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Fear The Dragon Overwhelms 'Wild' Huntsville

Published: August 18, 2017 10:21 pm ET

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Perhaps Fear The Dragon heard through the grapevine that Huntsville was poised to avenge his defeat by ‘Dragon’ in the Delvin Miller Adios Pace for the Orchids. Perhaps he was still miffed by his tough loss last week to his stablemate, Downbytheseaside, in the Carl Milstein. Or perhaps he’s just that good.

Harness racing’s top-rated horse made a strong case for that theory Friday at The Meadows when he put away Huntsville at the top of the stretch and scored in 1:50 in The Tarport Effrat, a $140,828 Pennsylvania Sires Stakes for three-year-old colt and gelding pacers. A “wild” and spent Huntsville faded to fifth, beaten three lengths.

The stirring Adios duel between Fear The Dragon and Huntsville, at the time the sport’s No. 1- and No. 2-ranked horses, produced one of the most memorable renewals in the 51-year history of the classic. The rematch was much anticipated, with some giving the edge to Huntsville, who’d enjoyed a week off following his victory in the Cane Pace.

But Huntsville was overanxious and sped through fractions of :26 and :54.3, resisting Tim Tetrick’s efforts to rate him.

“He was really wild today,” Tetrick said. “I was trying to rate him, and he had different plans. I guess all those fast halves finally caught up to him.”

Fear The Dragon, meanwhile, was following the so-so first-over cover of longshot Some Attitude, making David Miller wonder if his cover would take him where he wanted to go.

“It would have been nicer if he’d taken me a little further,” Miller said. “But my horse overcame it. I flipped him three-deep into the last turn, and he took off really strong.”

The son of Dragon Again-Armbro Cinnamon blew by the faltering Huntsville and defeated Perfectly Close by one and a half lengths, with Blood Line third.

“He raced great today,” said winning trainer Brian Brown of Emerald Highlands Farm’s homebred, who now boasts $1,263,201 (U.S.) in career earnings. “You saw him struggling past the quarter, but that’s because Timmy was going so much. I think the horse is getting smarter, and he only does what he has to do.”

Both Fear The Dragon and Huntsville will race next in the PASS championship Sept. 3 at Harrah’s Philadelphia. Ray Schnittker, Huntsville’s trainer and co-owner, indicated the break would allow him to review his colt’s rigging.

“He looked like he was out of control,” Schnittker said. “We’ll change his rigging a little bit and see what happens. We have some time to play with it.”

In the other Tarport Effrat division, Filibuster Hanover served notice that he could be a force in late-season stakes when he roared to an off-the-pace victory in 1:50, two lengths better than Boogie Shuffle, with Qs Cruise third. The time was a lifetime best and fastest this year by a sophomore gelding on a five-eighths-mile track.

Filibuster Hanover signaled that he might be sitting on a big performance when he closed from 12th to fourth in the Cane Pace.

“He got away last in that big Cane field and closed so well,” said winning driver Matt Kakaley. “He was awesome today. He did it so easy I never even pulled the plugs. If he can build on his last two starts, he could be one of the big players.”

Ron Burke trains Filibuster Hanover, a son of Somebeachsomewhere-Fashion Ecstasy who extended his career bankroll to $291,040 (U.S.), for Burke Racing Stable, Joseph DiScala Jr., J&T Silva Stables and Weaver Bruscemi LLC.

$60,000 PA Stallion Series Stake — Three-Year-Old Colt & Gelding Pacers

In Friday’s co-feature, Donttellmeagain remained undefeated in seven stallion series starts over two seasons when he triumphed in 1:50.4, a tick off the stake mark. Hypothetical and Braley Hanover took the other splits. Tetrick enjoyed a stake double behind Donttellmeagain and Hypothetical.

At two, Donttellmeagain swept the four preliminary legs but missed the final due to illness. He skipped one leg this year but won the other three. On Friday, he moved to the front past the quarter pole and downed Jo Pas Somebeach by one and a half lengths while Mikes Z Tam earned show.

The Dragon Again-Donttellmewhattodo gelding extended his lifetime earnings to $189,960 with the win, which came after a month’s layoff.

“There was no place to race him,” said Jim King, who trains the winner for Paton Racing Stables. “He’s won too many races so he doesn’t fit anything. So I would have had to race him with horses he’s probably not competitive with.”

Hypothetical, who added a Cornell collar for the race, moved powerfully first over and won handily in a career-fastest 1:51.1. Southwind Yukon was one and three-quarter lengths back in second while Harry Terror earned show.

Tetrick isn’t sure the new equipment played a significant role.

“I know he’s had some times where he breathed differently, but he did pace in 1:49 with me earlier this year,” Tetrick said. “He just wore them down pretty good. He has some speed, and he’s a big, strong colt who can carry it pretty good.”

Braley Hanover tracked down the 2-5 Highalator and edged him by a nose in 1:53.4 for Miller and trainer Chris Ryder, who owns the Western Ideal-Brissonte Hanover gelding with Craig Henderson, Oompa’s Farm and Robert Mondillo. Cinnabar Dragon was third.

The Meadows will host all eight Stallion Series championships, each with a $40,000 purse, on Sept. 2.

Live racing at The Meadows resumes Monday, when the card features a $100,000 Stallion Series stake for freshman filly trotters. First post is 1:05 p.m.

(The Meadows)

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