Pennsylvania's Best To Square Off

Published: August 31, 2017 07:24 pm EDT

The best and brightest of the Pennsylvania-sired two-year-old Standardbreds will be on full display at The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono this coming Monday, Labour Day, contesting their four respective $252,000 Pennsylvania Sire Stakes Championships.

There will also be a $50,000 consolation event, for the horses whose competition point levels fell just outside the top bracket, in each of the four divisions on Monday, which will usher in The Downs’ fall Monday post time of 4:30 p.m.

Last year the freshman Championships were held at Harrah’s Philadelphia, where no favourite won, but Pocono-based trainer John Butenschoen captured both of the trotting events with horses driven for him by Corey Callahan. That pairing again figures prominently in Monday’s action.

Here’s a short preview of each division, followed by the fields (post, horse, driver, trainer, morning line odds):


The leadoff Championship is the one most likely to break that “0-fer” from the chalk in 2016, as it features the Muscle Hill-Secret Magic filly Manchego as the 8-5 favourite. The Jimmy Takter-trained miss, owned by Black Horse Racing, John Fielding, and Herb Liverman, is undefeated in five purse starts, one of which was in a Sire Stakes event here on July 18, and the richest of which was the $330,800 Doherty Memorial Final on August 5 at The Meadowlands, where she took her mark of 1:52.4. Manchego, starting from post five for driver Yannick Gingras, does have one obvious obstacle – she hasn’t started in 30 days, since the triumph in the Doherty Final.

Seviyorum, a Donato Hanover filly, has won two of her last three starts, all in Sire Stakes company, and from post two looks to have the best chance of an upset for driver Andy Miller.

PP1, S M S Princess, Åke Svanstedt, Åke Svanstedt, 6-1
PP2, Seviyorum, Andy Miller, Julie Miller, 7-2
PP3, Hey Blondie, Andrew McCarthy, Chuck Sylvester, 12-1
PP4, Strawberry Hanover, Marcus Miller, Julie Miller, 9-2
PP5, Manchego, Yannick Gingras, Jimmy Takter, 8-5
PP6, Live Laugh Love, David Miller, Nifty Norman, 10-1
PP7, Tiffanys Flash, Tim Tetrick, Linda Toscano, 8-1
PP8, Front Circle, Matt Kakaley, Ron Burke, 15-1


Done Well, the early leader in this section with three Sires victories, has gone to the sidelines for the year, leaving a wide-open event in his wake. Very impressive as of late has been Pedro Hanover (Somebeachsomewhere-Paula’s Best) named as the slight 3-1 favourite despite post seven for “Team Andrew” – trainer Andrew Harris and driver Andrew McCarthy. This late-closing specialist won two Sire Stakes prelims and also was victorious in a division of the Nassagaweya Stake at Mohawk in his last outing for his ownership of Brad Gray and Denise Guerriero.

Other than the favourite, no entrant was triumphant in more than one Sire Stakes event. A youngster who is very familiar with winning, however, and the “underdog story” of the contest, is the Well Said gelding Venier Hanover, who has ten victories, second-most in North America for a freshman. Eight of them have come on the PA fair circuit, where he has set five track records under the guidance of Dave Brickell; he also was third in his last p/m Sires start after having the lead in the stretch.

PP1, Venier Hanover, Dave Brickell, Dave Brickell, 12-1
PP2, Hayden Hanover, Andy Miller, Julie Miller, 8-1
PP3, This Is The Plan, Tim Tetrick, Chris Ryder, 5-1
PP4, Wes Delight, Yannick Gingras, Mark Harder, 4-1
PP5, Karpathian Kid, David Miller, Erv Miller, 7-2
PP6, Dorsoduro Hanover, Matt Kakaley, Ron Burke, 9-2
PP7, Pedro Hanover, Andrew McCarthy, Andrew Harris, 3-1
PP8, Kwik Talkin, Scott Zeron, Rob Harmon, 10-1


This race on paper is the “highlight” of the freshman Sire Stakes Championships, pitting as it does two Somebeachsomewhere fillies out of top-of-the-line mares: Come See The Show, whose dam is champion millionaire Put On A Show, and Rainbow Room, a daughter of former Horse of the Year Rainbow Blue.

These two fillies are so sharp and so well-matched now that in their last start, on August 24 at Philly, they both went off at odds-on – both were 90 cents to the dollar to win! In that event, Rainbow Room brushed around Come See The Show in the second quarter and went on to win by a neck in 1:51.2. For the Championship, Come See The Show, to be driven by Tim Tetrick for trainer Linda Toscano and owners Joanne and Richard Young, drew post six to Rainbow Room’s post seven and was made the slight 5-2 favourite; Rainbow Room was held at 3-1 for driver David Miller, trainer Joe Holloway, and Crawford Farms Racing, Val Dor Farms, and Ted Gewertz.

PP1, Cuts Like A Knife, Brett Miller, Bruce Saunders, 9-2
PP2, Majorsspeciallady, Andrew McCarthy, Ron Burke, 12-1
PP3, Double A Mint, Yannick Gingras, Ron Burke, 4-1
PP4, Strong Opinion, Matt Kakaley, Ron Burke, 6-1
PP5, Scuola Hanover, Andy Miller, Andrew Stafford, 10-1
PP6, Come See The Show, Tim Tetrick, Linda Toscano, 5-2
PP7, Rainbow Room, David Miller, Joe Holloway, 3-1
PP8, Bye Hanover, Scott Zeron, Brian Brown, 15-1


Giveitgasandgo joined stablemate filly Fine Tuned Lady to give trainer John Butenschoen and driver Corey Callahan both 2016 Sires freshman crowns on the diagonal gait (and both are in their three-year-old PaSS Championships on Sunday at Harrah’s Philly). Butenschoen and Callahan here look to “double up” with the Explosive Matter-Fun At Parties gelding Scirocco Rob, given the morning line nod as 3-1 favourite from the rail. Owned by Lewis Whitaker, Jr. and Kathleen Whitaker, Scirocco Rob took his last two starts in Sires competition, and in his last race he overcame a tough trip to be second in a Tioga stake.

Three other horses besides Scirocco Rob were victorious in their Sires prelims – Crystal Fashion, Lawmaker, and Toast Of Lindy – and the morning line holds all of them in high regard.

PP1, Scirocco Rob, Corey Callahan, John Butenschoen, 3-1
PP2, Maxus, Yannick Gingras, Jimmy Takter, 4-1
PP3, Toast Of Lindy, Andy Miller, Julie Miller, 5-1
PP4, Final Dream, Åke Svanstedt, Åke Svanstedt, 12-1
PP5, Whats The Word, Brett Miller, Janice Connor, 8-1
PP6, Crystal Fashion, Tim Tetrick, Jin Campbell, 9-2
PP7, Lawmaker, Anthony MacDonald, Andrew Harris, 7-2
PP8, Fashionwoodchopper, David Miller, Jim Campbell, 12-1


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