Her win in a Delvin Miller Memorial division and second-place finish in the Hambletonian Oaks vaulted Phaetosive to the very elite of the 3-year-old trotting filly division. For all that, she’ll need a big performance in Tuesday’s (Aug. 21) $165,038 Pennsylvania Sire Stakes at The Meadows to guarantee a berth in the PASS championship.
Phaetosive leaves from post four in race nine with trainer-driver Trond Smedshammer. Tuesday’s card also includes a $60,000 Pennsylvania Stallion Series stakes for sophomore trotting fillies. First post is 1:05 p.m.
Phaetosive won her Oaks elimination and was sent off the favorite in the final but fell by a length to superstar Manchego.
"I kind of knew what had to happen to beat Manchego, and none of that happened," Smedshammer says. "I thought Manchego might have to work a little bit more to get to the front, and I wanted to come first-over and be head to head at the top of the stretch. We came home in :26.2 and couldn’t make up the ground."
It was a gallant performance nonetheless for the daughter of Explosive Matter and Phaeton, and it lifted her career bankroll to $489,858 for owner Purple Haze Stables.
But in the PASS, medical issues have limited her to one leg, which she won.
"She was in to go at Pocono (in the Pennslyvania All-Stars) when I had to scratch her because of breathing problems," Smedshammer says. "Her epiglottis was entrapped, and they were able to free it manually, without surgery. I’m very grateful they tried the conservative route first — it worked. If she’d needed surgery, she would have missed the Oaks and everything."
With eight qualifying for the $252,000 PASS championship Sept. 1 at The Meadows, Phaetosive is tied for ninth with 35 points. Moreover, five fillies ranked ahead of or tied with her also are in Tuesday’s stakes, known as the Meadows Bright. Phaetosive doesn’t necessarily have to win to make the final, but she needs a large infusion of points.
"She had a couple days off after the Oaks, but she’s been following a normal schedule since then. The Oaks didn’t take any more out of her than any other race."
Phaetosive is eligible for the Elegantimage, several races at the Red Mile and the Breeders Crown. No matter the outcome in the PASS and her late-season stakes, Smedshammer intends to bring her back next year.
"I think she’ll be great to race at 4," he says. "She’s a big, strong filly who hasn’t been raced hard at 2 or 3. She should have a great future as an older mare." (The Meadows)