When three-year-old female pacers Kissin In The Sand, Youaremycandygirl, and Alexas Power get together, the race has the potential to be memorable. And twice already this season, they’ve fulfilled that potential.
The three fillies have met three times this year and finished 1-2-3 in each race. Their first encounter resulted in Kissin In The Sand’s gutsy parked-out victory by a neck over Youaremycandygirl in the James M. Lynch Memorial at The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono. The next was Kissin In The Sand’s win by three lengths over Youaremycandygirl in the Mistletoe Shalee, at one and one-eighths miles, at the Meadowlands Racetrack.
Most recently, during the August 4 Hambletonian Day card at the ‘Big M,’ the trio finished three across the wire separated by a neck in the Shady Daisy Stakes. Youaremycandygirl won that encounter by a nose over Kissin In The Sand in a stakes- and track-record 1:48.2.
Round Four will take place this Saturday at Lexington’s Red Mile in the second of two divisions of the Glen Garnsey Stakes.
Alexas Power, pictured capturing the 2018 Jugette (Photo courtesy Mark Hall / USTA)
“They’re three exceptional fillies,” said Jim Campbell, who trains Alexas Power. “We’re going to need our ‘A’ game. It’s a very tough division, but at this time of the year you’re going to race tough. It’s just part of the game. She’s an honest filly and she gives us a great effort every time we put her out there.”
Kissin In The Sand drew Post 6 in the eight-horse field and is the 9-5 morning line favourite. Youaremycandygirl will start from Post 4 and is the 2-1 second choice. Alexas Power will start from Post 7 and is 3-1.
“It’s going to be an interesting matchup with me getting the middle of the three on the gate,” said Scott Zeron, who drives Kissin In The Sand. “It’s up to me because Kissin In The Sand is definitely as good as she’s been all year. It will be interesting to see how it shapes up. We’re in Lexington with a mile track and we’re all going to get a fair shot.”
Kissin In The Sand leads all three-year-old female pacers in purses with $673,620 thanks to nine wins and four second-place finishes from 13 starts. The Nancy Johansson-trained filly, owned by Marvin Katz and Hatfield Stables, has won five of her past six races, including the Bluegrass Stakes last weekend at the Red Mile and over older foes in the Fillies and Mares Preferred on September 22 at Woodbine Mohawk Park.
Kissin In The Sand (Photo courtesy Curtis Salonick)
“She’s gotten better every start this year,” Zeron said. “It’s pretty exciting. A few of the times she’s done it the hard way, too. It’s not like everyone lays down for us and we go slow fractions and then take off late. Even beating the open mares was impressive. Everything is pointing toward a good weekend.”
Alexas Power is the second-richest three-year-old filly pacer this season, with $429,891. She has won nine of 16 races for owners Jeff Snyder and Michael Snyder and has finished off the board only once. Since the Shady Daisy, she has won four of five starts, including the Jugette in her most recent outing on September 19 at the Delaware County Fair in Ohio. Tim Tetrick will drive the filly on Saturday, as he has for all but one of her races this season.
“She came out of the Jugette really good and she acts good,” Campbell said.
Youaremycandygirl, the 2017 Dan Patch Award winner for best two-year-old female pacer, has won six of 12 races this season and earned $367,921 for owner Bill Donovan. She won five times and finished second twice during a seven-race span from mid-June to mid-August. She heads to the Garnsey after having gone off stride in the Jugette.
Youaremycandygirl, pictured victorious at the Meadowlands Racetrack (Lisa Photo)
“We just had a bad thing at the Jugette, but everything will be all right with her,” trainer Ron Burke said. “She had a little tie-up incident, that’s all it was. We knew exactly what was wrong with her. I thought I had gotten through it, but I didn’t. You try to do the best you can, but sometimes it doesn’t work out.
“She’s seems like she’s gotten herself turned around now.”
Last year at the Red Mile, Youaremycandygirl became the fastest two-year-old filly pacer in history with a 1:50 win in a division of the International Stallion Stakes.
In the first Garnsey division, New York Sire Stakes champion Wisdom Tree is the 8-5 morning line favourite.
Saturday’s card will also includes the Allerage Farms Open Pace, which will feature another clash between New Zealand-bred star Lazarus, the 2-1 morning line favourite, and McWicked (5-2), as well as Dayton Pacing Derby champ Donttellmeagain (4-1); the Allerage Farms Open Trot, with International Trot-bound Will Take Charge as the 2-1 choice; and five divisions of the International Stallion Stakes for two-year-old male pacers.