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Pennsylvania Championships In The Books

Published: September 12, 2009 6:27 pm ET

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It wasn’t a good day for favourites in the Pennsylvania Championship finals for three-year-olds Saturday afternoon at Mohegan Sun at Pocono Downs.

Winners of the four $200,000 finals were Billie Bluechip, Caviar For The Lady, Doubleshotascotch and Salutation Hanover.

Rain had fallen throughout the night and with the track listed as good, it certainly produced some surprising winners in the big races. The racing surface definitely was sticky and off, allowing the judges to declare a one-second track variant for the 16-race card.

First up in the first $200,000 final of the afternoon for three-year-old trotting fillies it was Caviar For The Lady, driven by Charlie Norris, winning the race with a time of 1:57 as a 5-1 shot with 3-2 All Star Hanover (David Miller) second and Spiceberry Hanover (Dave Palone) third.

Marty Wollam trains Caviar For The Lady.

“The track was sticky and the strongest part of my horse’s game is coming off cover,” said a happy Norris in the winner’s circle. “I thought I had a good shot of winning following Broadway Paige [and Daniel Dube]. I got the jump on the field coming down the stretch.”

Billie Bluechip, trained and driven by Joe Pavia, Jr., won the three-year-old championship for pacing fillies at odds of 7-1. This three-year-old Western Hanover filly won by three-quarters of a length over My Lady Bonnard (Yannick Gingras) with third-place going to Im Not Gonna Lie (Daniel Dube). Time of this mile was 1:53.2.

Pavia was in the back of the pack at the top of the stretch when Billie Bluechip came home in a modest :30.2 over a tiring racing surface to win her championship.

This was the second straight year for Pavia, Jr. to win the three-year-old filly pacing crown in the Commonwealth, winning with favourite Native Bride in 2008.

“This is a big surprise,” said Pavia, Jr. afterwards in the winner’s circle. “My horse is an overachiever. I would have been pleased with a third or fourth place finish in this race. I just got loose coming down the stretch.”

Ginger And Fred (Palone), the big favourite at 1-5, was right with the leaders for three-quarters of the race before tiring to fifth, some fourth lengths behind the winner.

Next favourite to fall was Caviar Crown in the three-year-old colt and gelding championship final. He finished a close third to Gingras and Salutation Hanover, the race winner with a time of 1:56.3. Gingras sat fourth for three-quarters of the race before coming up the Pocono Pike (passing lane) to neck out Broadway Bistro (George Brennan).

“I really was looking for a check,” said Gingras in the winner’s circle. “I got lucky sitting along the pylons for much of the race before I went to the inside. My check kept getting bigger and bigger.”

Mickey Burke, who had five entries in the race, is the trainer of Salutation Hanover.

Doubleshotascotch, driven by Jim Morrill, Jr. and trained by Noel Daley, capped off Pennsylvania Championship finals afternoon with a victory in the $200,000 race for three-year-old pacing colts and geldings.

Morrill, Jr. was third-over with this winner and necked out 8-5 favourite Clear Vision (David Miller) with third going to 1A Dan Carter (Palone). Doubleshotascotch won in 1:51.4, equaling the gelding’s life mark.

(With files from Pocono Downs)

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