PASS 2YO finals on tap Friday at Meadows
September 10, 2015
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Friday's card at The Meadows Racetrack & Casino will offer more than $1.72 million in purses — one of the richest programs in track history — anchored by four Pennsylvania Sires Stakes championships for 2-year-olds. Each championship carries a purse of $350,000, with a $60,000 consolation also offered in each division. First post Friday is 12:55 p.m.
Much of the attention will be focused on the trotting finals, as Love Matters and two precocious fillies, Broadway Donna and Whitelake Hanover, look to extend their career unbeaten streaks and stake serious claims to divisional honors. Combined, the trio is 19-19.
Love Matters caught the eye of Hall of Fame trainer Jimmy Takter, who purchased the colt from the Erv Miller stable before his sixth and most recent victory, a PASS win at The Meadows, for Christina Takter, Brixton Medical, John Fielding and Herb Liverman. Takter, who has been hands-on with the son of Explosive Matter-Lotsa Love for only a few days, indicated he's made no significant rigging or training changes, and that regular pilot Marcus Miller will retain the mount, guiding the colt from post 6 in the eighth race.
"Marcus knows the horse,” Takter said. "I don't see any reason to mess around with that.”
He said he was attracted to Love Matters while racing against him and coming up on the short end.
"He looked very classy,” Takter said. "I've seen him get better and better every time. I like to see a 2 year old developing like that.”
Still, he refused to anoint Love Matters as the top Hambletonian hopeful in his barn.
"We're a long, long way from that,” Takter said. "We have to take the first steps first.”
Jim Campbell, who trains the homebred Broadway Donna for Fashion Farms, is similarly cautious about the upside for the daughter of Donato Hanover-Broadway Schooner, even as she seeks her eighth straight win.
"I would never predict what a horse can do,” Campbell said. "Usually, predictions come back to haunt you. I can only call her professional because she's done everything we've asked of her and more.”
He said Broadway Donna, winner of the $389,450 James Doherty Memorial final, is eligible for stakes at The Red Mile but that her schedule thereafter is uncertain.
Broadway Donna will be meeting a new foe nearly as accomplished as she. Though she's trotted under the radar without a signature win, Whitelake Hanover also is undefeated, having compiled a six-race winning streak for trainer Chris Oakes and owners Omar Beiler, Dennis Coons and Susan Oakes. Through a quirk of the draw, the two didn't meet in PASS preliminary legs.
Hall of Famer David Miller, regular pilot for both, has chosen Broadway Donna, who leaves from post 6 in race 10, while Whitelake Hanover (Explosive Matter-Whispering Wind) goes from post 8 for Matt Kakaley. (The Meadows)