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Rocknificent Upends Lyons Sentinel

Published: July 11, 2020 8:24 pm ET

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Capitalizing off a pocket trip, Rocknificent spoiled the sophomore debut of Dan Patch Award winner Lyons Sentinel with a strong stretch rally to win their division of the $210,932 Pennsylvania Sires Stake on Saturday at The Meadows.

The event for three-year-old pacing fillies, known as the Adios Betty, was contested over three divisions, with Drama Act and Party Girl Hill Taking the other splits.

The action-packed card featured 16 races—all stakes splits for two- and three-year-old pacing fillies—featured a number of budding stars. But the most intriguing story line was Lyons Sentinel’s season kickoff, which was delayed by COVID-19 disruptions. She looked sharp in three qualifiers, but on Saturday’s sloppy-but-drying surface, she could not hold off Rocknificent, who prevailed by a length in 1:50.4. Shouldabeenatd completed the ticket.

The win by Rocknificent, a Captaintreacherous daughter out of Dan Patch awardee Rocklamation who banked $285.006 at two, was not much of an upset. In fact, players expected it, sending her off at 3-5 versus 3-2 odds for Lyons Sentinel.

“It was always going to come down to a sprint,” said winning driver Scott Zeron. “I was happy my horse was able to win and not have to do any work. She’s an extremely intelligent horse who puts herself in great positions all the time. She has a really quick turn of speed. So even chasing a great horse like that, it becomes a foot race at the end. I’m always confident that she has the quicker foot.”

Linda Toscano trains Rocknificent for Enviro Stables, South Mountain Stables and Little E LLC.

Jim King, Jr., who conditions Lyons Sentinel, was far from disappointed with her performance.

“It was her first time out, and trip beat her,” King said. “You can’t be upset with that. I don’t think there’s any shame in her game.”

Drama Act took to the track at its sloppiest earlier in the afternoon and she relished the off going, powering to a wire-to-wire victory in 1:50.4 with a back half in :54.3. Alexiss Beach finished second, beaten two-and-a-half lengths, with Blazin Grace third.

“She paced the back half in :52.3 last week at Hoosier, so we know she’s got it in her,” said Krista Harmon, who conditions the daughter of Well Said-Lounge Act for owner The Ok Corral. “As long we stay healthy and sound, I think we’ll be there at the end of the year. You look at her and you don’t see a 1:50 mile coming out of this little butterball, but it’s in there.”

Saturday’s program also featured the Sand Tart, a PASS for freshmen pacing fillies, with the splits going to Grace Hill, Continualou and Let Er Buck.

Grace Hill got to perform after the track’s upgrade to "fast" and the daughter of Always B Miki-Western Silk took full advantage, roaring to the point with a quarter-pole move for driver Dexter Dunn and winning her second-straight PASS split, this one in 1:52.4. Dancethenightaway was second, two-and-three-quarter lengths back, while Marsala Hanover earned show.

“She has a long stride and does her work pretty easy,” Dunn said. “She went in 1:52 today and felt like she was doing it pretty easy. She has a good future.”

Nifty Norman conditions Grace Hill for Tom Hill.

Continualou was sitting second near three-quarters when driver Chris Page confidently pulled the pocket with her. The daughter of Sweet Lou-Continual Velocity cruised by, breaking her maiden in 1:54.2. When Uptown Hanover and Oceans Apart rounded out the ticket, it gave trainer Ron Burke a 1-2-3 sweep of this split.

“I realize how old I’m getting when I’m starting to drive the moms of these things,” Page said. “I drove her mom — had like three lungs — and I think she passed that on to her baby. She felt pretty good and I thought, well, we’ll give her a shot. The sky’s the limit for her.”

The Bethinator notched the fastest victory in the $100,000 PA Stallion Series for sophomore pacing fillies, winning in 1:51.3 for Dave Palone and trainer Brett Pelling. Enduring Hope provided tote board fireworks in another division, upsetting at 26-1 for Tim Tetrick and conditioner Tom Fanning. Also victorious were Ashtini, Girl On The Beach and Alexa Skye.

Lady Newton and Fighting Evil each scored in 1:54 to share stake honours in the $100,000 PA Stallion Series for freshmen pacing fillies. Blonde Onthe Beach, Darby Hanover and Podium Girl took the other divisions.

Live racing at The Meadows resumes Monday (July 13) with a 15-race card featuring a $5,000 total-pool guarantee for the Early Pick 4 (Race 3) and a $2,713.47 carryover in the final-race Super Hi-5. First post is 12:45 p.m. (EDT).

(The Meadows)


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