-year-old Jereme’s Jet-Never Walk Alone gelding lifted his lifetime bankroll to $271,413. (The Meadows)