PA Sire Stakes 2YOCP held at Pocono
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The first four of five divisions of the first leg of the Pennsylvania Sire Stakes for two-year-old pacing colts on Saturday at The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono were conducted in lovely weather, with a slight stretch headbreeze, but there was a 180-degree shift in the direction and intensity of the wind, and the addition of rain from the heavens, when the "featured division" of the Sires, containing three of the five winners in recent PA All-Stars action here, went postward.
And the adverse weather seemed to have absolutely no effect on the prohibitive favorite De Los Cielos Deo ("from the heavens of God"), a Captaintreacherous – Lisjune colt who won by 3¾ lengths in 1:52.4.
The unfolding of the race was interesting. Four of the seven contestants left quickly into a headwind, with the Ron Burke trainee De Los Cielos Deo pacing three-wide to the 1/8 under the guidance of Dave Palone, then moving to the top just past the 27.3 quarter. He was quickly confronted by his stablemate No Mas Amor, who seemed fated to racing first-over if he didn't make something happen, and driver Anthony Napolitano did, going around his stablemate before a 54.3 half – coming his own second panel in the vicinity of 26.3 with the tailwind.
No Mas Amor backed things off into the now-headwind to reach the ¾ in 1:24, but De Los Cielos Deo was right on his back then out on the far turn, and despite bearing out slightly at headstretch, the winner finished powerfully in drawing off. Ehrmantraut stayed close most of the way and was second, 2¼ lengths clear of Duddie's Lot, who photoed No Mas Amor for third. But they were all way behind De Los Cielos Deo, undefeated in two purse starts and four trips gateward, who has as good a right as anyone to consider himselfnumero unoamong the babies right now for Burke Racing Stable LLC, Lawrence Karr, J&T Silva – Purnel & Libby, and Weaver Bruscemi LLC.
Trainer Brian Brown started a consecutive stakes double with the Sombeachsomewhere – Allamerican Cognac colt Air Force Hanover, recording a personal best of 1:52, a season's record for all freshmen on 5/8-mile ovals. Air Force Hanover, an even-money favorite to main foe Captain Malicious at 7-5, actually outleft his lefthand rival, but Captain Malicious came blasting through from the inner spot, forcing tucks in a monstrous opening quarter of 25.3, with the winner into the two-hole, where he stayed during moderated middle splits of 54.3 and 1:23.1.
Driver Simon Allard tipped Air Force Hanover out at headstretch, and while the pacesetter held gamely, the pocket rocket had enough firepower to get a head up on the money. He is owned by Country Club Acres Inc., Joe Sbrocco, Richard Lombardo, and William Donovan.
Proof remained undefeated – in two purse races and four lines overall – with a well-earned victory in 1:52.2, a new mark and a season's record for about 18 minutes until his Team Brown stablemate broke it. Driver Jim Morrill Jr. had to go the overland route from midpack with the son of A Rocknroll Dance – Ginger And Fred at the 5/8, but the pair made the lead in the lane and dug in to withstand Bring The Thunder, who followed tightly on his back, by a half-length.Diamond Creek Racing owns the successful favorite.
After opening his career with three straight "2"s on his charted lines, Captain Victorious was finally able to make the breakthrough in his Sire Stakes division with a 1:53 victory. Marcus Miller hustled the son of Captaintreacherous – Belclaire right to the top despite the outside post seven, then yielded to favored Blood Money at the 26.4 quarter. Captain Victorious sat behind a long battle between the leader and first-over Semi Tough in a 56.2 back half, went to the Pocono Pike, and rallied for a length victory over the tough Semi Tough, who photoed the previously-unbeaten Blood Money for second. Julie Miller conditions the victorious freshman for the Andy Miller Stable Inc., Jean Goehlen, and Caroll Huffman.
Two longshot colts were separated by a nose at the end of their division, and their names are as related as their proximity at the finish, as Pyro edged Aflame Hanover to take a mark of 1:54. Pyro was still sixth and inside early in the stretch, but as the front horses softened a bit, Pat Berry was able to circle his live horse out to four-wide and just caught Aflame Hanover in the shadow of the wire; favored Lyons Night Hawk, after a troubled trip, was another ¾ of a length back in third. Pyro is a Sweet Lou colt out of Whetstone Hanover who started a Sires double for trainer Ron Burke, and he is owned by Burke Racing Stable LLC, Lawrence Karr, Phillip Collura, and Weaver Bruscemi LLC. (Pocono/PHHA)