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Miller Sweeps Pennsylvania Sire Stakes

Published: August 20, 2017 10:52 pm ET

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Hall of Fame driver David Miller, second on the all-time money list (he passed Ron Pierce on Hall of Fame Day) and the leading active driving earner with John Campbell retired, took all three $54,785 divisions of the fourth and final preliminary leg of the Pennsylvania Sire Stakes for two-year-old trotting colts Sunday at The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono.

Two of them were with youngsters garnering their second Sire Stakes triumphs, and the other with a maiden who was “graduating” to the Sire Stakes off two Stallion Series seconds.

Ironically, the fastest winner was the previous maiden, the Broadway Hall-Designable colt Patent Leather, who gained cover behind Samo Different Day late in the mile, then out-rushed his foe at the end to win by a neck in 1:54.2. Patent Leather, atypically purchased as a yearling by Hall of Fame nominee Jules Siegel’s Fashion Farms LLC, looks like he might be a good $10,000 purchase (the dam was a $483,000 winner) under the tutelage of trainer Jim Campbell, and here he paid $24.80 to win as by far the longest shot in the field of five.

Miller, Campbell, and Fashion Farms doubled up behind 7-1 prospect Crystal Fashion, a son of Cantab Hall (Broadway Hall’s sire), who rallied to put the first blot on Cinderella story Hockey Hanover’s past performances, taking a nose triumph in a personal best 1:56.4. Hockey Hanover (Explosive Matter-Hotentrot Hanover) is the winningest two-year-old trotter in North America with eight triumphs, and he entered the Sunday contest undefeated (five Fair Sire Stakes and all three of his Stallion Series starts), but the unbeaten designation was just put by the boards as the $100,000 yearling purchase edged the $10,000 yearling purchase, with a $350,000 yearling purchase, 1-10 favourite and Peter Haughton winner You Know You Do, making a break and all but taking him out of Championship competition.

(Crystal Fashion’s dam, by the way, is Window Willow, a full sister to the millionaire Lolique, who was such a slow learner as a youth that his trainer John Wagner put him in the box as LO-IQ--; in his three-year-old qualifying debut, he beat defending Hambletonian champion Vivid Photo and started getting a lot smarter).

Miller's other triumph was with 1-10 shot Scirocco Rob in 1:55.3, but even the heavy favourite, by Explosive Matter-Fun At Parties, tried to make heavy work of his victory, losing all but a half-length of a 2-1/4 length stretch lead by persevering on to keep Maxs Beast at bay for trainer John Butenschoen and owners Lewis Whitaker Jr. and Kathleen Whitaker.

An unofficial tally of this division’s top point-winners at their preliminaries’ conclusion reads: Crystal Fashion and Lawmaker (tied for #1), Scirocco Rob and Toast Of Lindy (tied for third), Maxus, Whats The Word, and Fashionwoodchooper and Quality Kemp (tied for seventh); Final Dream is “on the bubble” as ninth and AE1 if all of the top eight declare for the Championship, with Maxs Beast 10th and AE2. The $252,000 divisional Championship will be held at Pocono on Labor Day, September 4.

Monday at Pocono, there will be seven divisions of the final prelim for this two-year-old trotting colt group, and with that many horses in play, the competition for places in their Championship should be quite fierce.

(PHHA / Pocono)


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