Scirocco Rob's 1:53.1 fastest in PASS 3YOCT
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Trainer Jim Campbell showed he has two honed Hambletonian-caliber horses for new Hall of Famer Jules Siegel and his Fashion Farms LLC in Patent Leather and Crystal Fashion, as they posted identical 1:53.3 clockings in winning divisions of the Pennsylvania Sire Stakes third preliminary for three-year-old colt trotters Friday afternoon at Harrah’s Philadelphia.
The Campbell duo also defied a trend that manifested itself – Patent Leather was the second choice in his race and Crystal Fashion the favorite in his, and they were the only two of the six 1-2 choices in the three divisions who did not make a break.
Crystal Fashion, unraced since winning the Beal Championship on June 30 and starting from the outside post seven, was away quickly, but backed off to a tuck fourth as Hill Street set the early pace of 28.2 and 57.4, with second choice Lindy’s Big Bang in the pocket. Tim Tetrick, continuing in outstanding driving form, had his Cantab Hall gelding on the move past the half, and he had reached Hill Street before the 1:25.2 ¾ pole. It was just past that point that Lindy’s Big Bang ran in the pocket, and Crystal Fashion had it fairly easy from there, going past the pacesetter at headstretch and winning by ¾ of a length over Mississippi Storm, who closed well but wasn’t a gasp!-hold-your-breath threat nearing the wire. But Crystal Fashion certainly could be a threat in that big race in Jersey in 15 days time.
Campbell had a good idea that Tetrick would likely stick with Crystal Fashion in future outings, so he engaged Andrew McCarthy to drive Patent Leather in his division, and the two teamed like old friends. Favored Hat Trick Habit yielded to Gemologist before the 26.4 quarter, then broke soon off the first turn to take himself out of contention. McCarthy waited in fourth with his Broadway Hall colt as Gemologist got a breather to the half in 57.1, then took up chase at the 5/8, reaching the leader by the 1:25.1 3/4s and then drawing off at will, ahead of second-place Exarch by 3 1/2 lengths on the money.
The other division proved to be the fastest. The 1-2 choices, Lawmaker and Whats The Word, were both offstride before the 5/16, leaving the path clear for pacesetting Scirocco Rob to post a 1:53.1 victory, a tick short of his career best posted here last week, after commanding through fractions of 27, 55.3, and 1:24.1. Make It A Double inherited the pocket, drafted behind the leader, and made a good race of it in the stretch, but the victorious altered son of Explosive Matter, stakes-placed in several recent races, had enough to hold on by a neck for driver Corey Callahan, trainer John Butenschoen, and owners Kathleen and Lewis Whitaker Jr. (PHHA/Harrah's Philadelphia)