Breeders Crown juvenile champion Uffizi Hanover headlines a field of 23 that will contest Saturday’s 2014 Pennsylvania Sires Stakes opener, a $210,746 event for three-year-old filly pacers known as the Adios Betty, at the Meadows.
The event features three divisions, with Uffizi Hanover and David Miller starting from Post 8 in the third split, Race 11. First post is 11:25 a.m.
It’s the first time since 2008 that the track has offered live racing on Kentucky Derby Day — the Meadows also will stage live cards to complement this year’s Preakness and Belmont — and the celebration will include a number of festive activities.
Uffizi Hanover won only two of 11 starts last year, but her victories — including a Grand Circuit stakes event at the Red Mile — were timely. Jimmy Takter, who trains the daughter of Well Said-Up Front Dragonfly for Al Libfeld, Marvin Katz and Sam Goldband, reports that the filly has prepped well for her sophomore debut.
“She’s come back very nice,” Takter said. “She had two good qualifiers. This is an early stake, so she’ll probably need a couple starts, although everybody is basically in the same boat. I think she’ll belong to the top group of horses.”
Miller raced Uffizi Hanover primarily from behind last year, but Takter said she’ll be more aggressive early — in the right spots.
“She just wasn’t ready for early speed last year,” he said. “I wanted to let her come to hand on her own. She’s starting to show that she’s a Breeders Crown winner, but in her first race of the year, with a lousy post, I don’t mind if she races off the pace.”
Uffizi Hanover will renew her rivalry with Southwind Silence, who finished just two lengths behind her in the Breeders Crown. Also making her seasonal debut, Southwind Silence will start from Post 3 for Yannick Gingras and trainer Ron Burke.
In the first division (Race 8), Burke sends out Beach Gal (PP6/Dave Palone) to take on Dan Altmeyer’s That Woman Hanover (PP1/Mike Wilder), a game second in last week’s Courageous Lady at Northfield Park.
The second split (Race 10) pits Kelly O’Donnell’s Weeper (PP7/Palone), who already has captured two straight this year facing mares at the Meadows, and Burke’s Allstar Rating, (PP1/Gingras), a winner of $135,012 at age two.
Special Derby Day activities include:
- The Miss Adios Swimsuit USA preliminary competition at 3 p.m. (on track);
- The annual Derby Day Hat Contest at each location;
- Live music and Coors specials at each location. Featured performers are NoMad (on track), Da Phunk (Harmar), and Dallas Marks (New Castle);
- The Triple Crown Survival Challenge (all locations), a handicapping contest for Racing Player Reward Members only.
Effective May 1, the Meadows retention rate on trifecta wagers will be 27 per cent.