Frost Bites K, whose granddad, American Winner, captured the 1993 Currier & Ives, extended the family tradition Tuesday at The Meadows when he jogged to an easy victory in a Currier & Ives division.
Upfront Billy was an equally facile winner in the other split of the $131,894 event, which drew 18 three-year old colt and gelding trotters.
The Meadows will host the $100,000 (est.) Currier & Ives for fillies Monday, June 25.
Frost Bites K was sent off the second pick at 7-5, but when even-money favourite, Mr Ridgetaker, broke stride at the gate, Dave Palone moved Frost Bites K aggressively from the two-hole before the quarter. The son of Broadway Hall out of the American Winner mare American Frost was unthreatened thereafter, scoring by six lengths in a career-best 1:55.2. Gawain Nourrir was second while Enduro Hanover shot the Lightning Lane for third.
“One thing about him — he’s honest,” said Rich Gillock, who trains Frost Bites K for owner/breeder Bob Key. “That means a lot, especially the way the race unfolded today. They went the quarter in :27.2. They made him earn his money. But he raced comfortably.”
He said Frost Bites K, who now has banked $186,364, will be pointed to the Earl Beal, Jr. Memorial at Mohegan Sun at Pocono Downs.
Upfront Billy traveled much the same path to victory, pulling the pocket for Brian Zendt past the quarter and prevailing in 1:56. Boytown rallied for second, 2-3/4 lengths back, with Beluga Ridge third.
In his last race, a Pennsylvania Sires Stake, Upfront Billy was matched with Uncle Peter and Stormin Normand and came out the worse for wear.
“I never thought we’d make the lead like that today, but a couple of them ran and the horse in front wasn’t on the bit, so I decided to come back out,” Zendt said. “He has a lot of trot to him, although he got a little steppy.
“He didn’t like Uncle Peter and Stormin Normand, but he wasn’t right that day, either. He trotted in 1:55.2, but it was a tired 1:55.2. He had a breathing problem, and I think they fixed that. He was handy in 1:56 today.”
Bill Zendt trains Upfront Billy, an Andover Hall-Angel Pie gelding, and owns with Ed Mullinax.
Palone drove four winners and Tony Hall three on the 16-race card. Palone’s career win total now stands at 15,126 as he pursues Herve Filion’s North American record of 15,180.
Stake racing resumes Wednesday at The Meadows with five divisions of a $100,000 Pennsylvania Stallion Series stake for three-year-old filly pacers. First post is 6:55 p.m.