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'Donna' Defends Pennsylvania Title

Published: September 10, 2016 9:36 pm ET

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Broadway Donna earned her second straight Pennsylvania championship Saturday at The Meadows when she followed live cover and roared through the lane to capture the $252,000 PA Sires Stakes final for three-year-old filly trotters.

The Meadows hosted all four PASS championships and consolations for three-year-olds, with total purses of more than $1.2 million. Call Me Queen Be, Check Six and Cufflink Hanover also earned titles. David Miller picked up a pair of championships behind Broadway Donna and Cufflink Hanover.

Broadway Donna won nine of 10 starts at two and pocketed the divisional Dan Patch Award. But she had taken only two of six starts this year, prompting trainer Jim Campbell to add Lasix before her last race.

In Saturday’s championship, Fashion Farms’ homebred daughter of Donato Hanover-Broadway Schooner looked stronger, blowing by the first-over Womans Will to triumph in 1:53.4. Miss Tezsla rallied for second, while Womans Will saved show.

“She was more like herself today, and I’m very happy with the way she raced,” Campbell said. “David thought he would be racing her from behind, and he drove her absolutely perfect. We didn’t make any equipment changes. We just thought we had to get her healthy more than anything else.”

He indicated Broadway Donna, who now has banked $800,894, will have a few weeks off before her next scheduled engagements at the Red Mile.

Call Me Queen Be had routinely been coming up a bit short to the division’s glamour girls, Pure Country and Darlinonthebeach, so it was no wonder she was dismissed at 14-1. But leaving from the rail with the daughter of Somebeachsomewhere-Preppy Party Girl, winning driver Scott Zeron had a plan — take the point and release no one.

“I timed the gate pretty good with my horse,” he said, “and when I got away where I did and saw the horse outside me jumping some stuff in the first turn, it made my decision to keep on trucking. Trip was the difference, having the rail and being able to control what we wanted to do. At the same time, my filly had to be on her game today, and she was.”

Pure Country and Darlinonthebeach were forced three wide down the backside, and though Darlinonthebeach eventually cleared to the lead, Call Me Queen Be had plenty of pop left for a charge through the Lightning Lane. She prevailed for trainer Ross Croghan and owners Let It Ride Stables and Dana Parham in 1:49.1, fastest ever in The Meadows’ editions of the championship and just a tick off the track record. Pure Country was second, beaten a neck, while the hard-used Darlinonthebeach had to settle for show.

Call Me Queen Be extended her career earnings to $673,382.

With Yannick Gingras at the helm, Check Six did what he does best — win money. Though he may lack a signature victory, Check Six pushed his lifetime bankroll to $865,922 for trainer Ron Burke and owners Burke Racing Stable, Weaver Bruscemi LLC, William Switala and James Martin.

Moreover, The son of Somebeachsomewhere-Southwind Vanna endured a blistering opening panel of 25.4 to get the job done in 1:50, a lifetime mark.

“He’ll make $1 million at two and three despite having a major screw-up at two when he stepped on a nail,” Burke said. “He’s a good horse.”

Western Fame was a length back in second while JK Will Power, another Burke pupil, earned show. Burke, who had five starters in the championship, said he and his ownership groups expect to sell most of their three-year-olds when their stakes seasons are completed.

“I have a lot of top pacers, and I can’t keep them all,” he said. “I’ve become more of a young-horse stable, so I’ll probably sell all these and continue to build from the bottom. I may keep Fernando Hanover. He’s one I think I haven’t got everything out of yet.”

Cufflink Hanover used a Get Out of Jail Free card to claim his title for trainer Chris Oakes and owner Crawford Farms. He got it near the three-quarters, when the horse on the outside pinning him on the cones, Milligans School, broke stride. That provided the son of Andover Hall-CR Savoire Faire an escape route. He made the most of it, blitzing by the leader, Love Matters, and downing him by 2-1/2 lengths in 1:53.3, matching his career best. Hollywood Highway finished third.

Miller indicated he was confident he would have found racing room without the fortuitous break of Milligans School.

“There’s a big old passing lane,” he said. “If you got horse, don’t worry about it.”
Miller, who owned a share of Cufflink Hanover before selling it to Crawford Farms, said he has no second thoughts about the transaction.

“I’m very happy for the owners,” he said. “I’m very glad he’s done well for them.”

The PASS consolations, each worth $50,000, provided excitement aplenty.

Desert Runner tallied in 1:53.1, fastest ever in The Meadows’ editions of PASS championships for sophomore colt and gelding trotters, while Yankee Moonshine matched the local stake record of 1:51.2 for filly pacers.

Windowshopper (filly trot) and More Dragon (colt and gelding pace) took the other consolations.

Burke fashioned a five-bagger on the 15-race card while Dave Palone collected four wins. They teamed to take the $20,000 Winners Over $10,000 Life/Preferred Handicap Pace with Lincolnjames.

With the completion of the PASS championships, The Meadows will take a planned three-week break from live racing. Live racing at The Meadows resumes Monday, Oct. 3.

(The Meadows)

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