McCarthy Bros. Sweep PA All-Stars

JK First Lady defeated Rocknificent in a much-anticipated showdown between the two in one of two $35,000 divisions of a Pennsylvania All-Stars event for three-year-old pacing fillies on Saturday afternoon at The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono.

Rocknificent had the post advantage, starting from the rail vs. “JK”’s post six, but with no one else going out particularly hard to challenge the pole horse, Andrew McCarthy behind JK First Lady sent his filly frontward, making the lead just past the :27 quarter, then getting moderate (for this caliber) middle fractions of :55.2 and 1:23.2.

The race came down to a sprint in the last eighth, with JK First Lady generating a :27 last quarter and a final eighth probably not much over :13 in holding safe the inside-charging Rocknificent (who came to this race off three straight photo victories) by a neck.

Despite JK First Lady’s setting a 1:49.2 divisional track record at Philly in her last start, she was allowed to go off at 7-5 vs. Rocknificent’s 2-5 (she won in 1:50.2 -- :53.2 – 26.1). But being able to dictate the tempo helped bring the Western Ideal - JK Shesalady filly to her seventh career victory and earnings of $477,506. The pair are likely to meet next Sunday in their Pennsylvania Sire Stakes Championship at Philly, where they are likely to be joined by Party Girl Hill and Lyons Sentinel – a spectacular match-up.

The second $35,000 All-Stars section had fillies who among them had won ten PA Stallion Series events – and a driver who both was eligible for “nw2 in North America” and who had a brother who had won an All-Stars cut earlier. Todd McCarthy, 26 and one of Australia’s top drivers, duplicated brother Andrew’s feat by guiding the Captaintreacherous filly Marloe Hanover to a front-end 1:51.1 All-Stars triumph.

McCarthy and Marloe Hanover seized the lead from Dance Club in a :27.2 quarter, went on to the half in :55.1, then made the field strain to keep up with a :26.4 third quarter to be at the three-quarters in 1:22. Favoured Going Gone Hanover (and Andrew) challenged on the outside on the far turn and into the stretch, and Dance Club loomed in the Pocono Pike, but Marloe Hanover held together to defeat her inside rival by a neck, with her outside rival another length back. Marloe Hanover now has earnings of $363,759 for trainer Nifty Norman and the partnership of Pinske Stables, David Hoese, and Dr. Bridgette Jablonsky.

The Sunday twilight card will close out Pennsylvania All-Stars action for the year at The Downs with two $35,000 divisions of three-year-old pacing colts. The attention will then turn to next Saturday afternoon’s card, which will bring together the cream of the Pennsylvania-sired two-year-olds for their $1.2 million-plus Championship card.

(PHHA / Pocono)