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Rookies Rumble In Rich Championships

Published: September 4, 2017 10:02 pm ET

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Three front-end favourites joined with a $78.20 closer to take the four Pennsylvania Sire Stakes Championships on a Labour Day Monday twilight card at The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono.

Here are recaps of each Championship and their divisional consolation event:

2YO PACING FILLY CHAMPIONSHIP & CONSOLATION

Pacesetting Rainbow Room had archrival Come See The Show look her right in the eye nearing the three-quarter pole of her $252,000 Championship, and the outside horse of the two brilliantly-bred fillies even got a short brief lead, but Rainbow Room shook off her uncovered opponent and went on to a 1-1/2 length victory over pocket sitting Scuola Hanover, with Come See The Show falling back in the stretch.

David Miller hustled the Somebeachsomewhere-Rainbow Blue daughter of Horses of the Year to the lead early, with Come See The Show tucking fourth. The latter filly moved uncovered past the 3/8’s pole to challenge, and down the backstretch the, well, “Show” was on until late on the far turn, where Rainbow Room asserted herself. Asked if he thought his filly would have enough to hold off the bold challenger, Miller in response paused just a second (which you will do with a $550,000 yearling putting you under the gun), then said, “I knew I still had a lot of horse,” and he was proven correct.

The winner is now five for six lifetime, including three PA Sire Stake legs and now the Championship, putting her earnings at $211,199 for trainer Joe Holloway and owners Crawford Farms Racing, Val Dor Farms, and Ted Gewertz.

Alexas Power, a royally-bred daughter of Somebeachsomewhere out of the millionaire mare Michelles Power, looks like she could be a major factor in the later stakes action after lowering her mark to 1:53.4 in winning her $50,000 consolation for driver Scott Zeron, trainer Jim Campbell, and owner/breeder Jeffrey Snyder.

Alexas Power started to bloom a bit late for the PaSS, as her two photo losses were not enough to get her into the Championship, but she now sports a lifetime record of 5-3-2-0 and gives every indication that she is coming into her prime now.

2YO TROTTING FILLY CHAMPIONSHIP & CONSOLATION

“My main job was just to stay in the sulky behind her.”

So (modestly) said driver Yannick Gingras after guiding the undefeated Muscle Hill-Secret Magic filly Manchego to her sixth straight victory, a win in her $252,000 Sire Stakes Championship that stopped the clock in 1:54.2, tying the stake record of Wild Honey, and lowering her own season’s record (set at Pocono) by two-fifths of a second.

Gingras did not rush Manchego away, settling in third early, then moved her in front of the stands and went up to the lead easily despite some stretch headwind. The filly appeared to draw off at will the last 3/8s of the mile, stepping home in :56.1 despite not having raced since her win in the Doherty Final 30 days before. Her margin at the wire was 4-1/4 lengths over Hey Blondie, who gapped second-over then found a higher gear late and was along by three-quarters of a length for second over Tiffanys Flash, first to the lead and saving ground thereafter.

Manchego now has a bankroll of $335,898 after only a half-dozen starts for trainer Jimmy Takter and the ownership of Black Horse Racing, John Fielding, and Herb Liverman. And that earnings pile only figures to grow larger, with the many year end stakes looming just ahead.

Since we gave Gingras the first word, we’ll let him have the last one – a scary one for her competition:

“She had two more gears left in her.”

The Donato Hanover-Streak filly Follow Streak overcame a first-over journey to break her maiden in the $50,000 consolation, crossing the wire in 1:56.3 for driver Andy Miller, trainer Julie Miller, and the ownership of the Millers’ Andy Miller Stable Inc and Lawrence Dumain. Four horses were involved in a duel the last half of the stretch, but Follow Streak proved most photogenic by a nose over Megadolce – who was a nose ahead of third-place favorite Bills Lady, who was a nose ahead of fourth-place Air Quotes Hanover.

2YO PACING COLT CHAMPIONSHIP & CONSOLATION

Pedro Hanover, who had developed a reputation as a big closer in his five pari-mutuel starts, switched tactics in his $252,000 Championship, partially necessitated by his drawing post seven, grinded to the lead at the three-eighths pole, opened up a bit on a turn, then was put under a drive to withstand a charging late group to win his final in 1:51, equaling his personal best.

Driver Andrew McCarthy, who had broken his “PA Sire Stakes maiden” just the previous day with sophomore Caviart Ally, quickly graduated from “nw2” standings – but he knew he wasn’t likely to do it from his outer starting berth. “You can’t get away seventh in this field,” he said afterward. So he guided Pedro Hanover to gradually advance on the first turn, “and then, when the speed had slowed a little, I went for the top,” following that :26.2 opener with grabbing the lead at the three-eighths pole and going middle fractions of :55 and 1:22.4. The son of Somebeachsomewhere-Paulas Best opened up a bit turning into the stretch, but McCarthy kept the horse to urging, withstanding the closer Hayden Hanover by a length; Wes Hanover parlayed an inside trip to a third, just a neck behind Hayden Hanover.

Andrew Harris, who has had charge of the horse for two months after he got his early lessons in Canada, is the trainer of Pedro Hanover, who now sports two PA Sire Stakes prelim wins and a Championship, a win in a division of the Nassagaweya, and earnings of $229,404 for Ontario owners Brad Gray and Denise Guerriero.

In this group’s $50,000 consolation, Closing Statement made a big brush into a stretch headwind to control the pace before the half, opened a large lead down the back, and stayed clear through the lane in taking a new speed badge of 1:51.4. The son of Somebeachsomewhere-Ideal Newton, a winner early in the Sires prelims but unable to follow up on that success, was victorious in this consolation for driver David Miller, trainer Joe Holloway, and the ownership of Val Dor Farms, Rojan Stables and Ted Gewertz.

2YO TROTTING COLT CHAMPIONSHIP & CONSOLATION

This is “prime time” for Jules Siegel.

The squire of Fashion Farms LLC is on the ballot for election to the Hall of Fame, with results to be announced within the month, and he is the owner of $78.20 PA Sire Stakes freshman trotting colt champion Fashionwoodchopper – and still feels the thrill of victory like a first-time owner, excited as a teenager in the winner’s circle.

David Miller, driving his second PA Sire Stakes champion of the night, got away “disadvantageously” in seventh with the son of Muscle Hill-Impressive Kemp, “but it just worked out for us,” Miller said afterwards, as “we were able to go up second-over” behind Toast Of Lindy as that one speed-grinded uncovered to challenge the pacesetter Scirocco Rob, getting closer and closer from the five-eighths pole onwards.

Fashionwoodchopper swung three-wide head stretch, but looked like he was going to lose his momentum as he lugged in a little early in the lane. But trainer Jim Campbell knew enough about his colt to equip him with a sliding gaiting pole to get him back straight, Mille used it, and after that the driver never had to lift a line as the colt won in 1:57.1 by a length over the unlucky Lawmaker, who had the lead, yielded it to Scirocco Rob, and then was shuffled some as the pacesetter tired; Lawmaker did win the photo for second over Toast Of Lindy, who put in an excellent grinding effort.

Fashionwoodchopper had not raced since August 12 – but that was a Sire Stakes victory. Campbell had him ready, Miller gave him a great trip – and Siegel was the happiest man in Wilkes-Barre PA in his walk to the winners circle.

Mets Hall sat a pocket trip behind his “Orange Crush” stablemate Maxs Beast, then pulled out early stretch, went right on by, and won coasting in 1:56.1 in his $50,000 trotting colt consolation. The Cantab Hall-Mets Inn colt is now three-for-five career wise, including a win in his only Sire Stakes start (he chose to take “the Haughton route,” then had a small vacation before this start), and he gave the Andy Miller Stable Inc a consolation double, this winner in partnership with the increasingly-famous Stroy Inc of New Jersey and Moscow.

(PHHA/Pocono)


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