PA Stallion Series finals held in Philly Monday
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A total of $320,000 was on the line Monday afternoon at Harrah’s Philadelphia as the track hosted eight $40,000 divisions of the Pennsylvania Stallion Series Championships for two- and three-year-olds of the various classes.
This is the tenth anniversary year of the Stallion Series, designed to give Pennsylvania-sired horses who were still developing or perhaps just below the top-line colts a chance to earn good money. The program began with two-year-olds in 2009; since the program did not exist when the three-year-olds of 2009 first had to pay in, their Stallion Series action began a year later.
STALLION SERIES CHAMPIONSHIPS -- TWO YEAR-OLDS
TROTTING FILLIES – The Explosive Matter – Nan’s Conway filly Navarone Hanover was reserved off a hot pace by driver Tim Tetrick, rallied three-wide on the far turn, then trotted off to an easy two-length victory in 1:57, giving her a new speed badge. This filly has been a model of consistency for trainer Bob Baggitt Jr. and owner Christine Baggitt, with four wins and two seconds in six starts. Southwind Storm, who won in all four of her prelims and would have been only the third StS entrants to complete a sweep of the prelims and Championship, got caught first-over in the fast pace and couldn’t contend in the last quarter.
TROTTING COLTS – 62-year-old Ray Paver, who we older writers still want to call "Jr." after seeing his dad race for so many years at Lebanon and Latonia, recorded his first local victory since August 18, 2010 (Kash’s Cantab) as he ran the recent record of the Muscle Massive – Sister Kate colt Kate’s Massive to five for six by winning in 1:55.4, a new record and only a tick off the stake mark of Two AM. Kate’s Massive went up to challenge the fractious speedball Final Claim down the back , and when that foe made a break on the far turn, the way home was easy for Kate’s Massive, 3 ¾ lengths clear for Paver, who is also the trainer, and owner Harry Horowitz.
PACING FILLIES – The Somebeachsomewhere – Tulu Hanover filly Trillions Hanover was the fastest winner in the last preliminary round at 1:52.4, and today she lowered that personal best by a tick as she was a two-length winner. Brett Miller moved the victress, now 6-4-2-0 in her brief career, to the lead in front of the stands, and she came home in 55.2 – 27.1 while well in command. Tom Fanning conditions Trillions Hanover for Fanning Racing LLC, VIP Internet Stable LLC, and J L Benson Stables Inc.
PACING COLTS – Captain Panko completed a Somebeachsomewhere sweep of the freshman pacing sections when he gamely held off Sweet Troy (twentieth in the pointstandings, but nonetheless the betting favorite) by a neck in 1:53.4. Starting from post eight, Captain Panko and Corey Callahan were wide early and on top at the ¼, but then had the chalk come at him at the 5/8 and gain a short advantage the rest of the backstretch and into the turn. But the Captain refused to give way and held gamely to the finish to win for trainer John Butenschoen and the ownership of Harmony Oaks Racing Stable Inc. and William Wiswell.
STALLION SERIES CHAMPIONSHIPS -- THREE-YEAR-OLDS
TROTTING FILLIES – The Stallion Series sophomore filly ranks would be the last to yield a pointleader going on to be a Championship winner, but the Donato Hanover miss Follow Streak stepped up to be the first to wear that mantle, as she left her field four lengths behind in 1:55.1. Perfect in three Stallion Series start to tie for the points lead entering the final, Follow Streak roared uncovered down the backstretch to the lead before the ¾ for driver Andy Miller, then won easily for trainer Julie Miller and the ownership of the Andy Miller Stable Inc. and Lawrence Dumain.
TROTTING COLTS – Two of the three Team Orange Crush coupled entrants who were sent off at 1-9 waged a strong battle through the stretch, and in the end the Cantab Hall gelding Max’s Beast made the most of his pocket trip for Yannick Gingras, catching Im Your Captain, piloted by Andy Miller and parked a long way for the lead, by a head in 1:53.3, a lifetime best in a mile featuring a 56.2 back half. Max’s Beast is on quite a form roll, with five wins and a pair of seconds in his last seven trips to the gate, for trainer Julie Miller, completing an Orange Crush sweep of the StS three-year-old trot events, and the ownership of the Andy Miller Stable Inc. and Harvey Eisman.
PACING FILLIES – In 2016 and 2017 only the 3PF division produced a pointleader who became a StS champion; this year’s winner, Real Fine, also accomplished that double, joining her sophomore filly mate Follow Streak in the 2018 double achievement. Both driver Yannick Gingras and trainer Ron Burke got their second Stallion Series championship of the afternoon (Burke would win both sophomore pacer), as Real Fine, forced to take the pocket early by a hard-leaving Zuluwarriorhanover, was able to outgun that filly up the inside, winning by ¾ of a length in a personal best of 1:52.1. Burke Racing Stable Inc., Weaver Bruscemi LLC, and M1 Stables own the successful daughter of Bettor’s Delight, now a winner in half of her fourteen 2018 starts, including three Stallion Series prelims.
PACING COLTS – Go West Go Fast was hustled right to the top by driver Matt Kakaley, set the pace while withstanding a stiff first-over challenge from Bobby K Hill, then went on with fortitude to beat the drifting-out favored potential pocket rocket Terror Atthe Beach by a nose in 1:51.3. The triumphant son of Western Ideal now shows four wins in his last eight starts for trainer Ron Burke and the partnership of Burke Racing Stable LLC; Frank Baldachino; Silva, Purnel & Libby; and Weaver Bruscemi LLC.
FINISHING LINES -- Yannick Gingras was the only StS driving doubler; Ron Burke (both 3YO paces) and Julie Miller (both 3YO trots) had training doubles (Gingras winning once for each of them) … Brett Miller and Tim Tetrick each had a win to raise their lifetime Stallion Series win total to seven, and both thus joining Dave Palone as the winningest drivers in the series … Matt Kakaley was the only driver to win on all three cards of the Pennsylvania Labor Day Championship Weekend (2YO SS Championship on Saturday at The Meadows, 3YO SS Championships on Sunday at Pocono, and in the Stallion Series Championships here today) … The Pennsylvania Fair Sire Stakes horses were in action this afternoon at Bloomsburg; their Championship card will be on Saturday, October 6 at The Meadows. (PHHA/Harrah's Philadelphia)