Top pacing mare Niki Hill, coming off two New Jersey Maturity victories in her only starts of 2023, turned in a winning 1:53.3 qualifier on Wednesday morning at Pocono Downs at Mohegan Pocono.
Dexter Dunn was in his usual seat behind the four-year-old daughter of Always B Miki as she rattled off fractions of :29.3, :58.1 and 1:26.2 before storming home in :27.1 to win by 3-3/4 lengths for trainer Chris Ryder and owner Tom Hill. Mikes Z Tam and Montana Chief A finished second and third.
Niki Hill, who has career earnings of more than $1.4 million and was the U.S. champion two-year-old of her class, is a possibility for the $100,000 Betsy Ross Invitational Pace on May 28 at Pocono’s sister track under the PHHA banner, Harrah’s Philadelphia. It was exactly 52 weeks before that day, in Pennsylvania Sire Stakes competition, that Niki Hill had a final turn mishap and finished worse than second for the only time in her 19 lifetime races to date, causing her to miss much of her three-year-old campaign. If Niki Hill would be in that race (the draw is next Wednesday) and emerge victorious, it could provide some solace for her unfortunate 2022 visit.
(With files from PHHA / Pocono)