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'Sentinel' Seeking Jugette Upset

Published: September 22, 2020 11:29 am ET

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Trainer Jim King Jr. knows what it’s like to bring the belle of the ball to the big dance. Last year, his Lyons Sentinel led all two-year-old pacers in earnings and was crowned the Dan Patch Award winner among the age group’s fillies.

This year, Lyons Sentinel has finished worse than second only once in seven races, but King knows it is a different filly turning heads at the dance now.

Party Girl Hill has been the life of the party for trainer Chris Ryder and breeder/owner Tom Hill. The filly, unraced at age two, is nine-for-nine as she heads to Wednesday’s $237,725 Jugette for three-year-old pacing fillies at the Delaware County Fairgrounds in central Ohio. She is set to compete in the second of two Jugette eliminations, where she is the 7-5 morning line favourite with driver Dexter Dunn.

Lyons Sentinel, with Tim Tetrick in the sulky, is the 3-1 second choice in the same elimination. The top-four finishers from each elimination advance to the final, which will be held later in the afternoon.

“I think Party Girl is at the top of her game,” King said. “In fact, it looks like she’s going to keep on getting better. She’s definitely the one to deal with. She looks kind of special. I’m not without a chance, but she’s definitely the queen of the ball at the moment.”

Lyons Sentinel won nine of 14 races last year and earned $801,809 for owner Threelyonsracing. For her career, she has won 10 of 21 starts, missed the board only once, and banked $1 million. The filly has notched five second-place finishes this year, including in the Mistletoe Shalee, where she started from Post 9 at the Meadowlands Racetrack, and in the Adioo Volo, where she left from Post 8 at the Meadows.

“She hasn’t done bad work,” King said. “She’s not a front-end horse and she got stuck on the front end a couple times. Straight out of the box, she raced really hard and a horse just slid by her at the end. That doesn’t do much for a horse’s spirits, for their attitude. Last year, she could kind of handle them and it kept her spirits a lot better.

“She certainly had her glory last year. Some of the other girls have stepped up.”

Lyons Sentinel qualified at Harrington Raceway on September 16 and won in 1:54.2. Harrington is a half-mile oval, as is the track at the Delaware County Fairgrounds. The Harrington qualifier was Lyons Sentinel’s first time on a half.

“She qualified real good,” King said. “I’m satisfied she’ll get around the corners just fine. If she trips out, we’ll see what happens. I’m not ruling her out. I think we have a good chance, but Party Girl has the very best chance.

He then added with a laugh, “I’ve been wrong lots of times. I hope I am again.”

Party Girl Hill enters the Jugette off a September 6 win in the Pennsylvania Sire Stakes championship. Her victories this season also include the Fan Hanover Stakes and Adioo Volo. She has earned $482,181 in 2020, the top figure among all three-year-old pacing fillies.

Ryder also will send out the morning line favourite in the first elimination in 9-5 New Year. She enters the event off a win in a conditioned race on September 16 at Harrah’s Philadelphia. The victory was her first win in eight races this year. She is owned by Let It Ride Stables and Bottom Line Racing.

The second choice in the first elimination is Nancy Takter-trained Peaky Sneaky. She most recently won a Fan Hanover elimination and finished third in the final. She is owned by Howard Taylor, Judy Taylor, and Order By Stable.

Racing will begin at noon on Wednesday at the Delaware County Fairgrounds. The card also includes two divisions of the Buckette for three-year-old female trotters, one division of the Standardbred Stakes for two-year-old female pacers, and one division of the Standardbred Stakes for two-year-old female trotters.


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