Two-year-olds enter the spotlight

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Ted Black

July 20th, 2016

While the three-year-old stakes are just getting into full swing among the standardbreds, those harness racing fans who enjoy following the two-year-olds have been treated to ample stellar efforts over the past four days. Some of the juveniles could be genuine stars of tomorrow.

Tuesday afternoon at The Meadows near Pittsburgh, the historic five-eighths mile oval hosted seven, $20,000 divisions of the Pennsylvania Stallion Series for two-year-old colt & gelding pacers. Among the seven splits there were at least a handful of superb efforts from freshman pacers who could someday join the 'A' group in the Pennsylvania Sire Stakes events.

In the opening TSS for freshman pacing colts, Beach Boogie (Marcus Miller) lived up to his role as the 4-5 favorite when he brushed to command before the half in 55.3, rolled by three-quarters in 1:24.4 and then edged clear in the lane to a two-length score in 1:52.2. This son of Somebeachsomewhere out of Dance Until Dawn is trained by Erv Miller and looks to be a serious player among this group and appears to have plenty of potential to join the A list.

One race later on the card, Maconupwithedragon (Marcus Miller) posted a mild 5-2 upset when he brushed to command before the half in 57.4, led the way by three-quarters in 1:26.1 then held safe Classy Dragon and favored Mike's Z Tam (Pat Lachance) to win by a long neck in 1:54. Maconupwithedragon is by Dragon Again and out of a Western Hanover mare and he benefited from a modest half and held safe a game Mike's Z Tam, who was hindered by the pace and dull cover and bears watching in the future.

Then two races later in the fourth TSS split, Ponderingjacksfame gave catch driver Marcus Miller an early 'hat trick' when he benefited from a pocket trip behind Hulk Hanover (Tim Tetrick) through the first three calls and then overhauled that one easily in the lane en route to a three-length score in 1:53.1. A freshman son of Ponder out of the late, talented World Fame, Ponderingjacksfame notched his second win in three starts for trainer Les Givens and co-owners Nanticoke Racing, Jim Magno and Joe Fonte.

Several races later on the card, Bettor's Western (Dave Palone) quatrter moved to command, raced unpressed by the half in 57.3 and by three-quarters in 1:25.3 then sprinted clear in the lane to a five-length score in 1:53.3. This Bettor's Delight colt out of a Western Hanover mare is trained by Chris Oakes.

One race later Jo Pa's Somebeach (Tetrick) overcame an early break, brushed to command before the half in 57.1 then sprinted clear in the lane to a three-length score in 1:53.3 as the 1-5 favorite for trainer Jim Campbell.

Then in the last of the seven TSS splits on Tuesday at the Meadows, Donttellmeagain (Tetrick) perhaps delivered the best performance of the day when he brushed to command before the half in 571 then sprinted clear in the lane to a 10-length score in 1:52.1 for trainer Jo Ann Looney-King. Donttellmeagain easily prevailed as the 1-5 favorite and wowed onlookers with a 27 flat kicker to complete the mile, suggesting he could compete with the PASS top group this summer and fall.

Monday evening Yonkers Raceway hosted a quintet of $30,000 New York Sire Stakes events for two-year-old filly pacers and several of the youthful ladies delivered commendable performances.

In the opening split for freshmen fillies, Planet Rock (Tetrick) made quick work of her foes when she gained command in a 29.3 opener, strolled by the half in 59 flat and by three-quarters in 1:28.1 then edged clear late to score in 1:56. This Rocknroll Heaven filly out of a Cam's Card Shark mare is trained by Linda Toscano.

One race later on the card it was a familiar tandem in the winner's circle as Robin J (Tetrick) easily lived up to her role as the 1-20 favorite when she gained command in a 28.4 opener, got a breather by the half in 58.1 and by three-quarters in 1:27.2 then edged clear late in 1:56. This daughter of Roll With Joe out of a Western Ideal mare is also trained by Toscano.

Several races later on the card, That's How We Roll (Jordan Stratton) overcame a long, first over journey to capture the third NYSS split in 1:56.4. A daughter of Art Major out of a Somebeachsomewhere mare trained by Ray Schnittker, That's How Wel Roll angled out nearing the half, grinded her way toward the lead by three-quarters in 1:27.1 then edged clear late for a length score.

Several races later it was the Toscano-Tetrick team that prevailed for the third time. World Apart, a daughter of Art Major out of a Rocknroll Hanover mare trained by Toscano, gained command before the opener in 29 flat, got a breather in 59.1 and then by three-quarters in 1:28.3 then sprinted clear in the lane to score in 1:56.1.

But arguably the best performance of the night came in the fifth NYSS split. Roaring To Go (Brett Miller) lived up to her tole as the 7-20 favorite when she overcame a slow half and extended first over bid to score by five lengths in 1:56.1. An Art Major filly out of a Western Ideal mare trained by Kevin Lare for owner Frank Chick, Roaring To Go angled out first over near a pedestrian 1:00 half, grinded her way to command nearing three-quarters in 1:27.4 then sprinted clear in the lane to a five-length score in a stellar effort.

One night earlier on the Sunday card at Ocean Downs, Hybrid Henry (Brian Burton) stamped himself as one of the best freshman trotting colts in the land when he led throughout and romped home 13 lengths clear in 2:00 flat in a Maryland Sire Stakes elim. A juvenile son of Cam's Rocket - a pacer - trained by Richard Hans of Googoo Gaagaa fame, Hybrid Henry has already emerged as the best MDSS freshman trotter this season and he could be capable of tackling open foes at some point.