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Pocono Hosts PASS Freshmen Finals

Published: September 5, 2020 8:15 pm ET

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The best of the Pennsylvania-sired babies came in for their closeup on Saturday afternoon (Sept. 5) at The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono, racing in four $253,000 Pennsylvania Sire Stakes Championships, with a $50,000 consolation event also for the two-year-olds in each division of sex and gait.

And after studying the sterling forms of the entrants, it turned out that all you needed to know about the Championships was this: bet Åke Svanstedt in the trots, and bet the team of driver David Miller and trainer Ron Burke in the paces.

Here is a summary of how all of the action went:


Svanstedt pupils were 1-2-3 early in this Championship, with Johan Palema on the lead, Fly Light second, and Captain Corey third under Svanstedt’s control. They sat that way through fractions of :27.1 and :57, then Svanstedt pulled Captain Corey (a Googoo Gaagaa –Luv U All colt) out raw at the five-eighths to challenge, with second choice (and leading prelim point-earner) In Range advancing second over. Past the 1:25 three-quarters Fly Light made a break in the two-hole, bothering several other horses; by this time Captain Corey had moved to within a head of his tempo-setting stablemate with In Range right behind.

Through the stretch Captain Corey maintained his long and powerful strides, reaching the wire two lengths ahead of In Range in 1:53.3, with Johan Palema another length back in third. An inquiry was posted to look into the incident on the far turn, but Captain Corey was not affected.

The time eclipsed by a fifth the stake record set by Real Cool Sam last year, and lowered his own season’s record. Captain Corey is now undefeated in four starts; three PASS prelims and this Championship, and he boosted his earnings to $264,563. Svanstedt (as Åke Svanstedt Inc.) co-owns the winner with S R F Stable, Knutsson Trotting Inc., and Midnight Sun Partners Inc.

In the consolation, the Cantab Hall–Jolie De Vie gelding Jack Fire had bad luck in the first half. He raced three-wide much of the first quarter, moved first-over but then had good luck when he was trying to clear favoured pacesetter Bacardi. The favourite broke, letting Jack Fire go to an easy lead and win in a lifetime-best 1:56.1 for driver Andrew McCarthy, trainer "Nifty" Norman and the ownership of Pinske Stables and Curly Tall Curly Small.


Like her stablemate Captain Corey, the Southwind Frank–Aleah Hanover filly Flawless Country found herself third early in the backstretch, but she took a very different route home though producing the same result.

Flawless Country actually had the lead at the quarter in :27.3, but the second quarter saw first Gimme Shelter and then Anoka Hanover make their way to the top, the latter in front at the :56.1 half. Svanstedt kept Flawless Country inside as You Ato Dream, the leading prelim point earner with four seconds in PASS, attacked towards the 1:25.1 three-quarters with pocket-sitter Gimme Shelter following the first-over outside as she gained a small advantage nearing headstretch.

This move gave Svanstedt room to maneuver Flawless Country to the Pocono Pike, and the baby filly responded to the challenge like a seasoned pro, quickly kicking in gear to beat You Ato Dream by a neck, with Anoka Hanover another two-and-a-half lengths back in third.

Flawless Country started her career finishing second in photo decisions and since has won four in a row, swelling her earnings to $263,496 for Åke Svanstedt Inc., Wolfgang A Table inc. and Borje Nasstrom.

In the consolation, the Cantab Hall–Evermore filly May Karp was moved to the lead in front of the stands by driver Dexter Dunn and left her field far in arrears while taking a new mark of 1:55.4. Third in her only Sire Stakes start and coming off two Stallion Series victories, May Karp is at the peak form of her young career for trainer Lucas Wallin and Shermay Stables.


Both of the Svanstedt winners were crowd favourites, as was the colt winner in the Miller/Burke sweep. The Always B Miki–Gamblers Passion gelding Southwind Gendry won in off-the-pace fashion in 1:51.3.

Bayfield Beach led the field to the quarter in a sharp :26, with Always A Miki, the top point earner and second betting choice, going to the lead in front of the stands and slowing the half to :55.3. Chase H Hanover, who tucked fourth early from the post 9, came up to pressure the leader, passing three-quarters in 1:23.4 and carrying the fight around the turn until Always A Miki made a break nearing headstretch, briefly bothering Bayfield Beach.

Chase H Hanover continued on after his rival’s misfortune but Southwind Gendry, who had been on his back most of the way, went wide and was the fresh horse late. Chase H Hanover finished one-and-a-half lengths behind the winner and a length ahead of a recovering Bayfield Beach.

So far Southwind Gendry’s scorecard shows four wins, two breaks, and $217,144 in earnings for Burke Racing Stable LLC, Phil Collura, Knox Services Inc., and J&T Silva- Purnel & Libby with a lot of the stakes trail still to go.

Favoured Whichwaytothebeach, setting the pace, looked like he might be under siege by a sweeping Sweet Angel Boy at headstretch in the consolation, but that one ran in in early stretch and lost momentum straightening away. That left the Somebeachsomewhere–Swinging Beauty colt able to retain his lead to the wire, stopping the clock in 1:52.1. Marcus Miller drove the winner for trainer Roland Mallar and owners Alan Johnston and John Craig.


The Captaintreacherous–Aria Hanover filly Blue Diamond Eyes was the only non-favourite to win a two-year-old Championship, but at 4-1 she was hardly overlooked and she opened some eyes with a victory in 1:51, equaling the stakes record set by Pure Country and also the national season’s record.

As was the case in the other filly Championship, there was plenty of early activity with Blue Diamond Eyes on top at the :27.3 quarter, but then having point-leader Marsala Hanover and then favoured Grace Hill go by her before a :55.1 half. Continualou, one of four Burke entrants in the race, went first over and was within a length of the leader at three-quarters in 1:23.1. After she backed off, Marsala Hanover moved outside, creating room for Blue Diamond Eyes to go to the Pocono Pike.

Blue Diamond Eyes took full advantage of the inner route, going past Grace Hill by three-quarter lengths with Thebeachiscalling gaining inside the winner in the Pike to take third ahead of Marsala Hanover.

Blue Diamond Eyes now has three wins and a second in six starts, a new record, and earnings of $191,542 for Thomas and Scott Dillon.

Trainer "Nifty" Norman, driver Dexter Dunn, and the Pinske Stables collected a second consolation victory when the Somebeachsomewhere–Fit To Frame filly Fire Start Hanover forced favourite Mackie Hanover to work hard to clear for the lead at the half, then came back in the lane to pass that rival and win while taking a new speed badge of 1:52.3. The Pinske Stables’ partners in this filly are David Hoese and Lawrence Means.

The three-year-old Pennsylvania-sired stars will be at Harrah’s Philadelphia Sunday afternoon (Sept. 6) for their Championships and consolations. On Monday (Sept. 7), The Meadows will host the Stallion Series Championships.


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