Bond Impressive In 2023 Seasonal Bow

Published: June 4, 2023 10:24 pm EDT

Special Way was the Breeders Crown champion and voted the U.S. Two-Year-Old Trotting Filly of the Year in 2022, and she’s undefeated in three starts this year. And yet there is still a question if Special Way is even the best filly – in Åke Svanstedt’s barn.

The cause of doubt is the Southwind Frank filly Bond, who won the Pennsylvania Sire Stakes final, Kindergarten final and Goldsmith Maid final last year. In her seasonal debut at Pocono Downs at Mohegan Pennsylvania on Sunday evening (June 4), she cleared to the lead from post eight before the first turn, rated the pace, then sprinted home in :26.4 for a powerful victory in 1:52.3, equalling her mark. Her victory came in one of three $30,000 divisions of her Pennsylvania All-Stars event.

Railee Something had her share of backers – she was sent off at 1-1 vs. Bond’s 4-5 off three wins to start the year – but she was outfooted away from post six by her rival’s instant acceleration, settling for the pocket through soft fractions of :28, :56.4 and 1:25.4. Railee Something pulled out of the pocket midturn, went her own last quarter in :26.4, and despite the giant effort of her own, lost a little stretch ground to the winner, who was a length to the good at the finish for trainer-driver Svanstedt (via Åke Svanstedt Inc.) and co-owners Little E LLC and L. Berg Inc.

Angelpedia rang a lifetime best of 1:53.2 in winning her All-Stars division for driver Mike Wilder, trainer Dan Altmeyer, and owners Gil Short and Ross Stables LLC. The Cantab Hall filly was in front before the :27.4 initial fraction, got a breather to a :57.1 half then sped up the three-quarters to 1:25.3, keeping the accelerator down through a :27.4 final split in winning by 4-1/4 lengths.

Heavy favourite Fashion Annie got her first victory of the year by taking the other All-Stars split in 1:54.4. After a :28 opener, the Donato Hanover filly was hard used to reach a crowded front end by the :56.4 half. Fashion Annie hit the three-quarters in 1:25.2, then looked in control to the wire with a two-length final margin for driver Tim Tetrick, trainer Jim Campbell and Fashion Farms LLC.

Racing continues at Pocono on Monday (June 5) and Tuesday (June 6), with a 1 p.m. (EDT) post time.

Beltrami, Slendorn Take AHDC Summer Opener

Tony Beltrami bolted from the pocket and James Slendorn led pillar to post to take their respective $11,000 divisions of the American Harness Drivers Club (AHDC) Trot opening preliminary for its Summer Series during Sunday's card.

In the first division, Beltrami procured the pocket with Lindys Booze Cruz to stalk King Cast (driven by Jacob Stillwell) to a :28.3 first quarter. Lindys Booze Cruz stayed put and perched behind the leader as 7-5 favourite Blogmaster (John Calabrese) went charging first over with Campbellini (Dante Scattolini) in tow to a :58.4 half. Blogmaster kept digging into the leader through three-quarters in 1:28.1 and snagged a narrow lead spinning for home. But Lindys Booze Cruz turned for home into the open stretch and slid through to score by a neck in 1:58.2. Blogmaster held second with Winneress (Anthony Verruso) diving up the inside for third and King Cast holding fourth.

Paul Fusco trains Lindys Booze Cruz, a five-year-old gelding by Bar Hopping, for owner Elite Harness Racing LLC. He paid $10.40 to win.

Slendorn sped 2-5 favourite Willy Walton to the lead and waltzed around the track to take the second AHDC Trot in 1:57. Slendorn settled on the point from post seven to a :28.3 first quarter with Jive Ninety Five (Yogi Sheridan) sitting the pocket. Southwind Frost (Robert Hechkoff) tried a first-over grind to a :58.3 half but made no inroads through three-quarters in 1:28.1. Willy Walton was left on a loose lead when Southwind Frost broke stride to the top of the stretch, and he coasted home a length winner over Jive Ninety Five. Trump This (Dante Scattolini) took third and Masster Blue (Anthony Verruso) finished fourth.

Chris Height conditions Willy Walton, a nine-year-old gelding by CR Royal Flush, for owner James Slendorn. He paid $2.80 to win.

AHDC action resumes next Sunday, June 11 at Harrah’s Philadelphia. First-race post time at Harrah’s Philadelphia is 12:40 p.m. (EDT).

Racing continues at Pocono on Monday, June 5 and Tuesday, June 6, with a 1 p.m. (EDT) post time.

(with files from PHHA / Pocono and AHDC)

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