PA champ Amigo Volo favored in Keystone Classic split
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Amigo Volo might not have been himself the week following last month’s Hambletonian, but after a brief respite and consecutive wins, he appears primed for a strong finish to his 3-year-old campaign.
A multiple world-record-setter and Breeders Crown champion at age 2, Amigo Volo has won four of nine races this season. He competes Friday in the first of two Keystone Classic divisions for 3-year-old male trotters at The Meadows, where he is the 6-5 morning-line favorite with regular driver Dexter Dunn.
Amigo Volo finished fourth in the Hambletonian on Aug. 8 at the Meadowlands. He started from post 10, hustled to the front in a :26.2 opening quarter, and then had traffic issues after yielding the lead to Threefiftytwo. He made up multiple lengths in the stretch but ended up 4 3/4 lengths behind winner Ramona Hill.
The next week, Amigo Volo finished third in a division of the Pennsylvania Sires Stakes after holding the lead in the stretch. It was the gelding’s sixth start in as many weeks, so trainer Nifty Norman gave the horse time to freshen up and Amigo Volo responded. He heads to the Keystone Classic off wins in the final preliminary round of the Pennsylvania Sires Stakes and the series championship.
“I’m very proud of the horse,” Norman said. “We tried to have him at his best for the Hambo, and I thought he was, things just didn’t work out for him. But I thought the horse really raced good that day.
“Then there is always a little bit of a bounce after that. You can’t be good all the time; for every up, there is going to be a down. He was a little bit down his next start. He was just flat, and that’s not like him. So, we gave him a little bit of time off and he perked right up and has really done well. He’s been super his last two races. He looks like he’s back to himself again.”
Amigo Volo is a son of Father Patrick out of Margarita Momma. For his career, he has won 10 of 21 starts and earned $946,719 for owners Pinske Stables and David J. Miller.
In addition to winning last year’s Breeders Crown for 2-year-old male trotters and this year’s Pennsylvania Sire Stakes championship, Amigo Volo’s victories include the 2019 Matron Stakes and divisions of the Bluegrass and International Stallion stakes.
He set world records for 2-year-old geldings on a five-eighths-mile track (1:52.4) and mile track (1:52.3).
Amigo Volo is eligible to Bluegrass Stakes, Kentucky Futurity, Breeders Crown, and Matron the rest of the way.
“Last year when we raced him weeks in a row, he really raced good like that,” Norman said. “He likes to race, he’s a game little bugger.
“I couldn’t be happier with the way he’s heading into the rest of the season. I thought the big tracks would be a disadvantage for him, but he’s strong again, so I think we’ll be OK. He’s a really solid little guy.”
Ron Burke-trained Patriarch Hanover is the 8-5 favorite in the second Keystone Classic division for the 3-year-old male trotters. He finished third in the Pennsylvania Sire Stakes championship.
There also are two Keystone Classic divisions for 3-year-old male pacers. Jim Campbell’s Sandbetweenmytoes is the 5-2 favorite in the first and Burke’s Cattlewash gets the 5-2 nod in the second. (Ken Weingartner/USTA)