Sporting hopples for the second time, High Bridge converted a cozy pocket trip to victory in a stakes-fastest 1:55.1 in Friday’s $243,495 Pennsylvania Sires Stakes at The Meadows.
The event for three-year-old colt and gelding trotters, known as the Super Bowl, was contested over five divisions, with Spider Blue Chip, Aperfectyankee, Smoother Ride and Punxsutawney taking the other splits. Mike Wilder enjoyed a Super Bowl double behind Smoother Ride and Punxsutawney.
High Bridge added hopples before a non-winners of four victory May 8, and he looked solid once again, gliding to the pocket for Yannick Gingras and brushing past Celebrity Maserati late to defeat that rival by half a length. Bloodstockshalltab was third.
“He’s very safe with the hopples,” said Gingras, who won three races on the 12-race card. “I think he stacks up really good with the other three-year-olds.”
Jimmy Takter trains High Bridge, a son of Cantab Hall-Madame Volo who vaulted over $100,000 in lifetime earnings, for Christina Takter, John Fielding, Joyce McClelland and Jim Fielding.
Spider Blue Chip closed his freshman campaign with breaks in four consecutive races, and winning driver Eric Ledford said he could sense the Andover Hall-Southwind Catlin gelding losing focus late in the mile.
“It’s all mental. You have to have his attention and can’t let him wander,” Ledford said. “I tried to keep him up on the muscle as much as I could. Going into the bottom turn, he started drifting a little bit and started to turn me loose. He doesn’t pay attention to his work all the time.”
Spider Blue Chip kept it together in the stretch and triumphed in 1:55.4 for trainer Chuck Sylvester and owners David McDuffie and Melvin Hartman. Brew Master was two lengths back in second while early leader Its Complicated saved show.
Aperfectyankee's winning time of 1:57.3 isn’t flashy, but he rallied from six and a half lengths back into a first half that went a pedestrian 1:00.3 and downed Valley Of Sin by a head. The favourite, Dontyouforgetit, completed the ticket.
“They were going slow, but I didn’t want to move too early with him his first start of the year,” said winning owner/trainer/driver Jim Oscarsson of his $55,000 yearling acquisition, who won last year's Peter Haughton Memorial. “His last quarter was good. His body is perfect, and his gate is tremendous. He’s done everything right from the start.”
In the $20,000 Preferred Handicap Trot, Big And Little used a second-over trip to prevail in 1:55.2 for Brian Zendt, trainer Bill Zendt and owner Gary Saul. TSM Photo Bugger missed by a nose with Hava Kadabra third. The five-year-old SJs Caviar-Penn Peachi Lane gelding now boasts $210,380 in career earnings.