Wilkes-Barre, PA--The freshman pacing filly Weeper posted the fastest winning time in the history of the Pennsylvania Stallion Series Championships Friday night (Sept. 6) at Mohegan Sun at Pocono Downs when she stormed home in 55.2 to record a 1:51.4 victory on a Championship night devoted to 2-year-olds.
The victory by the daughter of Allamerican Native-Pleasant Yet Bad was certainly no surprise – she had posted the exact same clocking in her last start when, after all but clinching a berth in the Stallion final with two wins and a second in early prelims, trainer Kelly O’Donnell decided to try her against the Sire Stakes “big girls” – and she posted the fastest time in the three divisions of that event’s final leg.
On Friday Weeper ran her record to four wins and three seconds in seven starts as driver Dave Palone settled her in an early spot, then rushed her uncovered into the second turn to quickly gain the point. Sub-28 pacing in the last two quarters kept her in control of the race, though Lucy’s Pearl made a fine stretch move to narrow in for second, with four for four prelim winner McVita Bella having to settle for fourth behind stablemate Mayabelle after hard early usage from post eight on the far outside. Weeper was victorious for the home state ownership of Bay Pond Racing Stable while also shattering the 1:53.1 Stallion Championship divisional record of Want Answers.
The old all-time Stallion final standard of 1:52.1 had been held by four horses, all male pacers – 2-year-olds Eddie Sweat (who will be in Saturday’s 3-year-old pacing colt Stallion final) and EZPass Hanover, and 3-year-olds Take It Back Terry and Sectionline Blast.
That quartet’s joint record was almost equaled just an hour before Weeper broke it, as sire Allamerican Native accounted for both sidewheeling events when Jack Attack won the colt contest in 1:52.2. Driver George Napolitano Jr., who visited Victory Lane five times in all Friday night, quarter-moved with his gelding out of Pocket Queens, rated a 57.1 half, and seemed to be in control as favored pocketsitter So Surreal struggled a bit in a 27.1 backside. But So Surreal just kept on coming in the last eighth, and the wire came just at the right time for Napolitano and Jack Attack, who like Weeper had earlier won a Sire Stakes division, for trainer P.J. Fraley and owner Bamond Racing LLC.
The trotting filly Nitro Nittany emulated Weeper by setting a Stallion Championship divisional record, winning in 1:56 to reduce the old mark of Tattoo You by 2.1 seconds, with her sire Expensive Matter emulating Allamerican Native by fathering both winners on their respective natural gaits. Driver Howard Parker had Nitro Nittany, out of Miss Nittany, perfectly placed behind two-moving favorite Tweet Me for most of the last half, then got by that game rival late for trainer Jim Raymer and the Harbor Racing Stable LLC ownership, who just missed having a Stallion “sweeper” after Nitro Nittany posted wins in the first three prelims, but had to settle for second behind Outsourced Hanover (who finished third tonight) in the last preliminary.
Trainer Jim Campbell, who has already enjoyed some success at Pocono this year with baby trotters (does the name Cooler Schooner ring a bell?), added another freshman victory when Who Wants Soup cooked up a 1:56.3 triumph in his event for his third straight victory. Tyler Buter rushed the gelding wide at the three-quarters to contention and made the lead in early stretch, but Who Wants Soup had to be brave to nip Pocono Pike flyer Faust while equaling the stakes mark set last year by Smoother Ride, while Monkey Man, also stuck with post 8 while looking for the Stallion “sweep,” holding on for third. Runthetable Stables are the owners of the promising youngster out of Audra Hall, who also get credit for the Campbell-“Soup” pairing.
In another feature of national importance, Drop The Ball, who in her last start, at Pocono on Aug. 17, set a 1:48.2 world record for older pacing mares, did not let that brief layoff, nor the outside post 7, deter her at all as she won a $30,000 mares handicap pace in 1:50. Driver Joe Pavia Jr. worked out a fine second-over trip for Drop The Ball, and the Western Terror mare took it from there, swinging wide entering the stretch and keeping safe Pocono Piker Feeling You by a neck, with the always-game Anndrovette, stung by a 26.2 opener before setting the pace, just a half-length off the winner at the finish. Drop The Ball is trained by Ross Croghan for Let It Ride Stables Inc, Dana Parham, and Robert Cooper Stables LLC.
FINISHING LINES – The 3-year-olds will contest their Stallion Series Championships on Saturday, and with the promise of good weather the recordbooks could again take a beating … Drivers Napolitano, Buter, and Parker posted their first-ever Stallion Series Championships wins, while Palone’s victory ties him with Ron Pierce for the all-time lead at four, in a series that as of this writing is only 32 races old … The aforementioned Smoother Ride, who made his Sire Stakes Championship this year, is to date the only horse to post five wins (four prelims and the final) in one year of Stallion Series competition.