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Kelsey's Keepsake fastest in Keystone Classic at The Meadows
Monday, September 22, 2014 - by Evan Pattak, for The Meadows

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Washington, PA --- Staring at a 4-1/2 length deficit behind the loose leader, Kelsey’s Keepsake launched a determined first-over move that carried her to the upset victory in the fastest division of Monday’s (Sept. 22) Keystone Classic at The Meadows. The $118,200 stake for 2-year-old filly trotters was contested over three divisions, with Blessings Counted and Wouldn’t Itbesweet also capturing splits.

Winning driver Marcus Miller thought he had a shot to catch the 1-5 favorite, Jersey Strong, when his filly got away flat.

 
Chris Gooden photo
Kelsey's Keepsake was a neck winner over Jersey Strong.

“The one thing I was worried about -- my filly doesn’t get off the car very well from the rail,” Miller said. “I was worried first about her trotting, and she took care of the rest. She was very good today, very solid, the best she’s been for me.”

Sent off at 5-1, the daughter of Yankee Glide-Distaff relentlessly tracked Jersey Strong and defeated her by a neck in 1:57.3, with Product Placement third. Julie Miller trains Kelsey’s Keepsake for Andy Miller Stable Inc. and Peggy Hood.

In the final start of her freshman campaign, Blessings Counted was determined to take the lead, and winning driver Dan Rawlings didn’t think it wise to dissuade her.

“She’s been getting pretty grabby, so she was going to the front today,” Rawlings said. “I thought I was the best in here, so I wanted to dictate fractions. She has a lot of potential, but they’ll have their work cut out for them this winter trying to keep her manners under control. If they do that, she’ll come back as a nice filly. She’s going away sound and healthy.”

Even under Rawlings’ restraint, Blessings Counted won handily in 1:58, 1-3/4 lengths better than Matter Hatter. The first-over Sweet Shurga completed the ticket. Rick Beinhauer trains the homebred daughter of Muscle Massive-Winner Springs and owns with Regina Beinhauer.

Wouldn’t Itbesweet also prevailed easily on the front end, although winning trainer/driver Jim Raymer wasn’t completely satisfied with the way she finished.

“She’s so quick off the gate -- that first eighth, she can beat anybody -- that I can get her in a bad spot,” Raymer said of the $30,000 yearling purchase. “She’s a little filly, and I think she’s telling me she’s had enough. For the fractions she had, I thought she’d be a little better on the end of it.”

Nevertheless, she downed Cantabulous Julie by 2-1/2 lengths in 2:00.2. Trustworthy Gal earned show. Harbor Racing Stable campaigns the daughter of Cantab Hall-US Victory, who is eligible for the Circle City at Hoosier Park.

In the $22,500 Filly & Mare Not Listed Preferred/Preferred Handicap Pace, Rescue Team turned back several challenges and scored in 1:52.4 on the front end for Dave Palone, trainer Ron Burke and owners Burke Racing Stable and Weaver Bruscemi LLC. Metro Ville was second, 1-3/4 lengths in arrears, with Do Me Honor third. The 4-year-old daughter of Western Terror-Tended Rose extended her career bankroll to $136,175.

Palone, Burke and Eric Ledford each fashioned a three-bagger on the 16-race card.

The Keystone Classics continue Tuesday at The Meadows with an $88,600 stake for freshman filly pacers. First post is 12:55 p.m.


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