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Mets Hall, Supergirl Riley Upset In Zweigs

Published: August 17, 2018 9:47 pm ET

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Mets Hall held off the favoured filly Manchego in a photo finish for a 12-1 upset in the $350,000 open division of the Dr. Harry M. Zweig Memorial Trot for three-year-olds on Friday evening (August 17) at Vernon Downs while Supergirl Riley defeated the popular Plunge Blue Chip in the $180,000 filly-only event.

Driven by co-owner Andy Miller and trained by his wife Julie, Mets Hall fired across from the far outside to establish the lead ahead of the favourites into a :26.4 first quarter over the sloppy track. Six Pack (Ake Svanstedt), the even-money second choice, landed in second-place and 4-5 Manchego (Yannick Gingras) followed in third.

"My horse is usually better chasing and I was kind of looking for one or the other of them to come back on me and carry me around there, but they didn't move so we were going slow," said Miller of the following :30.1 second panel.

At the :57 half, Six Pack pulled the pocket and he confronted Mets Hall with Manchego tracking on his back from third approaching three-quarters in 1:25.2.

Down the stretch, Mets Hall fought off Six Pack while Manchego rallied three-wide but she came up just a nose short at the wire in 1:52 flat. Six Pack finished one length back in third between the top pair.

"Once he straightens away in the lane, he really digs and he goes to beat horses," said Miller.

Mets Hall, who was the Hambletonian runner-up behind another star filly (Atlanta), was sent postward as the fourth wagering choice in the field and returned $27.60 to win.

Owned by the Andy Miller Stable in partnership with Stroy Inc., the Cantab Hall-Mets Inn colt is now two-for-six this season and sports a career record reading 7-4-3 from 17 starts and earnings totalling $723,908.

Supergirl Riley was victorious in the $180,000 filly companion event, defeating world champion Plunge Blue Chip in deep stretch for the father-son, trainer-driver team of Erv and Marcus Miller.

Plunge Blue Chip (Ake Svanstedt) worked her way to the top through a :28 first quarter ahead of second choice Basquiat (Yannick Gingras), with Supergirl Riley tracking in third.

The 1-9 favourite carved out middle splits of :57.2 and 1:26.3 while Perfect Summer K (David Miller) advanced outside with Basquiat breaking stride on the final turn.

However, it was Supergirl Riley who proved to be the biggest threat as she launched her surprise attack down the stretch and plunged past the front-stepper for the three-quarter-length victory in a career-best clocking of 1:54.3. Perfect Summer K finished third.

"I thought it was going to be pretty tough to catch [Plunge Blue Chip] at [the half] so I was content to just follow her and hopefully get room late and then when Basquiat made a break in the last turn, it really changed the complexion of the race," said Miller. "Ake's horse came up a little empty and mine was really good tonight so it worked out well."

Supergirl Riley returned $17.20 to win as the 7-1 third choice. The Muscle Mass-Crown Laurel filly now boasts back-to-back victories from eight sophomore starts as she also won a New York Sire Stakes division last week in sloppy conditions at Yonkers Raceway.

"That's the kind of filly we thought she was all along," said Miller. "Early this year, we had trouble with her -- getting her air and all that stuff. Last week, she was very good and I'm just glad that she's finally able to put it together and get a big score."

Lifetime, Supergirl Riley has earned wins in one-third of her 18 career starts and more than $260,000 in purses for Paymaq Racing, George Golemes and Harvey Eisman.

"I think we finally figured her all out and she's put it all together," continued the winning reinsman. "I don't know if she can quite keep up to Scotty [Zeron]'s mare [Atlanta], but she got pretty close last year and I think that was a good sign of how nice a filly she is."

Driver Yannick Gingras and trainer Jimmy Takter teamed up for a consolation win in the $80,000 second-tier Zweig division with Zephyr Kronos rebounding from his Hambletonian elimination miscue.

Missle Hill (David Miller) cleared Seven Iron (Scott Zeron) at the :27 quarter pole before Zephyr Kronos rushed by. As the new leader took the field past the half in :56.2 and three-quarters in 1:24.4, Mississippi Storm (Tim Tetrick) advanced first-up but proved no match for the 3-4 front-striding favourite. Zephyr Kronos cruised home to a 1:52 victory with Missle Hill chasing one length behind and Mississippi Storm leveling off to finish back in third.

Winless in two starts as a freshman, the Ready Cash-Orange Kronos colt has won five of his 11 starts so far during his sophomore campaign for owners Al Libfeld, Marvin Katz, Perry Soderberg and Christina Takter. The win marked his first while facing stakes competition and his fastest yet.

Favourites Zero Tolerance and Money Shot Hanover delivered on their pari-mutuel promises on the undercard in a pair of $52,500+ New York Sire Stakes divisions for two-year-old pacing fillies, with the former turning in a record performance over the sloppy going.

Zero Tolerance and driver David Miller took the lead before the first turn in their division and after being looped by even-money St Somewhere (Yannick Gingras) down the backstretch, the 4-5 favourite retook with a late charge to score in 1:51.3, equalling the track record for two-year-old pacing fillies. So Awesome (Tim Tetrick) out-finished St Somewhere and crossed the wire two lengths behind the winner.

Joe Holloway trains the Heston Blue Chip-Feelinglikeastar filly, who is now four-for-five to start her career, for owners Val Dor Farms and Theodore Gewertz.

As the second field of fillies raced down the backstretch past the half-mile mark, 8-5 favourite Money Shot Hanover and driver Tyler Buter shot from third to first ahead of early leader J K American Beauty (Yannick Gingras) and then held off that filly foe down the stretch in a photo finish for the 1:53 victory, with Brooklyn Lilacs (Jim Morrill Jr.) finishing three-across a quarter-length back.

The win was the first in five starts for the Art Major-Marinade Hanover miss, who is owned by trainer Mark Harder, Rick Phillips and Deena Frost.

Kelly Hastings' homebred Justabitofcharm earned her fifth straight win in the 'B' division of the New York Excelsior Series, collaring Sulky Queen late in the career-best 1:54.4 mile with Corey Callahan aboard.

The 'A' winners were Surreality (Corey Callahan) in 1:54 for trainer Mark Harder, Siesta Beach (Jim Morrill Jr.) in 1:55.1 for Brett Bittle, and Boogie Roll (Tyler Buter) in 1:54.1 for G. Buzzy Sholty.

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