A handful for Aaron Merriman for much of the mile, Vivacious Allie got her act together in the Lightning Lane and broke her maiden in a stakes-record 1:55 in Tuesday’s $167,016 Pennsylvania Sires Stakes at The Meadows.
The event for freshman filly trotters, known as the Meadow Gladys, was contested over four divisions, with Manchego, Front Circle and Special Hill taking the other splits. Yannick Gingras and trainer Jimmy Takter teamed for a stakes double with Manchego and Special Hill. The four winning fillies provided a sire’s sweep for their dad, Muscle Hill.
With two victories on the 13-race card, Dave Palone pushed his career win total to 17,999. He has 12 scheduled assignments on Wednesday’s program.
Merriman indicated Vivacious Allie was a little too vivacious early on.
"She did every single thing but run in the first turn," he said. "It was a miracle I even kept her trotting. When she flattened out in the stretch, she showed a lot of heart for being as steppy as she was in the turns. I was very impressed with her resiliency."
The daughter of Muscle Hill - KD Girl caught Hey Livvy late and defeated her by a head, with Seviyorum third. The time knocked a tick from the stakes mark established last year by Fine Tuned Lady and is the fastest this year by a 2-year-old filly trotter on a five-eighths-mile track. Ake Svanstadt trains Vivacious Allie, a $120,000 yearling acquisition, for Hans Enggren.
Manchego launched her career with an eye-popping June 30 Meadowlands win in 1:54.4. While not as fast in the Meadow Gladys, she was just as effective, winning on the front in 1:56.2. Tiffany’s Flash was 2-1/2 lengths back in second while Msnaughtyashill completed the ticket.
"So far she’s one of the better-looking fillies, but there are a lot of good fillies out there, so we’ll go from there," Gingras said. "Let her do the talking."
Black Horse Racing, John Fielding and Herb Liverman campaign Manchego, a $120,000 yearling purchase out of Secret Magic.
With her victory, Front Circle, who sold for $110,000 as a yearling, remains undefeated in her two-race career, with both wins from off the trot. That may be unusual for a green trotter, but winning driver Matt Kakaley indicated it’s her preferred style.
"She’s way better with a target — definitely," Kakaley said. "This one was pretty easy for her — I didn’t even pull the plugs. She won’t go much more than she has to; she just gets the job done."
Front Circle downed early leader Air Quote Hanover by 1-1/4 lengths, while Olive R Klosov closed well for show. Ron Burke conditions the daughter of Muscle Hill - Sheena Hall for Burke Racing Stable, Silva Purnel & Libby, Michelle Yanek and Weaver Bruscemi LLC.
In the $22,000 Filly & Mare Preferred Handicap Trot, Jewels In Hock worked hard for the early lead but had little trouble thereafter, prevailing in 1:54.3 for Palone, Burke and owner Crawford Farms Racing. Goodtogo Hanover was second, 2-1/4 lengths in arrears, with Nothing But Nice third. The 5-year-old daughter of Credit Winner-Jewels Galore now boasts $491,193 in career earnings.