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Dragonfest & Up Front Bethann In Classic

Published: October 20, 2008 1:00 pm ET

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Dragonfest worked out a comfortable opening half on the lead, then fended off the pocket-sitting Riven Hanover to capture a division of the $70,200 Keystone Classic for three-year-old pacing fillies Monday at The Meadows.

In the second division, Dave Palone drove Up Front Bethann, a filly named for Palone's wife, to a "Lightning Lane" victory.

Dragonfest went right to the lead for Mike Wilder and was able to slow things down with a second panel of 29.4 and front half in 57.1. But when Dragonfest sprinted for home, Riven Hanover stayed right with her. Dragonfest prevailed by a half-length margin in 1:53.3. Miss Marfa finished well back in third.

"She tries real hard," said John Butenschoen, who trains the daughter of Dragon Again for the partnership of Zilli, Zilli, Baron and Harmony Oaks Racing Stable. "If you look at her now, she's probably as fat or fatter as she was when we started racing her this summer. She loves to eat, and she loves her work."

A $14,000 yearling acquisition who has earned $282,387 in her career, Dragonfest is headed for the American National and the Harrisburg sale. She also remains eligible for the Breeders Crown, which Butenschoen thinks will enhance her value.

"It's not very often a person will go to a sale and get a chance to buy a horse that can race two weeks later in the Breeders Crown," he said.

Up Front Bethann enjoyed a cozy pocket trip behind Intrinsic Value, then used the inside route to down that rival by three quarters of a length in 1:54.2. An unlucky Pavla Hanover, who lacked racing room, was third.

"I wanted to race her out of a hole, but I didn't want to have to take her back," said Palone, who drove six winners on the 16-race card. "She's always been better for me when I went forward with her."

Kelly O'Donnell trains Up Front Bethann, a daughter of Dragon Again who has bankrolled $469,817 for Ed Mullinax.

(The Meadows)


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