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'Wakizashi,' 'Honey' Headline PA Finals

Published: September 5, 2015 11:36 pm ET

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Wakizashi Hanover became a seasonal millionaire while pacing the fastest mile ever in Pennsylvania Sire Stakes Championship history, 1:48.1, while Wild Honey became a repeat champion, a millionaire, and the richest sire stakes career earner in history ($503,260), as the headliners in an outstanding night of racing during the $1.7 million Pennsylvania Sire Stakes Championship Night for three-year-olds on Saturday at The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono.

THREE-YEAR-OLD COLT PACE

Wakizashi Hanover showed a heart a mile wide in rallying for a half-length triumph in his Championship event while stopping the timer in 1:48.1, knocking three-fifths of a second off of McWicked’s mark of last year to become the fastest PA Sire Stakes champion ever, and coming within a fifth of a second of the three-year-old pacing gelding world record on “f”-tracks co-held by his arch-rival Wiggle It Jiggleit and also Lucan Hanover.

The altered son of Dragon Again was hustled out of the gate by driver Tim Tetrick, making the early lead then making seasonal point-leader Lost For Words work for the lead to a :25.4 quarter. After a :54.3 half, Lost For Words tried to burn off his competition with a :26.4 panel down the back for a 1:21.2 three-quarters clocking, but "Wakizashi" vacated the pocket, grabbed the bit, and just set his mind to first passing Lost For Words and then holding off the Pocono Pike-shooting My Hero Ron, with Lost For Words lasting for third.

Wakizashi Hanover now has earnings of $1,118,988 in 2015 and $1,223,077 lifetime, and his share of the boosted Championship purse gave him PASS earnings this year of $251,704, breaking the $232,136 mark set by McWicked. Joanne Looney-King trains the winner, who would be the divisional leader in most years not like this “season of the Wiggler,” for the Tri County Stable, and “Wakizashi” also showed that “Wiggle” better bring his “A game” to any future match-ups. The victory with the 1-9 favourite completed a Sire Stakes Championship double – with wildly-varying payoffs – for driver Tetrick (read on).

Cardiac Fashion survived a long first-over grind in the Consolation event, kept alive under the expert guidance of Pocono’s leading driver George Napolitano Jr. to prove the best in a five-horse battle to the wire while taking a new mark of 1:50. Napolitano teamed yet again with trainer Gil Garcia-Herrera, second in the Pocono standings and the leader at Harrah’s Philly ("George Nap" is atop the driver ranks at both tracks) and the victorious Well Said gelding for J M F Racing LLC.

THREE-YEAR-OLD FILLY TROT

Wild Honey repeated as Pennsylvania Sire Stakes champion, posted the biggest career Sire Stakes earnings figure ever with $503,260 while becoming a career millionaire, and started a Jimmy Takter sweep completed by The Bank in the trotting colt event, taking the divisional Championship in 1:53.

The fans let the Cantab Hall filly go off as the 5-2 second choice primarily because she drew the dreaded post eight, and indeed the trip she got would have defeated many a horse – parked with cover to the quarter, then uncovered the next quarter to make the top, with the favourite (4-5 Livininthefastlane) on her back. But Wild Honey was just too strong, powering off down the backstretch and through the turn, then coasting home late to give driver Dave Palone his 39th Sire Stakes Championship (his nearest rival in that category needs a telescope to see Palone in that regard – Yannick Gingras with 12).

The Hambletonian Oaks winner showed she is still in fine fettle running her lifetime tally to 14 for 21 and her earnings just over seven figures for owner Christina Takter, Herb Liverman, and John and Jim Fielding. She also broke the career Sire Stakes earnings record of $490,495 set by her fellow trotting filly Frau Blucher.

Tim Tetrick added a Consolation victory to his two Championship wins with Muscle Massive miss Gatka Hanover in 1:53.1 – just a tick off Wild Honey’s time, and a lifetime mark. "Gatka" had had breaking problems in the Sire Stakes prelims, but she looked flawless here in winning for Burke Racing, Our Horse Cents Stable, Tracy Hendler, and Weaver Bruscemi – one of two collaborations on the night between Tetrick and Burke.

THREE-YEAR-OLD COLT TROT

Only 13th in the Sire Stakes standings and thus relying on the generosity of others to make the final, The Bank proved to be money in the back once on the track, wearing down stablemate Uncle Lasse heading into the stretch and then withstanding three-time prelim winner Wicker Hanover’s inside rally to complete a “double-double” for trainer Jimmy Takter, as the combo of Wild Honey and The Bank join the 2014 Sire Stakes Championship duo of Father Patrick and Lifetime Pursuit.

Jim Morrill Jr. was tapped to handle the son of Donato Hanover, and he moved from mid-pack to re-tuck around a gapper early in the backstretch, then came again uncovered with the winning move to stop the timer in 1:53.1, only two-fifths of a second off of Father Patrick’s Championship mark. The Bank, whose deposits now exceed $692,000, is owned by Christina Takter, and the “two Gorans” – Goran Falk and Goran Anderberg.

With his Peter Haughton-winning colt Centurion ATM having to be scratched due to sickness, owner/trainer Ake Svanstedt still made hay in this group’s Consolation, as Also Eligible scratch-in Ice O Late is also from his barn, and the late-developing Yankee Glide gelding had the necessary late rally to get the tally in a personal best of 1:55.1. Fourth, beaten only three-quarters of a length in his only Sire Stakes start, Ice O Late may be a late-season prospect for owner Courant A B and Knutsson Trotting Inc. of Sebastian K S fame.

THREE-YEAR-OLD FILLY PACE

Second-leading point-winner in the four prelims, and one of only two fillies to win two prelims. Driven by Tim Tetrick, and trained by Ron Burke.

Logical conclusion: $92.20 to win. Right?

The Western Terror filly Safe From Terror, stuck behind the eight-ball at the positional draw, rallied from last at the half and the dreaded fourth-inside position at the three-quarters, coming deep up the Pocono Pike to win her Championship by a head in 1:51.3. Momas Got A Gun, the betting favourite who had raced in the pocket, got a momentary lead past mid-stretch, but she was out-rushed by the winner, with divisional defending champion Southwind Roulette a rallying third, her best race in a while, as the first seven finishers were just a length apart in the wild across-the-track scramble.

Safe From Terror set a new Sire Stakes record for three-year-olds with the triumph, having earned $262,263 solely in the state competition for the Our Horse Sense Stables, Stable 45, and the J&T Silva Stables LLC. (And a few of her scattered backers just might retain a $2 win ducat, maybe framing it and ganging it on a wall just to constantly see a Tetrick/Burke horse that generated a $92.20 win ticket.)

In the Consolation, the Somebeachsomewhere filly Triple V Hanover quarter-moved for driver David Miller and bottomed out her field with a :54.2 middle half, winning by open lengths in 1:50.4, a tick off her mark and quicker than the Championship, though it came much earlier on the card. Brian Brown conditions the winning miss, who sent her earnings over $120,000 for Donald Robinson, King Mcnamara, and the Strollin Stable.

(With files from PHHA/Pocono)


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