Grace Hill Grand In Lynch

Published: August 21, 2021 05:00 pm EDT

Todd McCarthy picked up a live drive aboard the red-hot Grace Hill and he converted that opportunity to notch his first victory in the $250,000 James M. Lynch Memorial for three-year-old pacing fillies as part of Sun Stakes Saturday at The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono.

McCarthy settled 5-2 third choice Grace Hill into second after a sharp :26.2 opening quarter as stablemate Fire Start Hanover (Dexter Dunn) wanted the front and got there as the field hit the homestretch for the first time. The stablemates were 1-2 through the :55 half until Blue Diamond Eyes (Yannick Gingras) came to call first up, towing favourite Hot Mess Express (Andy McCarthy) into contention second over.

Fire Start Hanover repelled that overland bid and looked strong as the third quarter was reached in 1:22, but Grace Hill loomed the danger in the pocket with a passing lane in her sights. Todd McCarthy angled the filly to the inside and she responded to that daylight with powerful strides. Grace Hill forged to the front a length ahead of her stablemate pacing back to her 1:49 lifetime mark while setting a new stakes record in the process. Matt Kakaley stayed along the pylons with Thebeachiscalling to complete the triactor.

"I was pretty lucky there, Nifty reached out through the week so I was pretty stoked when I got that [drive]. Nifty's very casual to drive for and it just worked out today. I'm very pleased. We ended up with a great trip. A lot of the speed seems to be on the front here today so I wanted to be handy. I had to use her a little bit early but she had plenty of finish."

Trained by 'Nifty' Norman for owner Ton Hill, Grace Hill has now won her last three starts and the winner's share of the purse from her eighth lifetime win pushes her earnings to $494,355.

Third along the rail turning for home, Nashville Elgenna appeared to hopelessly trapped in the James M. Lynch Memorial Consolation I but a seam opened up for driver Andy McCarthy and he was able to angle the 2-1 choice to the inside and rally for the lifetime best 1:50.2 tally. Tony Alagna trains the Crawford Farms LLC homebred, the first foal of the great Anndrovette.

The Lynch was one of the highlights of Sun Stakes Saturday at Pocono. Check out the recaps of the other events in the Sun Stakes Saturday News Centre.

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