Wilkes-Barre, PA --- Chris Ryder wasn’t surprised when his standout filly I Luv The Nitelife won Saturday’s (Aug. 17) $350,000 Valley Forge Stakes with a world-record performance at Mohegan Sun at Pocono Downs.
Of course, at the rate world records were being set or equaled throughout the night during Super Stakes Saturday, it would’ve been hard to be shocked. Still, Ryder was pretty sure his horse was ready for a top effort.
|Photos by the author|
|I Luv The Nitelife won the Valley Forge in 1:48.4, becoming the fastest 3-year-old filly pacer on a five-eighths-mile track.|
“I thought tonight she was a little better than she’s been and I’m pretty sure I was right,” Ryder said after I Luv The Nitelife won the Valley Forge in 1:48.4 to become the fastest 3-year-old filly pacer on a five-eighths-mile track in harness racing history. “I wasn’t surprised.”
All three of the night’s major stakes--the Battle of the Brandywine, Colonial and Valley Forge--were won with world-record performances. Sunshine Beach upset Captaintreacherous by a nose in the $500,000 Battle of the Brandywine in 1:47.4, equaling the fastest mile ever on a five-eighths oval, and Spider Blue Chip won the $500,000 Colonial in 1:52.2 to set the record for 3-year-old gelding trotters on a five-eighths track.
Older female pacer Drop The Ball, older male pacer A Rocknroll Dance, older male trotter Wishing Stone and 3-year-old male pacer Ultimate Beachboy also had world-record wins on the 14-race card.
I Luv The Nitelife has won nine of 10 races this year, including her last eight in a row. She won the Valley Forge by 2-1/4 lengths over Somwherovrarainbow, who lead to the first quarter in 25.2 while battling Charisma Hanover for the top spot. Somwherovrarainbow gave way to I Luv The Nitelife in a 53.2 half and I Luv The Nitelife never looked back. Novascotia Hanover finished third.
“Those two (Somwherovrarainbow and Charisma Hanover) were racing really hard and when the dust settled I moved my horse to the front,” said Tim Tetrick, who drove I Luv The Nitelife. “She worked her butt off the rest of the way. She’s awesome.
“She kind of reminds me of (older pacer) Foiled Again; she just keeps knocking, you just keep going, and she’s going to find a way to win. She never wins by many, but she knows how to do it.”
|Spider Blue Chip won the Colonial Trot in 1:52.2, a world record. Smilin Eli (4) was second.|
I Luv The Nitelife has won 13 of 20 career races and $1.43 million for owners Richard and Joanne Young. Her time of 1:48.4 broke the record of 1:49 shared by Shebestingin and Economy Terror.
“You win a bunch of stakes races and that makes you more confident,” Ryder said. “She’s just doing well. She just keeps winning.”
In the Colonial, Spider Blue Chip and driver Ron Pierce waited patiently as favorite Royalty For Life, coming off his win in the Hambletonian, and Smilin Eli battled for the lead throughout the mile. Spider Blue Chip won by a half-length in 1:52.2, setting the record for 3-year-old gelding trotters on a five-eighths-mile track.
Smilin Eli finished second and Corky was third.
“This horse had to get a trip and he got a good trip,” trainer Chuck Sylvester said. “That’s what he need and we knew that. With that trip, he got the job done.
“I was tickled when I saw Smilin Eli park Royalty For Life; that was great for us. We got a two-hole trip and eventually we knew it was going to open up somewhere. In the stretch it worked out great. It’s always exciting to win any race in this business, but to win the Colonial is extra special. This feels good.”
Spider Blue Chip has won six of 10 races this year and $512,113 for owners David McDuffee and Melvin Hartman.
|A Rocknroll Dance tied the fastest mile ever paced on a five-eighths-mile track when he won a $50,000 Invitational in 1:47.4.|
Creatine won the $200,000 Colonial Trot Consolation I for 3-year-old trotters in 1:52.2 for driver Mike Lachance and trainer Bob Stewart. Punxsutawney won the $100,000 Colonial Consolation II in 1:53.2. He was driven by Callahan for trainer John Butenschoen.
Butenschoen was back in the winner’s circle with Johny Rock, who won the $200,000 Battle of the Brandywine Consolation I for 3-year-old pacers in 1:48.3. The colt was driven by Andy Miller.
Ultimate Beachboy, driven by Dave Palone for trainer Ron Burke, won the $100,000 Battle of the Brandywine Consolation II. His time of 1:48.3 equaled the world record for a 3-year-old gelding pacer. The mark was shared previously by Alsace Hanover, Beach Memories, and Vegas Vacation.
Nikki Beach won the $150,000 Valley Forge Consolation I for 3-year-old filly pacers in 1:50. She was driven by Ron Pierce for trainer Tony Alagna. UF Dragon’s Queen, driven by David Miller for trainer Kelly O’Donnell, won the $75,000 Valley Forge Consolation II in 1:50.3.
|Wishing Stone won the $50,000 Invitational Trot in 1:51.2, a world record for older trotting stallions.|
Drop The Ball got the night started with a world-record 1:48.2 win in the $50,000 Mares Invitational. She broke the record of 1:48.3 shared by Camille, who finished second in Saturday night’s Invitational, and Southwind Tempo. Drop The Ball was driven by Corey Callahan for trainer Ross Croghan.
A Rocknroll Dance won the $50,000 Invitational Pace over Pet Rock and Sweet Lou in 1:47.4, which equaled the fastest time ever paced on a five-eighths-mile track. Bolt The Duer set the record last year and equaled the mark earlier this season at Pocono. The 4-year-old A Rocknroll Dance was driven by Tim Tetrick for trainer Jim Mulinix.
Wishing Stone won the $50,000 Invitational Trot over Sevruga and Market Share in a 1:51.2 world record for older trotting stallions. Wishing Stone was driven by Yannick Gingras for trainer Burke and broke the world record of 1:51.3 set by Varenne in 2002.