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New York's Leaders of the Pack: Two-year-old filly pacers
Friday, September 21, 2012 - by Bill Heller for the Agriculture and New York State Horse Breeding Development Fund

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Latham, N.Y. --- Here is a closer look at the some of the New York Sire Stakes divisional leaders and their biggest threats in the $1.8 million Night of Champions at Yonkers Raceway on Sept. 22:

Two-Year-Old Filly Pace

The Leader: Summertime Lea, a filly by Lislea, out of Donna Summer, by Life Sign, owned by Burke Racing Stable, Weaver Bruscemi, Frank Baldachino and Earl Smith, trained by Ron Burke.

The most dominant performer in any of the eight divisions of the New York Sire Stakes has been Summertime Lea, whose only blemish in eight starts was a second by three-quarter lengths to Freetime at Yonkers. Summertime Lea defeated Freetime in their other two meetings.

Even with that lone defeat, Summertime Lea accumulated 375 New York Sire Stakes points out of a maximum 400 for the eight “regular season” New York Sire Stakes races. That makes her a deserving favorite in the $225,000 New York Sire Stakes Final on the Night of Champions at Yonkers Raceway Sept. 22. Summertime Lea has gone off under even money in her last eight starts.

“She’s not that impressive when you’re around her, but she seems to win,” Burke said. “We bought her after her first qualifier. We really thought she was just a trailer-filler. She just keeps doing things that surprise us. All she does is win.”

As if to put an exclamation point on her brilliant juvenile season, Summertime Lea broke the Yonkers track record for 2-year-old pacing fillies when she defeated Hit The Curb by one length in 1:54.1 in the fourth and final $70,000-plus New York Sire Stakes division last Monday as the 2-5 favorite. That she was bred by Yonkers Raceway owner Tim Rooney made the victory an even better story.

Earlier this summer, Summertime Lea won at Saratoga Raceway, Tioga Downs, Buffalo Raceway, Vernon Downs, Monticello Raceway and Batavia Downs.

Summertime Lea’s major threats in the final may be Freetime and Give Me An Amen. Each filly won a separate division at Yonkers to finish second and third in the standings with 257 and 230 points, respectively. Freetime rolled to a 3-¾ length victory, in 1:56. Give Me An Amen held-off Brussels Hanover by three-quarter lengths, in 1:55.4.

The other division was taken by JK Black Beauty, who was making just her second pari-mutuel start following an easy victory in the New York Sire Stakes Excelsior Series. She won by 5-¼ lengths, in 1:56.2, but didn’t qualify for the New York Sire Stakes Final.

The five who did finish behind Summertime Lea, Freeetime and Give Me An Amen are Silk Pajamas (180), Brussels Hanover (178), Hit The Curb (175), See Major (166) and Park N Orchard (142).

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