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Fear The Dragon To PASS Finals Sunday

Published: August 31, 2017 2:17 pm ET

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Brian Brown’s stable is home to three of the top 10 horses in the weekly Hambletonian Society/Breeders Crown poll, which is a feat the trainer never considered likely.

“It’s not something you ever think is going to happen, that you’re going to have that many in a year,” Brown said. “It’s something I’ve never experienced, so I don’t really know how to take it. But it’s a good thing to have.”

Brown’s top-rated star, the No. 1-ranked Fear The Dragon, headlines the lineup for Sunday’s four $252,000 Pennsylvania Sire Stakes championships for three-year-old pacers and trotters at Harrah’s Philadelphia. Fear The Dragon has won 10 of 12 races this year and earned $1.03 million. He finished second in both his losses.

The colt, owned by Emerald Highlands Farm, enters the Pennsylvania Sire Stakes championship for three-year-old male pacers off a win Aug. 18 at the Meadows in the final of four preliminary rounds of the series. He competed in all four rounds, winning each of his divisions.

In addition, Fear The Dragon’s wins this season include the North America Cup, Hempt Memorial, and Adios. He finished second to stablemate Downbytheseaside (ranked No. 4 in the Top 10 and the 9-5 morning-line favourite in Saturday’s $500,000 Messenger Stakes at Yonkers) in the Milstein Memorial.

Four of Fear The Dragon’s victories have come in races with Huntsville, last year’s Pennsylvania Sire Stakes champion and the Dan Patch Award winner for best two-year-old male pacer. The Ray Schnittker-trained Huntsville, who this year has won seven of 11 races and finished worse than second only once, is ranked third in the Top 10.

“I’m surprised (Fear The Dragon) has beaten them as much as he has, but this horse was a nice horse last year,” Brown said about his colt, who won five of 11 races last season and hit the board a total of 10 times. “He got an eye infection (in late September) and he wasn’t as good down in Lexington. It was his last races, so we quit at the right time.”

Fear The Dragon and regular driver David Miller will start the Pennsylvania Sire Stakes championship from Post 7 in the eight-horse field. Huntsville and regular driver Tim Tetrick will start from Post 6. Fear The Dragon is the 8-5 favourite on the morning line; Huntsville is 2-1.

“I’d like to have had a better draw, but it is what it is,” said Brown, who saw Fear The Dragon finish third in last year’s championship. “We may not get a pretty good trip here; it depends on what Huntsville does. It will be David and ‘Dragon’s job to figure that out. That’s worked out OK so far.”

Huntsville is one of the four returning champions who will be in action Sunday, along with male trotter Giveitgasandgo, female trotter Fine Tuned Lady, and female pacer Agent Q.

Agent Q, trained by Aaron Lambert and driven by Miller, brings a five-race win streak to the Pennsylvania Sire Stakes championship for three-year-old filly pacers. She has won seven of 10 races this year, finished worse than second only once, and is ranked No. 9 in the sport’s Top 10.

Her victories include the Lynch Memorial and Mistletoe Shalee and she was undefeated in three preliminary rounds of the sire stakes series. She is the 8-5 early favourite in her division, with Idyllic Beach second choice at 9-5.

Fine Tuned Lady and Giveitgasandgo both come from the stable of trainer John Butenschoen. Corey Callahan will drive both horses as they attempt to defend their titles. Fine Tuned Lady is the 5-2 early favourite in her final, while Giveitgasandgo is the 3-1 second choice behind Muscles Jared at 5-2.

First race post time is 12:40 p.m., with the Pennsylvania Sire Stakes championships carded as Races 9 through 12.

The four Pennsylvania Sire Stakes championships for two-year-old pacers and trotters are Monday at The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono.


This story courtesy of Harness Racing Communications, a division of the U.S. Trotting Association. For more information, visit www.ustrotting.com.


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