Next Level Stuff rebounds from break, wins Simpson
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Two-year-old fillies of both gaits contested $178,600 in Liberty Bell series stakes action during a cool and blustery Thursday afternoon at Harrah’s Philadelphia.
Picking the winners of the two pacing sections was easy as selecting the 2-3 finishers behind the North American powerhouse Lyons Sentinel in recent Simpson Stakes competition. The faster winner was the Well Said – Lounge Act miss Drama Act, who cut the mile last week and finished second to Lyons Sentinel for her first career loss in four starts. On Thursday she was again sent to the front by driver Marcus Miller, but the competition was not quite as strong, and the developing filly powered home in :56.2 to complete a 1:54.2 seven length victory for trainer Krista Harmon and The OK Corral.
Third in that Simpson contest, the Sweet Lou – Ideal Weather filly Ginger Tree Carey overcame a first-over trip in less-than-ideal weather, making the lead on the far turn and then withstanding the late rally of favored Dance Club by a neck in 1:55.4, gaining into a 56.3 back half. Like Drama Act a winner of a Keystone Classic division, Ginger Tree Carey was driven by Andrew McCarthy for trainer Steve Cook and the partnership of Sam Beegle, Ginger Tree Ventures LLC, Henlopen Stable, and Neil Chesen.
Going into the first trotting division, 1-9 favorite Next Level Stuff had made eight starts in her career – four stakes victories, four breaks in stride. Here she managed to do both: challenging for the lead on the first turn, the daughter of Sebastian K S – Nantab (the fourth dam is Hambletonian winner Duenna) went offstride, but Tim Tetrick quickly got her back on the trot, though instead of first she was last, 7½ lengths off the pace at the quarter.
But Tetrick got cover from second choice Hannah, followed that one as she grinded to the lead headstretch, then went by in 1:58, a length to the good as Next Level Stuff became the only two-year-old of either gait or sex to complete a Simpson – Liberty Bell local stakes double. Trainer Jim Campbell and the Runthetable Stables ownership were relieved to see the filly repair her error, as were those punters who put $8726 of a $9253 show pool on her.
Not so fortunate were the punters who plunked down $10,070 of an $11,008 show pool on second division 1-5 favorite Dune Hill, who made a break in just about the same spot that Next Level Stuff did – outside challenging for the lead nearing the 3/16. Dune Hill caught the field, but she was not gaining when she made another mistake past the ¾.
The contest went to the Cantab Hall – Podragos filly Miss Kendra D, whom David Miller raced in the pocket, then came out for the drive and went by pacesetting Drinking Money by 1¾ lengths. The freshman took a new mark of 1:58.3 for trainer Chris Beaver, who also co-owns with Donald Robinson and R.B.H. Ventures Inc. The 11-1 winner returned $17.00 to show; Drinking Money, 4-1, brought $23.80 for a show ticket, and 18-1 Spree, who finished third, returned $112.40 to her few show backers.
The third division went to the Explosive Matter – Flyer Mel filly Queen Of The Hill, who shot to the front soon after the start, then was able to keep the only contender, pocketsitter Ginger Tree Bren, from getting closer than 1 1/4 lengths at the end of the 1:57.2 mile. Yannick Gingras, who had five winners on the card, guided the Per Engblom-trained miss, a three-time PA Sire Stakes winner who now has earnings of $114,792, for owner Al Libfeld. (PHHA/Harrah's Philadelphia)