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Sun Stakes Saturday Elim Night

Published: June 27, 2015 7:26 pm ET

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The Sun Stakes Saturday eliminations highlighted the rainy June 27 harness racing card at The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono and narrowed down the fields for the Max C. Hempt Memorial Pace, Earl Beal Jr. Memorial Trot, James M. Lynch Memorial Pace and Ben Franklin Pace.

The championships will be contested next Saturday, July 4 at Pocono.

Earl Beal Jr. Memorial Trot - Three-Year-Old Trotting Colts/Geldings
*Top three finishers in each elimination advance to the $500,000 final

Driven by David Miller, Cruzado Dela Noche went first over past the :55.4 half-mile mark and trotted by the front-stepping Aldebaran Eagle (Corey Callahan) as they rolled by three-quarters in 1:25.1 en route to winning the first of three Beal eliminations in a new lifetime mark of 1:53.3 over the sloppy track. Early leaver Southwind Mozart (Ake Svanstedt) finished two lengths behind in second after firing off a :26.4 opening quarter during which the favourite, Habitat (Jim Morrill Jr.), broke stride. Longshot Boots N Chains (Andy Miller) followed the winner's cover and finished third. Nancy Johansson trains Cruzado Dela Noche, a Muscle Massive colt, for Sweden's Courant Ab.

Wicker Hanover and driver Andrew McCarthy pulled off a 16-1 upset as the Explosive Matter colt blew by the popular entrymates Pinkman (Yannick Gingras) and Whom Shall I Fear (David Miller) in the stretch for the 1:54.1 triumph. Centurion Atm (Ake Svanstedt) came on late to overtake Whom Shall I Fear for third-place and a spot in next weekend's final.

Pinkman and Whom Shall I Fear left together with the former Jimmy Takter trainee overtaking the latter and leading through fractions of :28.1, :57 and 1:25.3. Wicker Hanover, meanwhile, followed Donatomite (Trond Smedshammer) to the outer flow and when his cover broke stride he continued to advance around the final turn and went on to upend Pinkman's win streak. Coming out of Pennsylvania Sire Stakes competition, Wicker Hanover extended his own streak to three in a row for trainer Noel Daley and Christer Haggstrom Racing.

The Takter-trained Uncle Lasse continued his undefeated sophomore season, following up his three PASS wins with a victory in the final Beal elimination. After tracking Code Bon (Ake Svanstedt) through fractions of :28, :56.1 and 1:25, Uncle Lasse moved out on the back of the first over challenger, Crazy Wow (Yannick Gingras), and then defeated that foe by a head in a battle to the wire with Brett Miller in the sulky. The Donato Hanover colt, who stopped the clock in 1:54, is owned by Solveigs Racing Partners of New Jersey. Shoot The Thrill (Tim Tetrick) grabbed third-place honours.

James M. Lynch Memorial Pace - Three-Year-Old Pacing Fillies
*Top three finishers in each elimination advance to the $300,000 final

Fresh off a four week layoff, New Jersey Sire Stakes Championship runner-up Stacia Hanover and driver Scott Zeron crossed over to command from post six ahead of insider Bettor Be Steppin (Corey Callahan) in the first of three Lynch eliminations and cruised wire-to-wire. The Western Ideal filly led through fractions of :27.2, :55.3 and 1:23.1 before holding clear down the stretch for the career-best win in 1:51.3. Bettor Be Steppin held on for second in a photo finish with Wicked Little Minx (Brett Miller). Steve Elliott trains the winner for Ohio owners David Van Dusen and Michael Cimaglio.

The Show Returns and driver John Campbell charged home off the cover of Sassa Hanover (Yannick Gingras) heading into the stretch to defeat that filly by two lengths in 1:51.3 while Single Me (Brett Miller) closed up the inside to finish third. Chris Ryder trains the daughter of Rocknroll Hanover. The NJSS champion and Fan Hanover Stakes runner-up is owned by Richard and Joanne Young of Florida.

The Show Returns fired out to the lead from post six into a :27-second first quarter before JK Shesalady (Tim Tetrick) took over in front of the grandstand. The 2014 Horse of the Year led through middle panels of :54.4 and 1:23.2 with co-favourite Sassa Hanover advancing first up and then wearing her down at the top of the stretch before The Show Returns stole the spotlight down the lane.

Momas Got A Gun and Brett Miller persevered in a stretch battle with favourite Divine Caroline (David Miller), getting past her to win by half a length in a career-best 1:51.3 while Deli Beach finished third (John Campbell). Momas Got A Gun gave way to Happiness (Yannick Gingras) early on through the :27.2 first quarter before Divine Caroline swept by in front of the grandstand. After the :55.1 half-mile mark, Momas Got A Gun advanced on the outside and engaged the leader at three-quarters 1:22.3, setting up the stretch duel. Virgin Morgan Jr. trains the winning Somebeachsomewhere filly, who is owned and was bred by Geoffrey Martin of Calgary, Alta.

Max C. Hempt Memorial Pace - Three-Year-Old Pacing Colts/Geldings
*Top three finishers in each elimination advance to the $500,000 final

Artspeak held off his rivals from both sides down the stretch to win the first of three Hempt eliminations for trainer Tony Alagna. Sent off the gate by Scott Zeron, the favoured Western Ideal colt worked his way to the lead from post six into a :27 first quarter and carved out middle splits of :55.1 and 1:22.2 with first over pressure mounting in the form of Pierce Hanover (Brett Miller). Down the stretch, Pierce Hanover battled to the outside while pocket-sitter In The Arsenal (Brian Sears) closed up the inside and came within a neck of Artspeak, who prevailed in 1:50 flat.

Toronto's Marvin Katz shares ownership of the 2014 O'Brien Award winner with breeder Brittany Farms of Kentucky, Joe Sbrocco of Ohio and the New York-based In The Gym Partners.

Pepsi North America Cup runner-up Wiggle It Jiggleit rebounded from his first career loss in the next elimination for driver Montrell Teague, trainer Clyde Francis and owner George Teague Jr. The nearly perfect Mr Wiggles gelding (12-for-13) advanced first over from fourth after a :26.3 opener and cleared to command past the :55 half-mile mark ahead of early leader and eventual third-place finisher Betting Exchange (David Miller). He then raced past three-quarters in 1:22.3 with longshot National Seelster (Andy Miller) left first over and chasing him home in second-place. Opening up under no urging down the stretch, Wiggle It Jiggleit was victorious by four lengths in 1:50.1.

The Pepsi North America Cup champion was back in the spotlight in the final elimination and Wakizashi Hanover delivered on his pari-mutuel promise off a pocket trip. Tim Tetrick left with the favourite and arrived at the first quarter in :26.4, but gave way to the on-rushing Lost For Words (David Miller), who launched a bold brush in front of the grandstand. Lost For Words cleared at the half in :55.1 and continued to lead through three-quarters in 1:22.4 with longshot A Bettor Hat (Jim Morrill Jr.) left uncovered and looming first over. However, Wakizashi Hanover ducked inside at the top of the stretch and shot through the passing lane to prevail by one and a half lengths in 1:50.4 over Lost For Words, with A Bettor Hat third. Joann Looney-King trains the Dragon Again gelding for the Tri County Stable of Truro, N.S.

Ben Franklin Pace - Free-For-All Pacers
*Top four finishers in each elimination advance to the $500,000 final along with the fastest fifth-place finisher

Gunning out to the lead from post eight, Pocono's leading driver George Napolitano Jr. sent Luck Be Withyou to the front and put up quick early fractions of :26 and :53.4 in the first of two Franklin eliminations. Trained by Chris Oakes for owner John Craig of North York, Ont., the four-year-old son of Western Ideal continued to lead past three-quarters in 1:22 and was still clear on top turning for home en route to the 1:50 triumph. Big Boy Dreams (David Miller) had edged to the outside first over and Foiled Again (Yannick Gingras) followed his cover, but it was the late-closers that came on for the remaining guaranteed spots in next weekend's final. Vegas Vacation (Brian Sears) rallied from third over for the second-place honours while Captive Audience (Jim Morrill Jr.) and Domethatagain (Tim Tetrick) finished third in a dead-heat. Foiled Again was fifth and will advance to the final with his mile timed in 1:50.2.

In a wild scramble to the finish, the Dr. Ian Moore-trained State Treasurer got up in the final strides to the win the second elimination in 1:50.3 with David Miller catch-driving for owners Sally MacDonald of Souris, P.E.I. and Paul MacDonald of Toronto. Fresh off a victory in last weekend's Mohawk Gold Cup Invitational, the six-year-old son of Real Desire overcame an outside post nine start and circled the field after trailing through fractions of :26.1, :54.3 and 1:22 to prevail by a neck over Dynamic Youth (Andrew McCarthy), with Clear Vision (Brett Miller) and Mach It So (Tim Tetrick) finishing third and fourth. Dancin Yankee (Jim Morrill Jr.) was fifth, pacing his mile in 1:51.


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