Sheer Faith brings more than faith to Saturday’s $140,496 Pennsylvania Sire Stakes (PASS) for sophomore filly trotters at Hollywood Casino at The Meadows. She’s red hot, coming to the PASS off a win in the $40,000 final of the SRF Series at The Meadowlands.
The Preakness Day card on Saturday (May 20) also features a $60,000 PA Stallion Series event for three-year-old filly trotters. In addition, the Meadows Standardbred Owners Association (MSOA) will offer such family-centric activities as starting gate rides, winners’ circle photographs and prize drawings (register at the MSOA table.) Special first post time is 11:30 a.m.
Although she had only four starts last year, Sheer Faith showed promise, particularly in an 11-1/2-length romp in a stallion series split at The Meadows. In that race, the daughter of Better Caviar-Sheer Delight was driven by David Wade, who bred, trained and co-owned her. Wade has enjoyed uncommon success with trotters, including SJs Photo, who earned more than $1.3 million, and Starlark Hanover who, 50 years ago, won 21 of 22 starts at two.
However, when trainer Per Engblom and his partner, Frank Canzone, offered Wade and his partners, Gerald Brittingham and Bill Peel, $100,000 for Sheer Faith midway through her freshman campaign, the trio made a hard business decision.
“I cried the day she left,” Wade said, “but money doesn’t go lame.”
Ironically, Wade’s words nearly proved prophetic. Sheer Faith didn’t go lame exactly, but after a single start in the Engblom stable, she fractured a coffin bone and needed considerable time off.
“We shut her down and gave her all the time she needed,” Engblom reported. “So far she’s nice and sound. She has a very efficient way of going. In fact, she’s very efficient at everything. She’s not fully staked, but we made her eligible to everything we could. She’s staked enough to have a good year.”
Sheer Faith goes from the rail in Race 10 with regular pilot Yannick Gingras aboard. She’s been first or second in all five outings this year, each of those on the big track at The Meadowlands.
“She raced good on a five-eighths last year, but this is her first start this year away from the Meadowlands,” Engblom noted. “You never know how they’ll do until you try. Also, the rail is not the best spot for leaving, but I’m sure Yannick will figure that out.”