Philly Hosts Powerpack Stakes Cavalcade

Published: May 29, 2022 07:59 pm EDT

Many of North America's top harness racing prospects hit the dirt just over the Delaware River on Sunday (May 29) as Harrah's Philadelphia played host to three $100,000 invitational events for free-for-all competitors as well as several state-bred races.

Trainer Jeff Cullipher said his trotter Lovedbythemasses had to put his “big boy pants on” in Sunday’s (May 29) $100,000 Maxie Lee Memorial Invitational.

From the looks of it, the pants were a good fit.

Parked from post seven around the first turn and unable to get to the inside for the opening three-eighths of a mile, Lovedbythemasses cleared to the lead on his way to the half and held on from there to capture the Maxie Lee for older trotters by 1-1/4 lengths over favourite Hillexotic in 1:51 at Harrah’s Philadelphia.

Amigo Volo found racing room in the stretch to finish third and Eurobond was fourth.

At the start, Lovedbythemasses found himself fourth as Hillexotic, Mississippi Storm, and Amigo Volo all left the gate quickly to his inside. Driver Tim Tetrick and Lovedbythemasses continued forward as Hillexotic led the field to the opening quarter in :26.4.

After getting to the top, Lovedbythemasses reached the half in :55 and three-quarters in 1:22.3. Hillexotic and driver Yannick Gingras launched their bid to reclaim the front as the leaders rounded the final turn, but Lovedbythemasses dug in and refused to lose.

“I knew Timmy wasn’t going to let Yannick just cut it and steal the race,” Cullipher said. “I knew he was going to have to push the issue some. In these kinds of races, you’ve got to toughen up and put your big boy pants on.

“It was exciting. I got a little nervous coming around the last turn, but he’s pretty tough. He’s got the will to win, so it wasn’t going to be easy to get by him.”

Tetrick, who leads all drivers in wins at Philly this year, said the trip around the first turn was cause for concern.

“Most definitely,” Tetrick said. “It’s hard to be out a long way here, but my horse has been really sharp and strong all year. At the quarter pole, I was hoping Yannick would want to sit the two hole. My horse kept marching right along, and he earned that win. My horse was tired in the middle of the last turn. When (Hillexotic) tipped, my horse actually found a little more air and he pinned his ears and said he was going to win this race. And he did.

“My horse was tired, but he deserved it. He had the seven hole and had to work his way all the way to the lead. It was a big mile.”

The victory was Tetrick’s seventh in the Maxie Lee, which began in 2007.

“This is a really lucky race for me; I’ve had a lot of success with it,” Tetrick said. “It’s kind of my home track here, I live 20 minutes away, so I love racing here.”

Lovedbythemasses has won seven of nine races this year and earned $162,980. For his career, the five-year-old son of Muscle Mass-Incredibility has won 25 of 58 starts and banked $508,773. He is owned by Pollack Racing LLC and Cullipher, who purchased the gelding in January 2021. He was bred by Wade Peconi and Windemere Farms.

“We saw last year that he was a good horse, and he’s come back good so far,” Cullipher said. “It’s been great.”

Sent off as the 5-2 second choice behind 2-1 Hillexotic, Lovedbythemasses paid $7 to win.

A pocket trip behind overwhelming favourite Nicholas Beach proved the key to victory for Workin Ona Mystery in the $100,000 Commodore Barry, for older pacers.

The veteran campaigner ground forward through the open stretch and outlasted a four-wide rally from Nandolo N to win by a neck in 1:49.1, giving Harrah’s Philadelphia mainstay Tim Tetrick his first win in the event.

Knowing a close trip was essential, Tetrick protected the pole with Workin Ona Mystery — but the six-year-old Captaintreacherous stallion had to throw down a :25.4 first quarter to seat Wild Wild Western into the pocket. With just over a circuit remaining, Joe Bongiorno moved 1-2 favourite Nicholas Beach from third to the lead, and Workin Ona Mystery willingly yielded for a pocket trip through middle fractions of :54 and 1:21.

“I knew I couldn’t get too far away from Nicholas Beach,” Tetrick said. “I didn’t want to have to be first-up or anything, so I had to get close to him.”

Turning for home, horses fanned wide from behind a stalled Ignatius A, whose first-over bid into Nicholas Beach stagnated at the eighth pole. But, despite the host of late threats, Workin Ona Mystery worked through the open stretch to take the lead with 70 yards remaining.

“Luckily, he didn’t get away from me, and I was able to beat him up the passing lane,” Tetrick continued. “My horse was very comfortable; I just know Nicholas Beach could throw another :26 on after that. Luckily, my horse could keep up with him.”

Workin Ona Mystery narrowly evaded 28-1 outsider Nandolo N; Wild Wild Western saved third up the pegs after being hemmed in from midfield. Nicholas Beach was a beaten fourth.

Ron Burke trains Workin Ona Mystery, now an 18-time winner with $941,069 in career earnings, for Burke Racing Stable, Milton Leeman, Alan Keith and Wingfield Brothers LLC. He paid $11.80 to win.

Michael Casalino Jr. and Dylan Davis’ Majorca N ($18.60) surged home off second-over cover to register a 1:49.3 win in the $100,000 Betsy Ross, for distaff pacers, at Harrah’s Philadelphia — her fastest mile and most prestigious win to date in North America.

Corey Callahan floated the seven-year-old daughter of Art Major into midfield, and the pair contently stalked a measured :55 opening half set by lukewarm 5-2 favourite Amazing Dream N before commencing their attack with three-eighths to go. And for the well-proven stalker-closer — she won her first four races on American soil from off the pace, after all — the trip couldn’t have worked out any better.

“She’s not really a big leaver, so I was going to be first, second, or maybe third over, depending on what happened,” Callahan said. “I was waiting to see what Yannick [Gingras] was going to do [with Drama Act], and luckily he came and [Majorca N] got a good cover trip. When I moved her, she paced home hard.”

Unsatisfied with the slow pace, Gingras moved Drama Act first-over with three-eighths to go, forcing Amazing Dream N to accelerate to three-quarters in 1:22.1 — but also towing Majorca N into striking range.

Off the home turn, Callahan switched Majorca N three-wide, and she surged at once, using :53.4 back-half speed to engulf the top pair and win by a widening three-quarters of a length. Racine Bell rallied up the open stretch to save second; Easy To Please improved from third over to just collar Amazing Dream N and the flattened Drama Act for third.

“Never did I think she was better than any of these mares, but so far, she’s showed me she’s pretty close to them,” Davis said. “Every time she’s flipped off a helmet, she’s put her head down and dug in. She fires off a helmet, and she’s going to last longer for me that way.”

Majorca N, who now has won five of eight races and $118,130 in America, has amassed 19 wins and $198,358 thus far in her career.

Besides the three big Invitationals, Harrah’s Philadelphia also had Super Sunday features of two $68,116 Pennsylvania Sire Stakes for three-year-old pacing fillies plus five $20,000 Stallion Series divisions, plus three $30,000 “#SendItIn” Opens, named after the popular social media handicapping/betting forum.


Treacherous Dragon continued her hot start to the season by winning the first of two $68,116 divisions of the Pennsylvania Sire Stakes for three-year-old pacing fillies at Harrah’s Philadelphia while Boudoir Hanover captured the second split, which saw returning Dan Patch Award winner Niki Hill go off stride on the final turn.

In the first division, Queen Of Success went to the front at the start, but 2-5 favourite Treacherous Dragon and driver Tim Tetrick pushed forward and grabbed the lead in a :27 opening quarter.

Treacherous Dragon took the group to the half in :55.2, fended off a challenge from Captain Cowgirl at three-quarters, reached in 1:23.4 and rebuffed Queen Of Success in the stretch to win by 2-1/4 lengths in 1:50.4. Dont Fence Me In was third and Captain Cowgirl fourth.

Treacherous Dragon winning at Harrah's Philadelphia

Trained by Brett Pelling, Treacherous Dragon improved to three-for-three this year. She has won seven of 13 starts and earned $358,920 for owner Hot Lead Farm LLC. The daughter of Captaintreacherous-My Little Dragon was bred by White Birch Farm.

Treacherous Dragon paid $2.80 to win.

In the second division, Boudoir Hanover won an early skirmish with Lydeo to take the lead in a :26.2 opening quarter, followed by Yes And Yes in third and Niki Hill in fourth.

Boudoir Hanover set the fractions from there, reaching the half in :55.4 and three-quarters in 1:22.3 as Niki Hill made a three-wide move around first-over Yes And Yes. But Niki Hill, the 1-5 favourite in her seasonal debut, made a break on the turn while looking to move up from fourth.

In the stretch, Boudoir Hanover and driver Todd McCarthy remained in control, winning by 2-1/2 lengths over Lydeo in 1:50.3. Yes And Yes finished third and Lyons Serenity was fourth.

Boudoir Hanover winning at Harrah's Philadelphia

Boudoir Hanover was making her seasonal debut for trainer Tony Alagna and owners Riverview Racing LLC, Alagna Racing LLC, Caviart Farms, and D Plouffe and S Head. For her career, she has won three of 12 races and earned $274,774. The daughter of Captaintreacherous-Bedroomconfessions was bred by Riverview Breeder LLC and Visionary Breeders LLC.

Sent the 5-1 second choice, Boudoir Hanover paid $13.20 to win.


Sire Sweet Lou produced three of the five Stallion Series winners, including two horses who paid over $50 to win. In fact, one of them, Louie The Lilac, was making her career debut, but she mustered enough late kick to split horses and defeat Miss Helen Hanover by a length for driver Corey Callahan, trainer Tom Cancelliere, and owner John Cancelliere.

The other big longshot, Sweet And Feisty, also had to come from well out of the action, but she kicked home strongly to win by 1-1/2 lengths over odds-on chalk Sweet Treasure, pacing the fastest mile in the Stallion Series — 1:50.4 endeavour — and paying $60.60. David Miller drove the winner, who lowered her mark four and two-fifth seconds, for owner/trainer Mitchell York.

David Miller also drove the third Sweet Lou success story Heartbreak Hotel who, like all the other Stallion Series winners, took a new mark. The "Nifty" Norman trainee was 2-1/4 lengths to the good of Somesweetsomewhere at the end of a 1:52.2 mile for owners Let It Ride Stables Inc., Bottom Line Racing LLC, and Mac Nichol.

Another victorious outsider was the Betting Line filly Bet On The Bay, a 14-1 proposition who was setting in the pocket behind favoured Sweet Rock Deo when that one lost gait on the far turn, giving driver Mike Wilder a clear path to a 3-3/4-length victory in 1:51.3. Dane Snyder trains the winner for Linwood Higgins, Danielle Snyder, Kristine Kash, and Jason Ash LLC.

The other Stallion Series winner was the Captaintreacherous miss Madeira Hanover, who was a pocket rocket while catching Southwind Java by a neck in 1:51.3. Todd McCarthy was in the sulky for trainer Linda Toscano and the partnership of South Mountain Stables, Little E LLC, Mark Mullen, and JAF Racing LLC.

$30,000 “#SendItIn” Open Paces

Let It Ride N was monstrous in winning the #SendItIn Open pace in 1:48.4, just two-fifths of a second off the track record for older pacing geldings, set 15 years ago by Fake Denario N.

Backstreet Shadow went to command past a :26.1 quarter, got to the half in :54.1, then had Let It Ride N grind toward him relentlessly to and past the 1:21.2 three-quarters under the guidance of Dexter Dunn. Despite the uncovered route from fifth, Let It Ride N drew off in the stretch and withstood the horse on his back, American Courage, by 1-3/4 lengths while stepping his own back half in :53.2. The victorious Rock N Roll Heaven gelding has won half of his 14 seasonal starts and has bankrolled $597,235 in his career. "Nifty" Norman trains the iron-tough pacer for William Hartt and Enzed Racing Stable Inc.

No Win No Feed A became only the third horse to win from fourth-over at Philly this year in winning the #SendItIn for pacing mares. Scott Zeron had the daughter of A Rocknroll Dance charging through the lane to be along in 1:50.3 after a fast clip of :26.1, :54.3 and 1:21.4, defeating Mcmarkle Sparkle by a half-length to raise her earnings to $377,120 for trainer Erv Miller and owner Douglas Overhiser.

Yanks Dugout, parked past a :26.4 quarter, continued on the front and maintained his lead to the wire in 1:54 while taking the #SendItIn Trot. Yannick Gingras guided the gelded son of Triumphant Caviar to a 1-1/4 length victory over No Mas Drama, who came from seventh to be second to the Ron Burke trainee, a winner of $302,998 who is owned by Ivan and John Duke Sugg.

(With files from USTA & PHHA / Harrah's Philadelphia)

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