The Pennsylvania Sires Stakes (PASS) championships for three-year-olds may have been contested in daylight Saturday (Sept. 3) at Hollywood Casino at The Meadows, but several stars definitely shined brightly.
One was Captain Cowgirl, who captured her second straight PASS crown. Another was her driver, Tim Tetrick, who won three of the four PASS titles. A third was trainer Lucas Wallin, who enjoyed a PASS double.
The championships went for $253,000 apiece, and each division featured a $50,000 consolation. In all, the card offered more than $1.2 million in purses, making for an exciting, competitive day of racing.
For most of the season, Captain Cowgirl appeared well on her way to a repeat title — until she threw in a clunker in the Aug. 20 Lynch Memorial at Pocono. But she landed in a great spot for the PASS final when she drew post four, and the filly most likely to challenge her, Treacherous Dragon, got stuck with post nine.
That advantage was a decisive factor. Captain Cowgirl and Tetrick rolled to an easy lead while Treacherous Dragon was used for early position, then again first over, a trip that proved too much for her.
Captain Cowgirl drew off to triumph by 5-1/4 lengths in 1:50.1, with Sweet Treasure edging Smuggle Tina for place.
Jim King Jr., who trains the daughter of Captaintreacherous-Rideintothesunset, said she has several Pennsylvania stakes remaining this year but none of the rich late-season events.
“I didn’t pay her into much else,” King said. “I’m a little cheap. I like to have a one-way pocket. I’m not very good at it, but that’s what I like. We have no reason not to bring her back next year. I don’t know if she’ll go to all the big dances, but she’ll be plenty useful.”
Fourever Boy has made a healthy living chasing home the stars of his Colt & Gelding Pace division, but until Saturday, the son of Sweet Lou-Macharoundtheclock lacked a signature win. He got that in the $253,000 championship when he followed the live cover of the first-over Layton Hanover, brushed through the lane for Dexter Dunn and triumphed in 1:49.1. Greatest Ending rallied for second, with Night Hawk third.
“He’d been racing so good and had to do a lot of dirty work,” said winning trainer Tim Twaddle, who owns Fourever Boy with Micki Rae Stables. “He hasn’t been able to get that trip. Today it worked out.
He indicated the colt, who lifted his lifetime bankroll to $496,124, would be pointed to the Simcoe and the Little Brown Jug.
The time matched the 2019 clocking of Aflame Hanover for the fastest ever in this divisional PASS at The Meadows. However, the term “stake record” probably doesn’t apply, as the championships rotate among The Meadows, Pocono and Harrah’s Philadelphia, with each venue maintaining its own records.
Tetrick’s bid for a PASS sweep ended when his horse, Mad Max Hanover, got away poorly and couldn’t keep up with cover, finishing seventh.
In the $253,000 Colt & Gelding Trot, Pour Mea Double had followed first-up cover nicely, but entering the final turn, he still trailed leader Keg Stand by three lengths. That’s when he found a new gear for Tetrick and soared home to down Keg Stand by a head in a career-best 1:53, lowering by a tick Desert Runner’s 2016 mile for the fastest local edition of the PASS final. That first-over horse was Dandy, who earned show.
The win was his first in 10 starts this year, but Tetrick considers that statistic misleading.
“I knew the leader was getting away from me, but my horse has been closing good every week, and he really closed good to earn that win,” Tetrick said. “He’s just unlucky. He’s a little ‘trippy’ and he’s raced against some of the top ones. You have to ride the rail quite a bit with him.”
Wallin trains the son of Bar Hopping-Ms Kristin, who now has banked $269,900, for J&T Silva Stables, Peter Kleinhans, Daniel Kraus and Dreamlover Ab.
In the $253,000 Filly Trot, Manon was parked with cover for most of the opening quarter, a phenomenon that didn’t concern Tetrick.
“The outside was showing speed, and so long as the early leader was happy to follow me, that’s all I was worried about. I thought he would with my being the favourite,” he said. “She got there and relaxed and raced a good race. She’ll go with the top ones for sure.”
Manon had just enough to hold off Luisella by a neck in 1:53.1, with the first-over Dreamonhigh third. The time equalled the 2004 effort of Hidden Viggorish for the fastest local performance in the final.
A daughter of Bar Hopping-Are You Ready, Manon now boasts earnings of $327,372 for Wallin and owner Harbor Racing Stable LLC.
The consolations went to Miss Helen Hanover in the filly pace, Design Fashion in the filly trot, Ducasse in the colt & gelding trot, JMs Final Treasure in the colt & gelding pace. In that win by JMs Final Treasure, trainer Ron Burke took four of the top five starts. Nautical Hanover finished third to prevent a clean sweep.
Burke and Ronnie Wrenn Jr. teamed for four victories on the day’s 12 pari-mutuel events.
Live racing at The Meadows resumes Wednesday, when the program features a pair of carryovers: $2,666.53 in the final-race Super Hi-5, $626.87 in the Jackpot Pick 5 (Race 4). First post is 12:45 p.m.
(With files from Meadows Standardbred Owners Association)