Pure Country, Broadway Donna win PASS finals
September 11, 2015
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Pure Country and Broadway Donna, a pair of harness racing’s rising stars, remained undefeated Friday at The Meadows when each captured a Pennsylvania Sires Stake championship.
Friday’s program, which offered more than $1.72 million in purses, included all four $350,000 PASS finals (two actually were worth $351,000 thanks to starting fees for also-eligibles who drew in) for 2-year-olds as well as a $60,000 consolation in each division. Ideal Jimmy and Lagerfeld won the other championships. Trainer Jimmy Takter enjoyed a PASS championship double with Pure Country and Lagerfeld.
A recap of the program, one of the richest in track history:
$350,000 PASS Championship — 2-Year-Old Filly Pacers
Pure Country idled outside until the field settled, then grabbed the lead for Brett Miller past the quarter.
"I didn’t push her out of the gate — I wanted to see how things were unfolding,” Miller said. "I had so much confidence in her I felt like she could get beat only if I did something really stupid. I pulled her ear plugs in the last turn and hollered at her, and she took off. She’s never felt as good as she did today.”
Diamond Creek Racing’s homebred daughter of Somebeachsomewhere-Western Montana won handily — as she did in her previous five starts — in 1:51, a track record for freshman pacing fillies, a stake record and the fastest mile this year by a 2-year-old filly pacer on a five-eighths-mile track. Call Me Queen Be was a ground-saving second, 3-3/4 lengths back, with I Said Diamonds third.
Takter indicated Pure Country will be pointed to the Breeders Crown with a number of stake engagements before then.
"She’s as good as they come,” Takter said. "I think she’s the best. She has the look, and her gait is just fantastic. Do you remember the filly I had a couple years ago, American Jewel? She reminds me of American Jewel.”
Pure Country soared over $300,000 in career earnings and became the first freshman filly pacer in PASS history to sweep all her preliminary legs and the final. She also boosted her 2015 PASS earnings to $286,918 — most ever in a single PASS season.
$351,000 PASS Championship — 2-Year-Old Filly Trotters
Unbeaten in seven previous starts, Broadway Donna appeared to be in a pickle when she was trapped behind the tiring leader, the previously undefeated Whitelake Hanover, as Kathy Parker wrested away the lead. But neither winning driver David Miller nor the homebred daughter of Donato Hanover-Broadway Schooner panicked.
They blew by easily in the Lightning Lane, defeating Kathy Parker by 2 lengths in 1:55.4. Womans Will rallied for show. Broadway Donna, winner of the James Doherty Memorial final, lifted her lifetime bankroll to $466,536.
Winning trainer Jim Campbell, who conditions Broadway Donna for Fashion Farms, said he feared she would not find daylight in time.
"It was a concern,” he said, "but I think, win or lose, David did the right thing. It would have been too early to pull. This filly finds a way to do it, and David did a terrific job with her. She’s a professional. It’s horses like her that make guys like me look better.”
Campbell indicated Broadway Donna will next race at the Red Mile.
$351.000 PASS Championship — 2-Year-Old Colt & Gelding Trotters
Love Matters, the 3-5 favorite, opened his career with six straight wins and was purchased by the powerful Takter stable before his last start. He was rolling along to his seventh when he made an inexplicable break around the final turn. Three other contenders also jumped it off at some point in the mile.
"He kind of lost his balance and was running in a little bit in the last turn,” said his driver, Marcus Miller. "I’m sure Jimmy will figure it out.”
Takter’s disappointment lasted about 25 seconds because it was his colt, Lagerfeld, who picked up the pieces. The son of Yankee Glide-Southern Senorita, dismissed at 11-1 because of a four-race losing streak, triumphed for Yannick Gingras in a career-best 1:55.3. Sliding Home was three-quarter lengths back in second while Dupree, an also-eligible who drew in, earned show.
"I’ll take it,” Takter said of the unexpected victory. "He’s been racing good. He got lost on the front last week when I drove him — he never cut the mile, so he didn’t know what to do.”
Christina Takter, John Fielding, Herb Liverman and Jim Fielding campaign Lagerfeld.
$350,000 PASS Championship — 2-Year-Old Colt & Gelding Pacers
If they compete long enough, horsemen often get a chance to rebound from disappointments. Few, however, get that opportunity as quickly as Marcus Miller did. The very next race after the Love Matters blow-up, Miller guided Ideal Jimmy to victory in 1:51 for trainer Robin Cruise and owner D.R. Van Witzenberg. The first-over Spider Man Hanover was second, 1-1/4 lengths in arrears, with Manhattan Beach third.
"You feel like you got kicked in the face and then get the biggest win in your career — all in about 15 minutes,” Miller said.
The Western Ideal-Armbro Nectarine gelding erased a 9-length deficit at the half with his customary rally, a style Miller said he is reluctant to change.
"It’s just kind of the way it’s been working out,” he said. "I couldn’t (leave with him) early because he was steppy, but I think he’s over that — I probably shouldn’t say that. He’s a little horse and he likes to run them down. I figured I didn’t have to change anything today — they were rocking it out of there.”
PASS NOTES: The consolations went to Twill Be Done (2ft), Newborn Sassy (2fp), Alexander Hanover (2ct) and I’m Some Graduate (2cp), whose time of 1:50.3 established a track record for freshman pacing colts . . . Newborn Sassy’s outing was bittersweet, as she took home $30,000 but lost her stake and track records to Pure Country . . . Despite a demanding opening quarter, Easy Again took the $18,000 Winners Over $10,000 Life/Preferred Handicap Pace for Gingras, trainer Ron Burke and owners Burke Racing Stable, Weaver Bruscemi LLC, Panhellenic Stable and M1 Stable. (Meadows)