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Millers, Explosive Matter dominate Stallion Series

August 23, 2016

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During the third preliminary leg of the Pennsylvania Stallion Series for 2-year-old trotting colts at The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono, the main spotlight fell on drivers named Miller, who won four races, and sire Explosive Matter, who had three progeny return to victory lane, including one of the three winners, all maidens, who went in 1:57.4 for fastest clocking in the stake.
The third winner in 1:57.4 was also the longest price returned by the six division winners, which means--at Pocono Downs--that there’s a good chance the colt was driven by Marcus Miller. And it was Marcus in the sulky behind Equestrianconxtion, who other than an inability to spell had shown good form recently, with a fourth in a Sire Stake, a second in an Arden Downs division, and last time a third upon coming to Stallion Series company. Marcus guided Equestrianconxtion to the lead past the quarter, rated the pace, then ripped home in 28.3 in overcoming the outside post seven and nonwinner status (likely the reasons he wasn’t bet more than 12-1) for trainer/father Erv Miller and the ownership of Paymaq Racing and Louis Willinger.
The other two winners in 1:57.4 were Cantab Hall colts trained by Jimmy Takter. The first to parade back a winner was Brown Bear, who made a quarter-move to command and rolled home by 8¾ lengths for driver Brett Miller and the ownership of Diamond Creek Racing and Christina Takter.
Then Takter and driver Yannick Gingras scored with an unusual (for them) 11-1 shot in Live For Greatness, who had been second from post seven in his Stallion debut, then improved on that finish by one in his second Stallion Series start from that same post, winning by a half-length over fast-closing DD’s Comet, with Fashion Winner, the only horse to win in the first two prelims, settling for third, another ¾ of a length in back of the race winner, who is owned by SRF Stable.


Marcus Miller had a second winner with a son of Explosive Matter, the gelding Larson Hanover, who now has taken both of his Stallion Series starts after nosing out his division’s other previous winner, Common Parlance, in 1:59.2 on Monday. This horse, trained and raced under lease by Clifton Green, paid only $4.60 (he still wasn’t the favorite, being 13-10 to Common Parlance’s 9-10), but in the first victory of his current three-race win skein, Marcus and Larson tilted the toteboard at $154.20 at The Downs.


The third Explosive Matter to win was the gelding Almirola Hanover, who lowered his mark by over two seconds to 1:58 under the guidance of David Miller, the fourth success for sulky-sitters with "Miller" surnames. Almirola Hanover caught pacesetter Meteoric to win by a neck and, with two wins and a second in the series, is the leading point winner after three rounds for trainer Bill Zendt, also co-owner with Gary Saul and J. Patrick Huber.


The final Stallion Series winner Monday was the Donato Hanover colt Backstage Pass, who now has two straight series successes, three wins in a row, and a 4-for-5 lifetime record after stopping the timer in 1:58.1 for driver Tony Hall, trainer Jimmie Ritter Jr., and owner Jessica Smith.


These horses will have their final Stallion Series prelim at Philly on Wednesday, August 31, and then come 100 miles back up the Northeast Extension of the Pennsylvania Turnpike for their Championship here on Monday, Sept. 12. After three rounds, here are the unofficial point standings, with a 35-25-15-10-8-5-4-2-1 scale based on finish: 1. Almirola Hanover, 95; 2. Fashion Winner, 85; 3. DD’s Comet, 75; 4. Larson Hanover, 70; 5.-6.-7. (tie) Brown Bear, Common Parlance, and Live For Greatness, tied with 60; 8.-9.-10. (tie) Equestrianconxtion, I Am The Danger, and Invested In Lindy, tied with 50. Fourteen other horses are "on the bubble", less than 20 points behind, ensuring a competitive scramble in the City of Brotherly Love on the last day of the month to make the Championship. (Pocono/PHHA)

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