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Cue Hall Pulls Off 23-1 Sires Stakes Upset

Published: July 22, 2015 8:59 pm ET

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Dismissed at 23-1, Cue Hall ran the rack when he powered through the Lightning Lane to capture a division of Wednesday’s Hickory Smoke, a $189,616 Pennsylvania Sires Stakes for three-year-old colt and gelding trotters, at The Meadows. Wicker Hanover took the other split.

Cue Hall, Bob Key’s homebred son of Andover Hall-Curli Cue, hit the ticket in several prior PASS legs, but he’s endured his share of misfortune.

“I thought he was competitive with this group,” said winning trainer Rich Gillock of his Hambletonian eligible. “We’ve had nothing but bad luck. He trotted in 1:54 in January. We quit with him, hoping he’d come back strong. Today’s the first time things ended up working out for us.”

In the Hickory Smoke, Cue Hall benefited from a ground-saving trip from Tony Hall and was able to defeat Chef Lee by a head in a career-best 1:54.2. Honor And Serve rallied for show. With the victory, Cue Hall soared over $100,000 in lifetime earnings.

Wicker Hanover swept to the lead from post seven for Andrew McCarthy and withstood the stern challenge of Walter White to defeat him by two and a quarter lengths in 1:54. Shoot The Thrill completed the ticket.

“After I asked my horse, I kind of dropped my concern,” McCarthy said. “He picked the bit right back up and went on with it.”

Noel Daley trains Wicker Hanover, a son of Explosive Matter-Won An Done who pushed his lifetime bankroll past $200,000, for Christer Haggstrom Racing Stable.

Co-featured on Wednesday’s card was an $80,000 Pennsylvania Stallion Series event for sophomore colt and gelding trotters, with Jacksons Minion, Flying Muscles, Ralph R and Mesmerized capturing the divisions. Mike Wilder fashioned a stakes double behind Flying Muscles and Ralph R.

The career of Jacksons Minion began under a dark cloud when his name was misspelled on his registration papers, and bad luck continued to dog him. But trainer/driver Tom Jackson began involving him earlier in races, and the Explosive Matter-Armbro Espionage gelding liked his new vantage point. He rolled home on the front in a stakes and career-best 1:56, eight lengths better than Midniteroketlunchr. Only The Brave earned show.

“He’s had lots of little problems most of the year, and he’s finally getting good — hopefully at the right time,” Jackson said of his $17,000 yearling acquisition. “He tends to be hot, so I’ve always raced him from behind, and he really didn’t know how to leave. The last couple starts I let him go forward, and it worked out perfect today.”

About that registration error. When Jackson and Howard Taylor, who co-owns with Jackson and Judith Miller, decided they would partner on a yearling, it was about the same time as the death of Howard Taylor’s father. Jackson attended the service and became part of the minyan — a quorum of at least 10 adult males that some branches of Judaism require to begin certain services and rites and make them official. Jackson and Howard Taylor decided they would name any colt they purchased Jackson’s Minyan.

“Not knowing the word, I spelled minyan wrong,” Jackson said. If the horse keeps winning, chances are he’ll have his minions.

Flying Muscles rallied from well back to blow away the field late, triumphing in a career-best 1:56.2. Stowaway Steve finished second, four lengths in arrears, with Special Action third.

“He’s a good closer when he’s right, and he was right today,” said winning trainer Todd Rooney of the Muscle Massive-Maker A Laker gelding. “We struggled in a couple of the legs, but he’s coming around. He has the Arden Downs next week, and we may take a shot at that.”

Rooney owns Flying Muscles with David Lee and Eldon Thompson.

Friday’s card at The Meadows features a $140,000 PA Stallion Series stake for two-year-old colt and gelding pacers. First post is 6:55 PM.

(The Meadows)

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